Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 10:07 UK

US singer Lena Horne dies aged 92

Lena Horne performs in Las Vegas in 1954

US singer and actress Lena Horne has died in New York at the age of 92.

Renowned for her beauty and sultry voice, Horne battled against racial segregation to become Hollywood's first black sex symbol.

In 1943, she played Selina Rogers in the all-black film musical Stormy Weather, the title song of which was to be a major hit and her signature tune.

Her career spanned more than 60 years. Later she embraced activism and became a voice for civil rights in the US.


In the 1940s, she became one of the first black performers to sing with a major white band and have a Hollywood contract.

When asked about her success, Ms Horne once said: "I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept.

Lena Horne in 1994
Lena Horne's popularity was revived in the later years of her life

"I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked."

In 1981, her one-woman show, the award-winning The Lady and her Music, based on her life and career, ran for more than a year on Broadway and in London.

Her success gained her a special Tony award, while Horne's recording career resulted in two Grammy awards.

When actress Halle Berry became the first black woman to win a best actress Oscar in 2002, she cited Lena Horne as one of the pioneering entertainers who had paved the way for her breakthrough.

Obituary: Lena Horne
10 May 10 |  Entertainment

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