Remembering Lena Horne

Remembering Lena Horne

Called to California by a nightclub owner, Horne was noticed by a composer at MGM who asked the studio bosses to listen to her perform. Duly impressed, studio head Louis B. Mayer signed her to a seven-year contract, the first time an African-American performer had been given a long-term contract. Despite that breakthrough, much of Horne's talent remained unexploited, as the studio cast her in "all-star" musicals like Broadway Rhythm, above, in which she appeared for one or two songs, allowing the studio to remove her scenes when the films played in Southern theaters.

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