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Lena Horne and Lennie Hayton Marriage Profile

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Although in later years, Lena Horne described her marriage to Lennie Hayton as "perfect", their marriage started out as a secret for several years and was without Lena's love in the beginning. Here is more information about the marriage of Lena Horne and Lennie Hayton.

Born:

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne: June 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York.

Lennie Hayton aka leonard George Hayton: February 13, 1908 in New York City, New York.

Died:

Lena: On May 9, 2010, at the age of 92, Lena Horne died at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

Lennie: Lennie Hayton died of a heart attack on April 24, 1971 in Palm Springs, California.

How Lena and Lennie Met:

Lennie and Lena met during the filming of Stormy Weather in 1943.

Wedding Date and Info:

Lennie and Lena were married in France on December 1947 but kept their marriage a secret for nearly three years. Their marriage was announced in 1950 in Life magazine. See photo
"Lena and Lennie were married by the lady mayor of the 16 arrondissement, who concluded the ceremony with a gracious speech on Franco-American friendship. Lena wore a new black dress from Balenciaga (she was married in black both times). Auren Kahn was best man. Lena and Lennie sailed home, secretly married, on the S.S. America."
Source: Gail Lumet Buckley, Lena Horne. The Hornes: An American Family. 2002. pg. 207.
"There were threats of violence, as well as obscene mail, and Mr. Hayton built a wall around their California house and bought a shotgun."
Source: Michiko Kakutani. "Lena Horne Aloofness Hid the Pain, Until Time Cooled Her Anger." The New York Times. 5/03/1981. pg. A.1.

Children:

Lena Horne had two children.
  • Gail Horne Jones aka Gail Lumet Buckley: A journalist and author, Gail was born in 1937. Her father is Louis Jones.
  • Teddy Jones aka Edwin Fletcher Jones: Born in 1940. Teddy died in September 1970 of kidney failure at the age of 30. His father is Louis Jones.

Occupations:

Lena: Singer, dancer, actress, author.

Lennie: Pianist, conductor, bandleader, arranger, composer, music director for MGM from 1940-1953.

Previous Marriages:

Lena was previously married to Louis Jordan Jones. Louis proposed three weeks after they met. They married in January 1937 when Lena was 19 and Louis was 28. Their wedding took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the Reverend of the St. Luke Baptist Church officiating. They separated in the fall of 1940 and their marriage ended in a bitter divorce on June 15, 1944.
Lena: "I literally ran away and married the first man I met."
Source: Gerald Clarke. "Stormy Weather on Broadway." Time.com. 5/25/1981.
Lena: "I was a lousy wife for my first husband."
Source: Hans J. Massaquoi. "Lena Horne on Her Loveless Childhood, Her Durable Beauty, Sex and the Older Woman, Her Life's Triple Tragedy." Ebony. 5/1980. pg. 42.

Lennie was previously married to Helen "Bubs" Gelderman, a former Ziegfeld dancer. They married in 1934. Their marriage ended in 1943 when Helen died of a heart attack.

Quotes About the Marriage of Lena Horne and Lennie Hayton:

Lena: "It was cold-blooded and deliberate. I married him [Lennie] because he could get me into places a black man couldn't. But I really learned to love him. He was beautiful, just so damned good. I had never met a man like him."
Source: Gerald Clarke. "Stormy Weather on Broadway." Time.com. 5/25/1981.

Lena: "At first, I became involved because I thought Lennie would be useful to my career. He could get me into places no black manager could. It was wrong of me, but as a black woman, I knew what I had against me. He was a nice man who wasn't thinking all these things, and because he was a nice man and because he was in my corner, I began to love him."
Source: Michiko Kakutani. "Lena Horne Aloofness Hid the Pain, Until Time Cooled Her Anger." The New York Times. 5/03/1981. pg. A.1.

Lena about her later bitterness toward Lennie: "Lennie had washed me. He didn't see me as black, and I realized that that was part of my feeling this whole sterility. I suddenly wanted him to see how different I was. I wanted him to feel I was black ... We became close again, but in a different sort of way. He had to go beyond this whole thing of being liberal and thinking we're all nice people ... He finally had to come to terms with the depths of my own prejudice."
Source: Michiko Kakutani. "Lena Horne Aloofness Hid the Pain, Until Time Cooled Her Anger." The New York Times. 5/03/1981. pg. A.1.

Lena: You must know that in the beginning I didn't marry Lennie because I was in love with him. I respected him because he knew a lot of music and I knew that I had to learn how to sing. I callously realized that I would have to associate with a White person to get the things I wanted professionally ... And I learned to love him very much. It turned out to be a perfect marriage."
Source: Hans J. Massaquoi. "Lena Horne on Her Loveless Childhood, Her Durable Beauty, Sex and the Older Woman, Her Life's Triple Tragedy." Ebony. 5/1980. pg. 44.

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