1001 W 75TH ST. WOODRIDGE, IL 630-427-1880

Hollywood Memorial

Dorothy Dandridge

One of the most accomplished actresses of her time, she set a high on screen standard for the African-American female film stars who followed and continue to follow her. She rose to the top of her profession with her first starring role and became the first African-American woman to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, but, just as fast as her success was achieved, it begin to fade. One of Dandridge’s most important later roles was in ‘Porgy and Bess’ (1959). That same year, she won the Golden Globe Award for best actress in a musical film for her role in the film. Also in that year, Dandridge married the white nightclub owner Jack Denison, who is reported to have been abusive to Dandridge. Her life soon began a downward spiral, which in the end turned tragic. In 1962, the couple divorced and shortly thereafter Dandridge filed for bankruptcy. By 1965 her career was on the upswing again, but she also continued to drink heavily and would call various friends at night and talk for hours about everything that was going on in her life. During this time period, Dandridge was a very lonely woman and often sounded disoriented. She was given a prescription antidepressant drug which seemed to lift her spirits. On the morning of Sept. 8, 1965, she rescheduled an appointment she had for that morning to have a cast put on her foot for later that day. A friend of hers later went to Dandridge’s Los Angeles apartment but could not get an answer, later returning around 2pm that afternoon and forcing his way into the apartment where he found Dandridge dead at age 43, lying on the bathroom floor in the nude with a blue scarf around her head. Her death was first attributed to a blood clot caused by the fracture in her foot but an autopsy revealed that she had died of an overdose of the antidepressant Tofranil. Cremated and entombed in Forest Lawn in Glendale with her mother.