Presenting Dorothy Dandridge

This page originally appeared at -- see explanation for the new location...

Dorothy Dandridge as Carmen Jones

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Seeing double?

On the left is 1950s film actress Dorothy Dandridge; on the right is film actress Halle Berry in her 1990s portrayal of Dorothy Dandridge.

Halle Berry as Dorothy Dandridge as Carmen Jones (whew!)

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Welcome Note from Webmaster Val:


Dorothy Dandridge, Everything and Nothing

Dorothy Dandridge's long out of print and notoriously difficult to find autobiography, "Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy" has been re-released and is back in print! (Although I must mention that the subtitle used to be "The Dorothy Dandridge Story," which I guess just wasn't "dramatic" enough -- and I'll bet if Dorothy were still alive, she wouldn't be happy about the change one little bit and she'd tell these publishers where they could stick their "tragedy"--! But I digress...) Anyway :>, if you've only read the other two biographies, I implore you to read Dorothy's own work, co-written with Earl Conrad. Also, keep in mind that it's this book that Janet Jackson holds the film rights to, so if Janet decides to star in her own cinematic version of Dorothy's story, it would be adapted from this work.

See my reviews of various Dorothy Dandridge books below! is now offering the "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" VHS videotape and the "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" DVD. also has the soundtrack album for "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge: An HBO Original Movie Soundtrack."

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge


shamelessly ripped from another website

See most of the original HBO web site created for the film, courtesy of the Wayback Machine - just click the links below (text of the interviews is intact, but the accompanying photos are no longer available):

HBO's CyberSoul City features interviews with cast and crew of the film, including Halle Berry (Dorothy Dandridge), Cynda Willams (sister Vivian Dandridge), director Martha Coolidge, Obba Babtunde (first husband Harold Nicholas), D.B. Sweeney (second husband Jack Dennison), plus a special exclusive interview with Dorothy's former brother-in-law, internationally known Fayard Nicholas of the famed Nicholas Brothers.

Jake-ann Jones has written an article on the early history of African Americans in Hollywood; read "Dark Star Rising: Dorothy Dandridge and Hollywood's Early Black Screen Legends (part 1)" and "Dark Star Rising: Dorothy Dandridge and Hollywood's Early Black Screen Legends (part 2)".

Congratulations to Halle Berry for winning a Golden Globe for her performance in "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge!"

HBO premiered their original screen presentation, the film biography, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," on August 21, 1999. Halle Berry not only starred in the film portraying Dandridge, but also served as executive producer.

Halle Berry with Emmy, by Adrees Latif/Reuters

And so very many warm congratulations to Halle Berry, again, for the five (!) Emmy wins for "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," including a personal Emmy for her performance [09/10/2000].


Halle Berry with Emmy 2, by Adrees Latif/Reuters

Halle Berry & Dorothy Dandridge

Halle Berry was the joint cover story along with Dorothy Dandridge in the August 1999 "Ebony" magazine. They also were the joint cover story for the August 23, 1999 Jet magazine.

Halle was featured as the cover story of the September 1999 Upscale magazine (which included the "Halle as Carmen Jones" photo above).

And (!) Halle was featured on the cover of the September 1999 "Essence" magazine.

For those of you keeping score at home :>!

Halle was on the cover of the September 1999 Shape magazine.

And Halle was the cover story in the August 22, 1999 Parade Magazine.

Dorothy Dandridge

Click the Yahoo! News Search button below to automatically link to current news releases mentioning Dorothy Dandridge.

[ Yahoo! News Search ]


Dorothy Dandridge news headlines below courtesy of


Other Events & Links

Dorothy Dandridge TV Schedule from TV Guide

Dorothy Dandridge Filmography at the Internet Movie Database

Dorothy Dandridge entry at Wikipedia

Dorothy Dandridge page at Biography

Dorothy Dandridge, Smooth Operator

The Verve Music Group has issued a record of Dorothy Dandridge's singing, a CD titled, "Smooth Operator" (not to be confused with the Sade record!). Dorothy sings such standards as "Body and Soul," "When Your Lover Has Gone," "How Long Has This Been Going On?" and "I've Got A Crush On You," some with an orchestra, and others with a jazz combo which includes the legendary jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson. Listen to the RealAudio clips at the web page.


 at Yahoo! Music




Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography

  • "Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography," by Donald Bogle, was published in a hardcover edition in 1997 and is by far the most comprehensive story of Dandridge's life. Holding the film rights to this version of her story is singer Whitney Houston. This edition is the reprint trade paperback published laste last year; the original hardcover is currently out of print.


Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography


Dorothy Dandridge, Everything and Nothing

  • "Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy", Dandridge's autobiography (written along with Earl Conrad), was published in 1970, five years after her death. In Bogle's book, she is quoted as admitting that some episodes recounted in the book are fictional, stories she made up to make the book more commercial. Who can know? Anyway, holding the film rights to this autobiography is Janet Jackson.


Dorothy Dandridge

  • "Dorothy Dandridge" was written by Dandridge's former manager, Earl Mills. His book was originally published in 1970, but was re-released in 1991, and has now been re-re-released (!) in conjunction with the HBO film. It is this version of Dandridge's story which is the basis for "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge." 


Brown Sugar

  • "Brown Sugar" by Donald Bogle, was originally published in a hardcover edition back in 1980. The book covers everyone from Josephine Baker to Donna Summer. This paperback edition was released in 1990 and is still available for purchase. A brief retelling of Dandridge's life in the book led to Bogle's more complete biography above.

Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood by Donald Bogle

  • See Donald Bogle's new book, Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood, which naturally includes Dorothy in its look at the African American struggles and successes in the U.S. film industry. Yes, that's Dorothy on the cover at the top, (seriously wearing that mink stole!) with her sister, Vivian, I believe. Below is a photo still of Lena Horne and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson from the 1943 film, Stormy Weather.

Click on the name Donald Bogle in order to find more books on the history of African-Americans in the entertainment industry, especially in the area of film.


If you're interested in some of his books which are now out of print, or the rare first editions of the above books by and about Dorothy Dandridge, try using the online bookstore for rare and out of print books:

Alibris - Books You Thought You'd Never Find
To find the available books about her, click the name below:
Dorothy Dandridge icon

Also, check with your local library! Click here for the list of public libraries at Yahoo! Yellow Pages to find a library near you. Good luck :>!

Val's Reviews of the Dorothy Dandridge Biographies

Dorothy Dandridge by Earl Mills

  My local library was able to get me this book through interlibrary loan. This is a story of Dandridge's life as told by someone who obviously loved Dorothy very much (Mills and Dandridge had a personal friendship as well as a professional relationship). Being her manager, Mills had access to and shows here many, many photos of the beautiful Dandridge.

On the outside looking in, Mills tells the story of a woman who seems to have been abused -- physically, emotionally, at times sexually -- since day one. But she was very smart and very talented and she knew what she wanted. And for the most part, she accomplished it -- she was the premier black American actress (as well as sex symbol) of her generation. She could act, she could sing, she could dance -- she seemed to have it all.

But Hollywood was not really ready for Dorothy and it showed; Dorothy was a comely, sexy romantic lead in her pictures, but whether or not she could just kiss her often white male co-star would throw the producers and the studios into a tizzy, resulting in a frustrated Dandridge acting in movies where her reel relationships were more implied rather than shown.

There was even more frustration in Dorothy's real relationships with white men; though they'd gladly court her, they wouldn't take the next step and marry her. The one white man who did take that next step and married her seems to have been interested more in Dorothy's money than her charms.

Bankruptcy and ill health contributed to the decline of Dorothy's later life and career. Still, she persevered and was on the way to making a comeback -- but this was cut short by her untimely death. It was Mills who found Dandridge lying on the floor of her apartment. But was it a suicide or an accidental death? Similar to the deaths of Hollywood legends Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe, we may never know...


Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Story by Dorothy Dandridge and Earl Conrad

  My local library was able to get me this book through interlibrary loan as well. Dandridge's take on her life is very different from the biographies -- if for no other reason that the book is full of Dandridge's effusive and self-deprecating humor!

But don't be fooled; Dandridge's life is a very complex one. Basically this is a memoir, but it's so much else. It's a story of love and marriage and motherhood and divorce and lust (and yes, in that order!). There's the joyful laughter of nostalgia mixed with the bitter tears of regret. There's the realization of hard-fought ambitions, there's haughty glamour, there's acute despair. In some ways Dorothy was the queen of self-preservation, yet you could almost call this book the world's longest suicide note. Dorothy truly had everything and nothing and that is bluntly yet gracefully explained in this book.

Dorothy was a star at a time when talent, ambition, beauty, class, and ability was in no way valued in a black woman, just was not asked for by the larger society, much less encouraged, cherished, and held dear. The real tragedy of her life is that she is not remembered by more people. Reading about her has convinced me more than ever that we all need to listen, hear, and heed the story of Dorothy Dandridge.


Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography by Donald Bogle

  Noted film historian Donald Bogle's book is certainly the most definitive work to date on the story of Dorothy Dandridge. Seeking a finer attention to detail than other writers' takes on Dandridge, Bogle's book weighs in (literally!) with over 600 pages on the groundbreaking star. It's not a book to be taken lightly :>, and relays a dramatic and heartbreaking tale.

Bogle starts the story a couple of generations earlier than others, focusing on Dandridge's grandparents and especially her mother, Ruby Dandridge, who had her own successful acting career. There's also an interview with Dorothy's sister, Vivian Dandridge, which begins the book.

Despite these moments, Bogle's book does lack the intimacy of the earlier books by Mills and Dandridge herself -- which is to be expected, I guess.

In an America where there can now be several dramatic actresses of color working simultaneously, including Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, Emmy winners Alfre Woodard and Lynn Whitfield, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Jenifer Lewis, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Pam Grier, Paula Kelly, Vanessa L. Williams, Lela Rochon, Victoria Rowell, Phylicia Rashad, Theresa Randle, Khandi Alexander, Halle Berry, Regina King, Lisa Bonet, Lisa Nicole Carson, Jada Pinkett, Kim Fields, Nia Long, Vivica A. Fox, Irma P. Hall, Debbi Morgan, Whitney Houston, Dandridge contemporaries Ruby Dee and Diahann Carroll, Gloria Foster, and many others -- plus those women who now work behind the camera, including Kasi Lemmons, Tracey E. Edmonds, Robi Reed-Humes, and Yvette Lee Bowser -- I guess we can only look at Dandridge and her times and her frustrating struggles from afar.

(Don't know all these names? Look 'em up! Check the Internet Movie Database.)

In Association with

Click over to find out about videos featuring Dorothy Dandridge, including her Oscar-nominated performance in "Carmen Jones." See the list below.

See all Dorothy Dandridge videos and DVDs:

Carmen Jones DVD

Carmen Jones (2002 DVD release)

Carmen Jones

Carmen Jones (2002 video release)
Carmen Jones Carmen Jones (1990s video release)

Island in the Sun

Island in the Sun



Dorothy Dandridge: An American Beauty

Find out more about this DVD at Passport Productions.

Dorothy Dandridge: Singing At Her Best

Dorothy Dandridge: Singing At Her Best

Find out more about this DVD at Passport Productions.

FYI: It's the soundies mentioned on my Dorothy Dandridge Memorabilia Vendors page and previews/trailers from some of Dorothy's movies... which are more or less in the public domain. Sorta.


Thanks to (formerly, it turns out that you can get a video or DVD copy of "Porgy and Bess!" No, I'm not kidding! Maybe you don't know how amazing this is! Maybe you're not aware of the drama behind this movie, which may star Dorothy, Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis Jr., Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, and Brock Peters, and has, in small roles, Maya Angelou and Nichelle Nichols, but which so displeased the Gershwin family that it pulled rank on everybody and withdrew all copies from general release and demanded that it no longer be seen on television or in theaters without express permission from them--! So if you're curious, or better still, if you remember the film and liked it and weren't aware that it was in some kind of creative house arrest, request a quote or make an offer on the video OR request a quote or make an offer on the DVD:
Porgy and Bess at

Find out about the drama involved in just making the "Porgy and Bess" film in the various Dandridge book titles mentioned above, as well as in Nichelle Nichols's book, Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories.


More films in which Dorothy Dandridge appears (however briefly)...

  1. Music And Comedy Masters, Vol. 5  

  2. A Day at the Races (VHS) / A Day at the Races (DVD) (1937)

  3. Sun Valley Serenade (1941)

  4. Lady From Louisiana (1941) 

  5. Sundown (1941) 

  6. Change of Heart / Hit Parade of 1943 (1943)

  7. Since You Went Away (VHS) / Since You Went Away (DVD) (1944) 

  8. Tamango (1959)

  9. Little Rascals, Vol. 2 - Dorothy can be seen super briefly in "Teacher's Beau (1937)"

Small Steps, Big Strides
Small Steps, Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood - Video

Small Steps, Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood - DVD


It's Black Entertainment - Video

It's Black Entertainment - DVD

Martin and Lewis: Colgate Comedy Classics
This set includes some of Martin and Lewis' best comedic and musical performances in five episodes. Special guests include Polly Bergen, Bob Fosse, and Dorothy Dandridge, among others.

Harlem Renaissance
Harlem musicians of the 20s, 30s and 40s, with performances by Fats Waller, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Dorothy Dandridge (Easy Street), Cab Calloway, Mills Brothers, Tiny Grimes, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Sidney Bechet, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, and others.


Get the home video of the 50-minute A&E Biography program, "Dorothy Dandridge: Little Girl Lost," which premiered on August 23, 1999.


Some of these DVDs are available for rental from...


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For more memorabilia, do a search on "Dorothy Dandridge" at the premier Internet auction site,  eBay!  


Also, see my page of Dorothy Dandridge Memorabilia Vendors (which used to appear in the directory, but was removed as it didn't follow directory guidelines), which is a list of those vendors selling memorabilia of the film actress, especially rare items, such as videotapes of Dorothy's early film appearances, original (or reprinted) posters and lobby cards from her films, etc.


To see more Dorothy Dandridge web sites, click over to the Netscape Open Directory Project and see the sites listed under,_Dorothy.

Submit your own Dorothy Dandridge page to the directory.


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