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VIDEO: On This Day, May 9: Remembering Lena Horne

Today we remember stage and screen star, singer Lena Horne died who passed away on this day in 2010 at the age of 92.

With roots on the stage, Horne made her Broadway debut in 1934's 'Dance With Your Gods.' Horne won a the Tony and Drama Desk Awards in 1981 for 'Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.' She was also nominated for a Tony Award in 1958 for 'Jamaica.'

Horne was a celebrated jazz singer, being the first black performer to play the Copacabana nightclub. Horne was also a contract star for MGM Studios in the 1940s, the first black performer to be signed by a major Hollywood studio. In 1943, MGM loanEd Horne to 20th Century-Fox for 'Stormy Weather.' Horne played Selina Rogers in the all-black film, and her recording of the title song, 'Story Weather' became her signature.

Despite her success Horne, struggled against the humiliation of accepted racism. In Brian Lanker's book 'I Dreamed a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America,' Horne wrote "I was always battling the system to try to get to be with my people. Finally, I wouldn't work for places that kept us out ... it was a damn fight everywhere I was, every place I worked, in New York, in Hollywood, all over the world." In many of the films Horne did while at MGM she appeared only in musical numbers, which would later be cut from the film for viewing in the South, without the storyline being affected. She became a dedicated civil rights activist, participating in the March on Washington in 1963.

President Obama has issued the following statement about the passing of Lena Horne: "Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Lena Horne - one of our nation's most cherished entertainers. Over the years, she warmed the hearts of countless Americans with her beautiful voice and dramatic performances on screen. From the time her grandmother signed her up for an NAACP membership as a child, she worked tirelessly to further the cause of justice and equality. In 1940, she became the first African American performer to tour with an all white band. And while entertaining soldiers during World War II, she refused to perform for segregated audiences - a principled struggle she continued well after the troops returned home. Michelle and I offer our condolences to all those who knew and loved Lena , and we join all Americans in appreciating the joy she brought to our lives and the progress she forged for our country."

Remember the talent of this legendary artist with this Broadway medley of "Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific and "Some People" from Gypsy.



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