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Dorothy Dandridge was an American actress and popular singer, and was the first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress.
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A short biography of Dorothy Dandridge, who started out in the familial duo The Dandridge Sisters. Her breakthrough role in "Carmen Jones" led to her becoming the first African-American woman nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress.
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On the rebound, she married her second husband, Jack Denison, in 1959, which proved to be another troubled relationship. He was verbally abusive and mishandled her money. She lost much of her savings to bad investments, including Denison's restaurant, which failed in 1962. He left her soon after.
As her film career and marriage failed, Dandridge began drinking heavily and taking antidepressants. The threat of bankruptcy and nagging problems with the IRS forced her to resume her nightclub career,
but she found only a fraction of her former success. Relegated to second-rate lounges and stage productions, Dandridge's financial situation grew worse and worse. By 1963, she could no longer afford to pay for her daughter's 24-hour medical care, and Harolyn was placed in a state institution. Dandridge soon suffered a nervous breakdown.
On September 8, 1965, Dorothy Dandridge was found dead in her Hollywood home. It was later ruled that her death was caused by a barbiturate overdose. Dandridge had little more than $2 in her bank account at the time of her death.
Dorothy Dandridge's unique and tragic story became the subject of renewed interest in the late 1990s, beginning in 1997 with the release of a biography, Dorothy Dandridge, by Donald Bogle, and a two-week retrospective at New York City's Film Forum. In 1999, actress Halle Berry won Golden Globe and Emmy awards for her portrayal of Dandridge in an acclaimed HBO movie, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.
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