Actress and singer Lena Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. She left school at age 16 to help support her mother and became a dancer at the Cotton Club in Harlem. She later sang at Carnegie Hall and appeared in such films as Stormy Weather and The Wiz. She was also known for her work with civil rights groups, and refused to play roles that stereotyped African-American women.
Horne made her final film appearance in the 1978 movie The Wiz. The film was a version of The Wizard of Oz that featured an entirely African-American cast including Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, and Horne played Glinda the Good Witch.
In 1981 she made a triumphant return to Broadway with her one-woman show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. The show ran on Broadway for 14 months, then toured in the United States and abroad, and won a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award, as well as two Grammy Awards for its soundtrack.
In 1994 Horne gave one of her last concerts, at New York’s Supper Club. The performance was recorded and was released in 1995 as An Evening With Lena Horne: Live at the Supper Club, which won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Though she contributed occasional recordings after this, she largely retreated from public life.
Lena Horne died of heart failure on May 9, 2010, in New York City.