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Dorothy Jean Dandridge (November 9, 1922–September 8, 1965) was an American actress and popular singer. Dandridge was the first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Dandridge was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Cyril Dandridge (October 25, 1895-July 9, 1989), a cabinetmaker and minister and Ruby Dandridge (née Butler), an aspiring entertainer. Dandridge's parents separated shortly before her birth. Ruby Dandridge soon created an act for her two young daughters, Vivian and Dorothy, under the name of "The Wonder Children." The daughters toured the Southern United States for five years while Ruby worked and performed in Cleveland. During this time, they toured non-stop and rarely attended school.

With the start of the Great Depression, work dried up, as it did for many of the Chitlin' circuit performers. Ruby Dandridge moved to Hollywood, where she found steady work playing domestics in small parts on radio and film. "The Wonder Kids" were renamed "The Dandridge Sisters" and booked into such venues as the Cotton Club and The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Dandridge's first on-screen appearance was a bit part in a 1935 Our Gang short. In 1937 she appeared in the Marx Brothers feature A Day at the Races.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dorothy Dandridge."
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