Diva Database: Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

When Dorothy Dandridge saunters into her first scene as Carmen Jones in that black off-the-shoulder top and figure-hugging red skirt, you know you are watching a diva in action.  Poor Joe (played by Harry Belafonte) didn’t stand a chance. Dandridge did more than captivate Joe; she had Hollywood hooked, earning the first best actress Oscar nomination for an African American with her sultry performance. In the 1950s, when pinups girls like Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner were stars, Dandridge was just as hot. Her legendary role had future divas clamoring to play her or reprise her Carmen Jones role, including Janet Jackson, Halle Berry and Beyoncé.