Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJanuary 12, 1965, New York City, New York, United States
SpouseRobert Nemiroff
FactHer uncle William Leo Hansberry (25 Feb 1894 - 3 Nov 1965) founded the African Studies program at Howard University. There is a lecture hall on campus named in his honor.

Lorraine Hansberry was born on May 19, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents, Carl Augustus Hansberry and Nannie Louise Hansberry, were both active in the Chicago African-American community. Her father was a successful real estate broker and her mother was a schoolteacher. Lorraine was the youngest of four children. She had two older brothers, Carl and William, and an older sister, Mamie.

Lorraine attended the all-black public school, DuSable High School. She was an excellent student and was active in extracurricular activities. She was a member of the debate team and the drama club. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Wisconsin on a scholarship. She was one of only a handful of African-American students on campus.

Lorraine Hansberry’s career began while she was still a student at the University of Wisconsin. She wrote for the student newspaper and was active in the civil rights movement. In 1951, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in writing. She worked as a journalist and as an assistant to the editor of Freedom, an African-American newspaper.

In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway. It was the first play written by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway. The play was a critical and commercial success. Lorraine Hansberry won several awards for her work, including the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play.

In 1964, Lorraine Hansberry’s second play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, opened on Broadway. The play was not as successful as her first play, but it did receive some positive reviews.

Lorraine Hansberry died of cancer on January 12, 1965, at the age of 34. She was survived by her husband, Robert Nemiroff, and their son, Danny.

Lorraine Hansberry was a groundbreaking playwright and an important voice in the civil rights movement. Her work helped to break down barriers for African-American artists and writers.

General Info

Full NameLorraine Hansberry
DiedJanuary 12, 1965, New York City, New York, United States
ProfessionPlaywright, Screenwriter, Theatre Director, Activist
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, The New School


SpouseRobert Nemiroff
ParentsCarl Augustus Hansberry, Nannie Louise Perry
SiblingsMamie Louise Hansberry, Carl Augustus Hansberry, Jr., Perry Holloway Hansberry


AwardsNew York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play
NominationsTony Award for Best Play, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Drama, Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play
MoviesA Raisin in the Sun

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1On time: Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.
2Never be afraid to sit a while and think.
3The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.


1Her play, "A Raisin in the Sun" at the TimeLine Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for a 2014 Joseph Jefferson Equity Award for Midsize Play Production.
2Her uncle William Leo Hansberry (25 Feb 1894 - 3 Nov 1965) founded the African Studies program at Howard University. There is a lecture hall on campus named in his honor.
3Grand-aunt of actress Taye Hansberry.
4In 1951, she and a delegation of women presented the governor of Mississippi with a petition with almost one million signatures in support of Willie McGee who was awaiting execution for an alleged rape. Their attempt was unsuccessful and McGee got executed.
5Her father Carl A. Hansberry, Sr. (30 Apr 1895 - 7 Mar 1946), won the 1940 US Supreme Court case "Hansberry vs. Lee" which involved the enforcement of racially restrictive housing covenants. The family's experience with segregation was an inspiration for the play, A Raisin in the Sun.
6Was nominated for Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as author of Best Play nominee "A Raisin in the Sun."
7Her play, "A Raisin in the Sun", was the first successful Broadway play ever written by a black female playwright.
8First cousin of director and writer Shauneille Perry.



A Raisin in the Sun2014Short play
A Raisin in the Sun2008TV Movie play
American Playhouse1989TV Series play - 1 episode
Die Mission1974TV Movie original idea
To Be Young, Gifted, and Black1972TV Movie writings
A Raisin in the Sun1961play / screenplay

Archive Footage

I'll Make Me a World1999TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself
Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement1978DocumentaryHerself
Lorraine Hansberry: The Black Experience in the Creation of Drama1975Documentary shortHerself


Nominated Awards

1962WGA Award (Screen)Writers Guild of America, USABest Written American DramaA Raisin in the Sun (1961)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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