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Helen Dowdy was a Broadway actress and singer who played the role of Queenie in the 1946 revival of Kern & Hammerstein's Show Boat (a role originally played by Tess Gardella in 1927). She created the roles of Lily and the Strawberry Woman in George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess — roles she played for nearly twenty years in several productions. In the 1951 so-called "complete" recording of the opera, she sang both roles as well as that of Maria.
Dowdy also appeared on television on the 17 October 1957 episode of Hallmark Hall of Fame as the Stout Angel in a television production of Marc Connelly's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Green Pastures.