I have always been curious as to the story of Dorothy Dandridge. Her unmistakable beauty, both her acting and singing abilities, I wanted to know more about this talented lady and her life. As I read her story in her words I learned of her heartbreaking misfortunes.
Dandridge faced racism and sexism in her personal and professional life. A woman objectified, seen as a trophy and nothing more through the eyes of men. A woman desiring a husband and a family, never finding sincerity with her male interactions. Yearning to love and to be loved, always falling short. Her childhood was turbulent, raised by a struggling single mother. Extended family physically abusive, an estranged father’s presence after she became well known. Two failed marriages, a special needs child, bankruptcy, declining career, homelessness, this woman survived it all…barely. She took ownership of her mistakes, nonetheless they left her fractured. The emotional and mental carnage draining her of her sense of self, Dandridge starts slipping. Worn out, penniless. Her sudden death a surprise to all, was it by her own hand or was it natural causes? I investigated further and it was determined her death was ruled natural causes.
A beautiful woman possessing talent overcome by loneliness, wanting and needing love, however it remained forever elusive. A woman defeated, a casualty of life. Such a sad, sad story of a woman bearing grace and unlimited potential. I asked myself if Dandridge had been born in this era would her life have been different or would her undeniable beauty be her curse, her cross to bear? The woman and her story is so compelling, it leaves the reader asking various ‘what if’ questions.
I’m not one known to be ‘star struck,’ given her beauty combined with her best known for being the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1954 film Carmen Jones, naturally my curiosity piqued requiring me to learn more of this memorable woman.