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The Living Doll Award

The Doll League established its Living Doll Award in 1962 to celebrate individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their fields of endeavor.  It has been presented just 12 times over the past five decades. 


The first four recipients of the the Living Doll Award were civil rights activist and social critic Dick Gregory in 1962, Doll League Founder Ethel Sissle in 1964, Singer/actor Adam Wade in 1966 and jazz vocalist Carmen McRae in 1968.

Mayor Cory Booker Honored for Commitment to Education

Newark Mayor Cory Booker was honored for his “deep and abiding commitment to the education of young people, regardless of their family income, and his efforts to make the issue of quality public education a national, not just local, discussion.”  Booker followed up his Living Doll Award with a successful run for the U.S. Senate. President Tijuana Johnson presented the award at the 2012 benefit gala.

Dolls Recognize Alma Rangel for Community Service

Founding Member and Doll Emeritus Alma Rangel was honored with the Living Doll Award in 2008 at the league's 50th anniversary gala.  Mrs. Rangel was recognized for her outstanding service to the community and for her decades service to The Doll League, from the charitable organization's founding to its present day activities.  League President Dale Booker  presented the award.  (Photo: Lionel Phillips/Phillips Media)

Journalist Gil Noble is the 2000 Honoree

Journalist Gil Noble, a long-time chronicler of the African-American experience as producer and host of the WABC-TV public affairs program "Like It Is" added The Living Doll Award to his many honors at the League's 2000 benefit gala.  Noble's probing and perceptive examination of significant issues in the African-American community and beyond for years made "Like It Is" required viewing in the New York metropolitan area.  Doll League President Lorraine Ewing Matthews presents the award as actor Ossie Davis looks on.

"Miss Rhythm" Ruth Brown is a Living Doll

New York City's Supper Club Supper Club was the setting for The Doll League's 1998 celebration of entertainer Ruth Brown as the organization's newest Living Doll. The honor is bestowed on individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their fields of endeavor. Brown's strong advocacy for the contractual and royalty rights of musical artists, was instrumental in the establishment of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1988.  She  was honored with a 1989  Best Actress Tony Award for her role in the Broadway musical "Black and Blue." and a Grammy Award for her album of songs from the musical.

Harvey Delaney Accepts Living Doll Awards for the Delaney Sisters

Sisters Sarah "Sadie" L. Delany and Dr. Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany,  who,  with Amy Hill Hearth, co-wrote  the 1993 memoir "Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years,"  are the 1996 recipients of the Doll League's Living Doll Award.  Sarah Delaney was the first black home economics teacher in a New York City high school.  Her sister, Dr. Delany, who became the second black woman to work as a dentist in New York, died in 1994 at 104 years of age.  The sisters were revered in their community of Harlem as professionals and role models.

Jazz Superstar Nancy Wilson Joins List of Living Dolls

Grammy Award-winning song stylist Nancy Wilson received the coveted designation "Living Doll" in 1990 before hundreds of admirers at the Plaza Hotel.  With an international career as a jazz superstar dating back to the 1950s and an Emmy Award-winning NBC series, Wilson has long been recognized as a giant of the entertainment industry.  In addition to being a major musical artist, Wilson also was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.   Doll League President Carole Brantley presented the award to Nancy Wilson.

Dreamgirl Sheryl Lee Ralph is a Living Doll

Sheryl Lee Ralph topped off a year that saw her celebrated for her starring role in Broadway's Tony-nominated Dreamgirls with her 1982 designation as The Doll League's "Living Doll."  Ralph was recognized by the league for her groundbreaking performance and for her activism around AIDS. 

Singer, Actress Diana Ross Honored by The Doll League

More than 600 people turned out to see superstar Diana Ross take home the crystal trophy signifying her designation as a "Living Doll" at The Doll League's 1978 gala.  The award is bestowed upon individuals who are outstanding in their fields.  After a successful career as lead singer with The Supremes, Ross went on to a major career as a solo artist and actress, with leading roles in the films Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany and The Wiz.  Dolls Arlene Howard and Carole Brantley look on.

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