Dorothy Dandridge (November 9, 1923 - September 8, 1965) was an American actress. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she was the first African American to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Dandridge began singing in her church's choir and, with the prodding of her mother, moved to Hollywood, where she had a small part in the Marx Brothers' A Day at the Races in 1937. She did not receive another role until 1940, when she appeared in Four Shall Die. All of her early roles were stereotypical parts for African American actresses, but her singing ability brought her popularity in nightclubs around the country. During this period, she starred in several "soundies", video films designed to be displayed on juke boxes, including Paper Doll by the Mills Brothers and Cow Cow Boogie.
In 1954, Dandridge was cast in Carmen Jones, the remake of the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. It gave her her Academy Award nomination. Despite the nomination, she had to go to Italy to make her next movie, Tamango, in 1956.
In 1957 she made Island in the Sun and in 1959 Porgy and Bess.
In 1965, Dandridge was found dead in her home of an overdose of barbiturates. Modern analysts believe that she may have suffered from manic depression. She is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California.
She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6719 Hollywood Blvd.