Photo: A History of Style: Fashion Inspired by Dorothy Dandridge (

Dorothy Jean Dandridge: Film and theater actress, singer and dancer. First African American Academy Award nominee for Best Actress for her role in 'Carmen Jones' (1954).

Dorothy Dandridge: First African American Academy Award Nominee for Best Actress


Film/TV | by James E. Brunson | September 5, 2015

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was a black actress and singer; Dandridge was also the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Dandridge's had a flawless and radiant skin complexion.

The black press described it as “honey” and “cafe au lait.” Dandridge and her sister, Vivian, the Dandridge Sisters, performed at New York's famous Cotton Club.

In 1942, she married dancer Harold Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers. Following a divorce in 1949, Dandridge toured as a nightclub singer. In 1954, she starred in the film "Carmen Jones."

She was nominated for an Oscar (Grace Kelly won for "The Country Girl.") In 1959, Dandridge starred with Sidney Poitier in "Porgy and Bess." Racism and personal challenges impacted her career. Dandridge began drinking heavily and taking antidepressants.

In 1965, she died of a drug overdoes. Sigh.

James E. Brunson

Donald Bogle

Dorothy Dandridge | Select Filmography

Smart Destinations® - Go City Card