“Oh my God!” sobbed Halle Berry. Clutching her Oscar and shaking uncontrollably, the star fought to regain her composure. The first African American to win an Academy Award for best actress, in 2002, Berry was overwhelmed. She began her acceptance speech with “This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge.” In 1954 Dandridge was the first African American to be nominated for an Oscar in a leading role. But like many pioneers, Dandridge didn’t ultimately benefit from the doors she opened. When she was found dead in her Los Angeles apartment, on September 8, 1965, she had $2.14 in her bank account. She was painfully aware that her career could have been very different if she had been white. Dandridge once wrote, “If I were Betty Grable, I could capture the world.”