Posts tagged "film"

I’ve always loved this photo of Dorothy Dandridge relaxing with extras on the set of “Carmen Jones”. What do you think they were talking about? Photo: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

I am thrilled to have Janet Collins, the first Black prima ballerina at The Metropolitan Opera, in my upcoming book. But it also thrills me to see her getting more recognition and exposure in other ventures. My pal Karyn Parsons (Yes, that Karyn Parsons…) is the founder of Sweet Blackberry, whose mission is to bring little-known stories of African American achievement to kids. She created a Kickstarter to fund the 20-minute short on Janet Collins’ life that she is producing with Chris Rock narrating. Sweet Blackberry has produced two previous shorts for kids (on Henry Box Brown and Garrett Morgan) narrated by Alfre Woodard and Queen Latifah. Please check out the video at this link and donate - even as little as $1 can help! - so we can get this video in homes, schools and libraries around the world.https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/798791271/the-janet-collins-story-presented-by-sweet-blackbe

"I believe that often young performers, lacking a continuity of experience, lacking a knowledge of the history of entertainment, of the tradition and great contributions that our people have made to theater, may tend to feel that a whole new world begins with each newcomer. Not so…. I maintain that we actresses must concern ourselves more with the fate of each other, and of the younger actresses coming along, by helping to find material and getting it produced and by promoting scholarships for intensive training.” ~ Ruby Dee, from an article she wrote for the April 1966 issue of Negro Digest entitled “Tattered Queens: Some Reflections on the Negro Actress.” In this photo, she is shown with baseball legend Jackie Robinson in a scene from the movie, “The Jackie Robinson Story,” where she played his wife, Rachel. Ms. Dee died at the age of 91 on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at her home in New Rochelle, New York. Photo: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

Diana Sands on the 1972 poster for the film, “Georgia, Georgia”. The screenplay was written by none other than Dr. Maya Angelou, who also wrote the score for the film. I was lucky enough to find a full-size version of this poster a few years ago. Now to finally find a frame for it…

Diana Sands on the 1972 poster for the film, “Georgia, Georgia”. The screenplay was written by none other than Dr. Maya Angelou, who also wrote the score for the film. I was lucky enough to find a full-size version of this poster a few years ago. Now to finally find a frame for it…

Actress and singer Sheila Guyse, best known for her role in the 1947 film “Sepia Cinderella,” died on December 28, 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 88. Ms. Guyse was born Etta Drucille Guyse on July 14, 1925, in Forest, Mississippi. After winning the amateur night competition at the Apollo Theater, she appeared in Broadway musicals like “Finian’s Rainbow” (1947) and “Lost in the Stars” (1949) along with several other film appearances including “Miracle In Harlem" in 1948. Photo: New York Times obituary.

Juanita Moore, the Academy Award nominated actress best known for her role as the brokenhearted mother of a mixed daughter who wanted to pass as white in the 1959 film, “Imitation of Life,” died in Los Angeles on January 1, 2014 at the age of 99. A Los Angeles native, she was born there on October 19, 1914 (or 1922 - there are conflicting dates) and studied drama at Los Angeles City College before embarking on a singing career that took her to nightclubs in New York and Moulin Rouge in Paris. As a member of Ebony Showcase, a Los Angeles theater group, she had her first break as an actress in a controversial play at the time called “No Exit” wich was about three people who were presumed to be dead. Prior to becoming only the the fifth black performer to be nominated for an Academy Award, she appeared several films including “Pinky” in 1949 and “Affair in Trinidad” with Rita Hayworth in 1952. During a press tour for Imitation of Life in March 1959, Ms. Moore told Hazel Garland of the Pittsburgh Courier that she had to gain 18 pounds in order to appear more matronly for her role in the film. She said it took less than four wees to gain the weight, but more than two months to lose it. “To me, this is the break every actress dreams of getting. It is one in which I can run the gamut of emotions.” By 1967, she was far less enthusiastic in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “The Oscar prestige was fine, but I worked more before I was nominated,” Moore said at the time. “Casting directors think an Oscar nominee is suddenly in another category. They couldn’t possibly ask you to do one or two days’ work. You wouldn’t accept it. And I’m sure I would.” In this photo, Ms. Moore (seated at right) is shown on the set of “Imitation of Life” with the legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who famously sang at the funeral of Ms. Moore’s character Annie Johnson at the end of the film, and Ross Hunter, the producer of the film who cast her in her most famous role. Mr. Hunter and director Douglas Sirk considered over 40 black actresses for the role, including Pearl Bailey and Marian Anderson. Mr. Hunter told interviewers in March 1959, “When we interviewed Miss Moore, we knew our search was over. Even if she hadn’t been an experienced performer, her sincerity, warmth, and natural qualities would have won the role.” Once married to Nyas Berry, of the famed tap dancing Berry Brothers, Ms. Moore was married for over 50 years to Charles Burris, who died in 2001. Photo: A Certain Cinema/Sérgio Leemann.

Pearl Bailey performing with Carmen De Lavallade in the 1954 film “Carmen Jones.” And, yes, that is none other than Max Roach on the drums. This picture was taken by Howard Morehead (1924-2003) for Ebony magazine, where Mr. Morehead served as the magazine’s first west coast-based photographer. A native of Topeka, Kansas, Mr. Morehead was also a Tuskegee Airman who served in World War II before earning a degree in photography from Los Angeles City College. He also attended USC and UCLA , was a staff photographer at the historically black newspaper, The Los Angeles Sentinel and shot countless album covers. Photo: Ebony via Art.com.

Pearl Bailey performing with Carmen De Lavallade in the 1954 film “Carmen Jones.” And, yes, that is none other than Max Roach on the drums. This picture was taken by Howard Morehead (1924-2003) for Ebony magazine, where Mr. Morehead served as the magazine’s first west coast-based photographer. A native of Topeka, Kansas, Mr. Morehead was also a Tuskegee Airman who served in World War II before earning a degree in photography from Los Angeles City College. He also attended USC and UCLA , was a staff photographer at the historically black newspaper, The Los Angeles Sentinel and shot countless album covers. Photo: Ebony via Art.com.