Saturday March 12, 2016
Lena Horne by Arthur Laurents
“The core stars [at Gene Kelly's late 1940s parties] were Peter Lawford, Louis Jourdan, and Lena Horne. Lena was quiet, not wholly there; usually just sitting, sipping brandy near the piano where her husband, Lennie Hayton, doodled at the keyboard ... Although he was a musical director at Metro, his whole focus, professional and personal, was on Lena. He radically changed her career as a singer. It happened overnight, not in picturesóshe was the wrong color for picturesóbut at a downtown club called Slapsie Maxie on the night it opened. ...
”The voice deeper, the lyrics almost bitten and spat out, the eyes glittering, this was a new Lena. This Lena was angry sex. I gave the credit to Lennie because that was all I knew then ... [but] credit for turning the lady into a tiger doesn't matter; the angry sexuality was always there, uniquely hers, just growling while it waited to be let out of her cage.
“In the early Sixties, when we were so close, I asked her what was in her head when she came out on the elegant floor of the Waldorf in New York or the Fairmount in San Francisco. She bared her teeth in the smile those expensive audiences waited for. ”Fuck you,“ she said. ”That's what I think when I look at them. Fuck all of you.“