Stormy weather : the life of Lena Horne / James Gavin.

by Gavin, James, 1964-Looking glass.

Publisher: New York ; Atria Books, 2009.Description: 598 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm.ISBN: 9780743271431; 0743271432; 9780743271448; 0743271440.Subject(s): Horne, LenaLooking glass | Singers -- United States -- BiographyLooking glass | African American women singers -- BiographyNote: Bibliography: pages 544-560. - Discography: pages561-564. - Filmography: page565. - Includes index.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan London College of Fashion
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Printed books 791.432 HOR (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 54119601
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

At long last, the first serious biography of entertainment legend Lena Horne -- the celebrated star of film, stage, and music who became one of the first African-American icons.At the 74th annual Academy Awards in 2002, Halle Berry thanked Lena Horne for paving the way for her to become the first black recipient of a Best Actress Oscar. Though limited, mostly to guest singing appearances in splashy Hollywood musicals, "the beautiful Lena Horne," as she was often called, became a pioneering star for African Americans in the 1940s and fifties. Now James Gavin, author ofDeep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker, draws on a wealth of unmined material and hundreds of interviews -- one of them with Horne herself -- to give us the defining portrait of an American icon.Gavin has gotten closer than any other writer to the celebrity who has lived in reclusion since 1998. Incorporating insights from the likes of Ruby Dee, Tony Bennett, Diahann Carroll, Arthur Laurents, and several of Horne's fellow chorines from Harlem's Cotton Club,Stormy Weatheroffers a fascinating portrait of a complex, even tragic Horne -- a stunning talent who inspired such giants of showbiz as Barbra Streisand, Eartha Kitt, and Aretha Franklin, but whose frustrations with racism, and with tumultuous, root-less childhood, left wounds too deep to heal. The woman who emerged was as angry as she was luminous.From the Cotton Club's glory days and the back lots of Hollywood's biggest studios to the glitzy but bigoted hotels of Las Vegas's heyday, this behind-the-scenes look at an American icon is as much a story of the limits of the American dream as it is a masterful, ground-breaking biography.

Bibliography: pages 544-560. - Discography: pages561-564. - Filmography: page565. - Includes index.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Gavin (Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker) now turns his incisive gaze toward legendary singer Lena Horne. Gavin captures a lifetime filled with conflict-a woman brought up to be wary of Caucasians who married a Jew; incredibly beautiful but not in the "right" way; outwardly serene and poised with a raging internal anger toward herself and others; a groundbreaking entertainer who never lost her sense of isolation. This biography is at once mesmerizing and tragic, a masterful exploration of an international cultural icon. Moving from a peripatetic childhood to Harlem and the Cotton Club, from the golden age of MGM to early Las Vegas to present-day Manhattan, Horne's journey is brought to vivid life. Recommended reading for not only those who like nonfiction but anyone interested in the Harlem Renaissance, early jazz, MGM musicals, and the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement.-Teri Shiel, Westfield State Coll. Lib., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

The clouds rarely lift in this grim, perceptive biography of Hollywood's first African-American screen siren. Gavin (Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker) makes clear that much of Horne's perpetual frustration stemmed from the racism black entertainers faced in the pre-civil rights era. MGM glamorized her as a darker version of its white starlets, but gave her small roles and singing cameos that Southern theaters could conveniently excise. As a cabaret chanteuse and Vegas headliner, she battled segregated nightclubs that let her sing to, but not drink with, white customers, and racial attitudes tainted her relationships with black audiences and with her white husband and lovers. Still, Horne's failures and heartaches seem largely determined by her talent and character. Her movie career, Gavin contends, fizzled more because of limited acting ability than studio perfidy, while a chaotic childhood left her a "nasty woman" ready to "freeze people into oblivion." Indeed, her unhappiness shaped a successful stage persona-a cross between "a cobra" and "a panther devouring her prey"-that infused romantic lyrics with scornful irony. As Horne grows from "joyless toddler" to chilly, bitter diva, Gavin's clear-eyed account makes her the author of her life, and her pain. Photos. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Author notes provided by Syndetics

James Gavin is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, among other publications. He lives in New York City. His latest book is a biography entitled, Stormy Weather: Lena Horne. The book is entitled, Stormy Waether: The Life of Lena Horne.

(Publisher Fact Sheets)

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