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I haven't been able to search the entire board, so this may have already been discussed.

Didn't Lena Horne lobby for the part of Julie in MGM's Showboat? Wasn't it deemed problematic to cast a real mixed-race singer/actress and have her play opposite a white man?

I think Lena would have been tremendous as Julie.

 

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Yes. Yes. And Yes. Lena told the story every night on Broadway and then on tour in her one-woman show “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music” in the early 1980s.

Don’t you love YouTube? Here’s the whole show, filmed for TV. It’s really great.

 

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Yes, I was in college, when I saw the great Lena in her one woman show and indeed she says that she wanted the part of Julie and the role was given to friend, Ava Gardner.  This contributed to her disenchantment with Hollywood. Strange it was not mentioned in our class notes.

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This subject reoccurs often. Lena Horne would have been totally wrong for Julie. Julie has to believably passed for white in the deep south of the 1880s. Ms. Horne would never have met the test. It is supposed to be a shock to the audience when she is revealed to be of mixed background. Ava Gardner was perfect casting -- like several actresses of similar closeted background like Merle Oberon, the gorgeous Ava has to play down her ethnicity to be in Hollywood.

 

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