Children from first marriage to Louis Jones: Gail Jones (b. 1938), aka Gail Lumet Buckley, and Terry Jones (b. 1939).
According to her autobiography, she photographed so light in her initial screen tests that MGM was afraid people would mistake her for a white woman, so they had makeup legend Max Factor create a make-up line for her called "Dark Egyptian", so she could appear as a "Negro" onscreen. Ironically, Hedy Lamarr used this same makeup in White Cargo (1942) when she played a half-caste African native.
Sought the lead role in the controversial film Pinky (1949), about a black girl who passes for white. 20th Century-Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck decided to take the safe road and choose a white star who had box-office appeal and picked Jeanne Crain. "Pinky," which was a slang term for a light-skinned black, won Crain her only Oscar nomination.
She was branded a "Communist sympathizer" by many right-wing conservatives because of her association with Paul Robeson and her progressive political beliefs (which led her to be blacklisted in the 1950s).
While at MGM, her appearances in movies were shot so that they could be cut easily from the film. This was because MGM feared audiences of the day--but especially in the South--would not accept a beautiful black woman in romantic, non-menial roles. Many in the business believed that this was the main reason she lost out on playing the mulatto "Julie" in MGM's remake of Show Boat (1951). Ironically, the role was played by one of Lena's close off-screen friends, Ava Gardner, who practiced for it by singing to Horne's recordings of the songs, and Lena had already appeared in the "Show Boat" segment of Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), in which she appeared as "Julie" singing "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" (which was, as all her MGM appearances, shot in such a way that it could be easily edited out of the film). Another irony is that she had been invited by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II themselves to play "Julie" in the 1946 Broadway revival of "Show Boat", but had had to refuse because MGM would not release her from her contract.
Received a honorary doctorate from Howard University in 1980.
Received a Special Tony Award in 1982 for "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music." She had previously been nominated for Broadway's 1958 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for "Jamaica."
She is the mother of journalist and author Gail Lumet Buckley, whose articles have appeared in Vogue Magazine (USA) and The Los Angeles Times (CA, USA); Buckley has researched and authored two books "The Hornes: An American Family" (New American Library, 1986) and "American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm" (Random House, 2001).
Received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1989.
Made her last public appearance in 1999.
Leslie Uggams is scheduled to portray her in a musical production "Stormy Weather" at the Pasadena Playhouse (California) starting January 2009.
She was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6282 Hollywood Boulevard and for Motion Pictures at 6250 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.