(1910-05-14)May 14, 1910, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
April 25, 1986(1986-04-25) (aged 75), New York, New York, United States
Urylee Leonardos (May 14, 1910 - April 25, 1986) was an American vocalist and actress who appeared frequently on Broadway. She has the distinction of being the first black performer to understudy and go on for a white performer in a Broadway production. She filled in for Yma Sumac in the role of Princess Najla in the 1951 production of Flahooley.
2 Selected Credits
2.2 Motion Pictures,
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Leonardos appeared in Mike Todd's Gay New Orleans revue at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City. Later that year, she had a small role on Broadway in The Male Animal.
Her big break came in 1943, when she was cast in the musical Carmen Jones. Initially cast in a small role, Leonardo took over the lead in the 1946 revival of the production.
Leonardos filled in for Yma Sumac as Princess Najla in the 1951 production, Flahooley. It was the first time that a black performer stepped into a role played by a white person on Broadway. She also played the female lead in the 1953 revival of Porgy and Bess.
Porgy and Bess
Revival. Alternated role with Leontyne Price
Revival of the 1920s musical, but set in Northern Italy and New York City in 1945
Switchboard Operator, Singer, Najla (understudy)
Set My People Free
Staged by Martin Ritt
Revival of 1943 production
Card Player, Ensemble
No Sad Songs for Me
Flora, the Maid