By the time CARMEN JONES was released, Dorothy Dandridge was a Hollywood veteran. She and her sister can be seen singing in the "All God's Chillun (Children) Got Rhythm" production number in 1937 Marx Brothers comedy, A DAY AT THE RACES. In the 1941 desert drama, SUNDOWN, we see Dorothy playing an African princess opposite Gene Tierney. That same year, she had a knock-out speciality musical number in 20th Century Fox's SUN VALLEY SERENADE. She and the magnificent Nicholas Brothers (one of whom she'd marry) sang and danced "Chattanooga Choo Choo."
I've seen the 1959 PORGY AND BESS a few times. It's Dorothy Dandridge's picture. Her Oscar nomination for CARMEN JONES was no fluke. She was a screen beauty with solid acting skills.
Hollywood was not racially inclusive then. Neither was a lot of the country. Racial restrictions clearly handicapped the career of this multi-talented performer. When talking about fellow black entertainers, Lena Horne said that Dorothy Dandridge was "...our Marilyn Monroe." The gifted Best Actress Oscar nominee died broke in West Hollywood in 1965. She was only 42.