Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy_Dandridge_no copyright

Dandridge in screenshot from trailer for ”The Decks Ran Red,” 1958

Birth Name: Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Date of Birth: November 9, 1922

Place of Birth: Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.

Date of Death: September 8, 1965

Place of Death: West Hollywood, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American, some English

Dorothy Dandridge was an American actress, singer, and dancer. She was known for her films Carmen Jones, Tamango, Porgy and Bess, and many more. She was one of the first black actresses to be a star in Hollywood.

Her father, Cyril H. Dandridge, was a minister and cabinetmaker, born in Ohio. Her mother, Ruby Dandridge (born Ruby Jean Butler), born in Wichita, Kansas, was an actress from 1900 until the 1950s. Dorothy’s parents were both black, and she also had some English ancestry. Dorothy’s mother’s family was from North Carolina.

Dorothy was the sister of actress, dancer, and singer Vivian Dandridge. She had a daughter with her former husband, dancer and entertainer Harold Nicholas, of the Nicholas Brothers.

In her autobiography, Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy, 1970, co-written with Earl Conrad, Dorothy stated that her mother had Jamaican, Mexican, and Native American ancestry. It appears that these statements were inaccurate.

Dorothy’s paternal grandfather was James Henry Dandridge (the son of Albert Dandridge and Edwina/Edmonia Warren). James was born in Canada.

Dorothy’s paternal grandmother was Florence Jessie Locke (the daughter of John/Joshua Locke and Ellen/Elnora Johnson). Florence was born in Canada. John was born in England. Ellen was born in Kentucky.

Dorothy’s maternal grandfather was named George Frank Butler.

Dorothy’s maternal grandmother was named Nellie Simmons/Simon.

Source: Genealogy of Dorothy Dandridge –


Curious about ethnicity

36 Responses

  1. danishcookie7 says:

    She was beautiful.

  2. Multiethnicchick says:

    You just have poor eyesight in general, she clearly looks nothing like janet jackson

  3. Freerk says:

    She looks more European than African-American.

    I think, the problem with statements of Americans in the past about people like “Dorothy‚Äôs parents were both black” (usually) is that ANY percentage of African blood made a person “black” in the view of the white community (and the authorities). So if just one person out of your 8 great-grantparents was of African-American descent, they called you “black”.

    That’s crap. But that’s probably what you read in a population census. I hope the times have changed?

  4. Princess says:

    Strange how they called her a “Black actress”. She looks like a White woman with light brown skin.

    • This woman was scorned by white people, haven’t you read her biography? why the hell would she want to be classified as white!

    • angrygirl19 says:

      Wow. Ignorance is real.
      She’s a black woman because that’s whats listed in her DNA.

      • WTF says:

        She didn’t look black, and you know it too. She had a lot of white in her. Why tf you think she was successful in Hollywood??? Bc she looked “white”, and they cast her in a lot tragic mulatto roles. Halle Berry portrayed her in that movie, Introducing Dorothy Dandrige. She wasn’t just black, bitch. Stop claiming us mixed people as black, it’s fuckin annoying and ignorant. FUCK the one drop rule!

        • WTF says:

          A lot of her roles were tragic mulatto characters. She didn’t look black, she looked mixed. Why tf are all these annoying black people claiming mixed people as black? To feel better about themselves or what? Smh stupid bitches.

        • angrygirl19 says:

          I bet you your cyber ass wouldn’t say that to my face. the only stupid bitch is you, ho. that 1/8 don’t count for nothing. that girl was black, sit yo funky ass DOWN

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