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By Culturekiosque Staff

NEW YORK, 15 MAY 2010 — This week, the legendary and ravishing American singer and actress Lena Horne died at the age of 92. Her funeral Mass was celebrated at the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue in Manhattan in the presence of hundreds of mourners including members of the American cultural and political elite.

WNET’s American Masters honors her life by offering a special presentation of the 1996 programme Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice, directed by Susan Lacy. The programme is scheduled to air on PBS from 14 May through 23 May 2010 (check local PBS listings).  In New York, the film will air on Thirteen on Sunday, 16 May at 10:30 p.m. and repeat on Friday, 21 May at 9:30 p.m.

Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice tells the story of her journey to reluctant stardom and how cultural and racial constraints in the United States shaped her personal and artistic development. As the first African American performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), Lena Horne personified both the glamour of Hollywood and the reality of a lifetime spent battling racial and social injustice. In her rise beyond Hollywood’s odious racial stereotypes of maids, butlers, and Africans, she achieved true stardom on screen, and became a catalyst for change even beyond the glittery fringes of studio life in California.

Lena Horne: 1917 - 2010  

In addition to exclusive interviews with Ms. Horne and her daughter, the documentary includes interviews with Ossie Davis, Alan King, Liz Smith and others who worked with the performer.  Clips from signature movies like Stormy Weather and MGM films of the 1940's are interwoven with her early TV appearances to accentuate her life story.

For those without access to PBS television stations, or who reside outside the United States, American Masters Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice is currently screening in an online stream through Sunday, 23 May 2010 at www.pbs.org/americanmasters.

Headline image: Lena Horne in June 1995
Image Credit: AP

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