Lena Mary Calhoun Horne, 30 June 1917, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Horne is a dynamic performer, of striking appearance and elegant style. The daughter of an actress and a hotel operator, she was brought up mainly by her paternal grandmother, Cora Calhoun Horne. She made her professional debut at the age of 16 as a singer in the chorus at Harlems Cotton Club, learning from Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Harold Arlen, the composer of a future big hit, Stormy Weather. From 1935-36 she was featured vocalist with the all-black Noble Sissles Society Orchestra (the same Noble Sissle who, with Eubie Blake, wrote several hit songs including Shuffle Along and Im Just Wild About Harry) and later toured with the top swing band of Charlie Barnet, singing numbers such as Good For Nothin Joe and Youre My Thrill. Sometimes, when Barnets Band played the southern towns,...
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