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Dorothy Dandridge on TV: How Her Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 02:01 PM

Dorothy Dandridge had a brief but successful acting career during the 1950s, a time when it was hard for an African-American actress to garner many roles.

While she is most well known for her lead roles in Hollywood films such as "Porgy and Bess" and "Carmen Jones," all of her accomplishments weren't on the big screen.

During her acting years Dandridge proved to be multitalented and made several appearances on TV and also boasted a career in music.

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Here are some examples of how her star power went beyond the big screen:

1. Dandridge made an appearance as herself on the "Cavalcade of Stars" in 1952. The show was just starting out at the time of her guest spot.

2. She also made two appearances on the "Colgate Comedy Hour" between 1951 and 1953. The show was considered a big budget variety series that worked to bring all the big names in show business to television. It was one of the priciest series on television during the 1950s.

3. In 1955, Dandridge made history as the first African-American woman to be a presenter on the 27th annual Academy Awards, according to The Root.

She also appeared on three episodes of "Toast of the Town," an Ed Sullivan variety series from 1959 to 1961.

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Dandridge appeared in one episode of the "Ford Star Jubilee" in 1956. The variety series, sponsored by Ford Motor Company, featured top talent in front of and behind the camera.

In 1962, she made a guest appearance in the MGM-produced television show "Cain's Hundred," a crime based drama that aired on NBC. The show only lasted one season.

Besides acting, Dandridge was a remarkable singer. According to Biography.com, she once toured the nightclub circuit with Desi Arnaz's band, which made her an international star. She went on tour and performed in New York, San Francisco, London, and Rio.

As her film career was winding down, Dandridge started performing more often as a singer. In 1957 she took the stage at the 29th annual Academy Awards as a performer, reports TV.com.

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Dorothy Dandridge had a brief but successful acting career during the 1950s, a time when it was hard for an African-American actress to garner many roles.
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