In lieu of flowers, please forward all donations to:
THE WHITNEY E. HOUSTON
Academy of Creative and Performing Arts
P. O. BOX 835
South Plainfield, New Jersey 07080
Whitney Houston died at the age of 48. Best known for hits “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and “So Emotional,” Houston is the only artist to consecutively chart seven No. 1 hits. During her illustrious career she earned 415 awards, making her the most-awarded female music artist of all time. Whitney paved the way for female vocalists and will endure as one of music’s most beloved voices.
Whitney Houston was born in what was then a middle-income neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, the third and youngest child of Army serviceman and entertainment executive John Russell Houston, Jr. (September 13, 1920 – February 2, 2003), and gospel singer Cissy Houston (née Emily Drinkard).She was of African American, Native American and Dutch descent. Her mother, along with cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick and godmother Aretha Franklin were all notable figures in the gospel, rhythm and blues, pop, and soul genres. Whitney was raised a Baptist, but was also exposed to the Pentecostal church. After the 1967 Newark riots, the family moved to a middle class area in East Orange, New Jersey when she was four.
At the age of 11, Whitney began to follow in her mother’s footsteps and started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. Her first solo performance in the church was “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”.
When Whitney was a teenager, she attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic girls high school in Caldwell, New Jersey, where she met her best friend Robyn Crawford, whom she described as the “sister she never had”. While Whitney was still in school, her mother continued to teach her how to sing. In addition to her mother, Franklin, and Warwick, Whitney was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, most of whom would have an impact on her as a singer and performer.
In 1978, at age 15, Whitney sang background vocals on Chaka Khan’s hit single “I’m Every Woman”, a song she would later turn into a larger hit for herself on her monster-selling The Bodyguard soundtrack album. She also sang back-up on albums by Lou Rawls and Jermaine Jackson.
In the early 1980s, Whitney started working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. She appeared in Seventeen and became one of the first women of color to grace the cover of the magazine. She was also featured in layouts in the pages of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Young Miss, and appeared in a Canada Dry soft drink TV commercial. Her striking looks and girl-next-door charm made her one of the most sought after teen models of that time. While modeling, she continued her burgeoning recording career by working with producers Michael Beinhorn, Bill Laswell and Martin Bisi on an album they were spearheading called One Down, which was credited to the group Material. For that project, Whitney contributed the ballad “Memories”, a cover of a song by Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called her contribution “one of the most gorgeous ballads you’ve ever heard”. She also appeared as a lead vocalist on one track on a Paul Jabara album, entitled Paul Jabara and Friends, released by Columbia Records in 1983.
Whitney had previously been offered several recording agencies (Michael Zager in 1980, and Elektra Records in 1981). In 1983, Gerry Griffith, an A&R representative from Arista Records saw her performing with her mother in a New York City nightclub and was impressed. He convinced Arista’s head Clive Davis to make time to see Whitney perform. Davis too was impressed and offered a worldwide recording contract which Whitney signed. Later that year, she made her national televised debut alongside Davis on The Merv Griffin Show.
Whitney signed with Arista in 1983 but did not begin work on her album immediately. The label wanted to make sure no other label signed the singer away. Davis wanted to ensure he had the right material and producers for Whitney’s debut album. Some producers had to pass on the project due to prior commitments. Whitney first recorded a duet with Teddy Pendergrass entitled “Hold Me” which appeared on his album, Love Language. The single was released in 1984 and gave Whitney her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit. It would also appear on her debut album in 1985.
Over the following 25 years, Whitney’s music career flourished with many chart-topping hit songs and setting numerous records in the recording industry.
During that time, Whitney had two tremendously standout performances, her singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991, and in 1992, her singing of “The Bodyguard” soundtrack’s lead single “I Will Always Love You”, written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton in 1974. Whitney’s versions won critical acclaim.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, Whitney was an unstoppable force in pop music. With sales estimated to have exceeded 200 million records, she is one of the biggest-selling female singers ever.
On February 11, 2012, Whitney went home to be with the Lord. She leaves to cherish her memory, her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, her mother Dr. Emily Cissy Houston, her brothers Gary (Pat) Houston and Michael (Donna) Houston; her cousin Dionne Warwick; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, friends, church family, and fans world-wide. She was pre-deceased by her father, the late John R. Houston.
Gloria Stuart July 4, 1910 – September 26, 2010, age 100, respiratory failure
Gloria Stuart was a popular actress in the 1930′s. While married to her first husband, Blair Gordon Newell from 1930-1934, the couple lived in Carmel, CA. She spent time creating art and hanging out with famous artists such as Ansel Adams. In 1934, she married screenwriter Arthur Sheekman, who she was married to until his death in 1978. When his health was deteriorating from Alzheimer’s disease in the mid-’70′s, she attempted a comeback. She had some television appearances and movie roles, but she got an academy award nod, becoming the oldest nominee for best supporting actress for her role as the elderly “Rose” in the 1997 mega hit Titanic. She received the Ralph Morgan award from the Screen Actor’s Guild in July of 2010, honoring her career.
It was more of a social commentary. Because the idea that it’s just a celebration of going out getting high, drunk,. I mean just a crazy thing, right? And Lady Gaga has a song like that, too, called, “Just Dance,”… And I do love Lady Gaga, I really do… And I was like, “This is what kids are listening to. Getting drunk and going out. I have to do something with this, ‘cause it‘s just so wrong…” I hate that this message is getting out there.Yet at the same time I get that this song is really catchy and really fun. So, I think that’s why I… was making fun of it. It’s very involving… You find yourself humming that song, yet the idea of it is just so… bad. I had to do something about it.
Being a mother of a teenage boy certainly influenced her in writing this song, but deeper than that, she grew up around alcoholism and has very strong distaste for the whole idea of glorifying drunkeness and getting high.
Among the other songs on her album is the single, “Big Clown Pants” (a parody of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance“) Julie says that she loves Lady Gaga and was inspired to write the song, much like her other great inspiration, Madonna, inspired her to write the mockumentary, Medusa: Dare To Be Truthful. Many of the parody songs from Medusa (a parody of “Vogue” et. al.) will be included in her new album, as they were never released on an album previously. Also included on her new album is an updated version of “‘Cause I’m a Blonde,” which was also never released. Fans of Julie Brown have been asking her to release these songs on an album for years, and now they’ll finally get everything they’ve hoped for and more with the release of Smell the Glamour.
In addition to the other songs on the album, Julie is re-releasing another favorite, “I Wanna Be Gay.” When she left the repressive attitude of Catholic school and went out into the world as an adult, she made friends in the gay community and was awed by the way they were just free with who and what they were.
The idea that being gay is everybody’s built that way for it, you know… the song is… expressing just how they feel without any restriction… Gay people… That’s how they really feel. They’re not conforming… So I think all these people in some ways are envious of that idea of just being who you are without conforming… The song’s sort of a celebration of that… Being gay is fantastic… Even though I’m not.
Miss Brown really hasn’t spent much time in the spotlight for many years, and GASfound the reason for her absence was motherhood. Julie is a divorced, single mother, raising her son alone. She told GAS that motherhood came first in her life and her career second. Julie has had small roles in film and television, and has spent time doing some writing. In fact, she was one of the writers for the incredibly popular Disney Channel’s hit show, Camp Rock, where she also played one of the camp’s counselors. While she’s not working on Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, she’s been busy with other projects, such as writing jokes for the show Melissa and Joey, starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, which airs on ABC Family on Tuesday nights. Right now, she’s directing the video for “Another Drunk Chick.” She also told GAS that she has two screenplays she’s finishing up — one comedy and one drama — that she plans to begin work on when her son leaves for college. She plans to direct and act more when she’s not responsible for his daily life anymore.
“He’s really almost 17, so really… two years left of high school to be around… and then I’m just gonna kick some A**… That’s my plan.”
Don’t forget to take names when you do, Miss Julie!
Wife, mother of three Michelle Murray country music’s next big name has opened for everyone from Jason Aldean to Vince Gill.
Currently the Murray’s are filming on location in Tennessee her new reality show properly titled “Long Road To Fame”, the show focuses on the struggles all mothers face balancing career and motherhood.
Gossip Ain’t Sweet, had the pleasure of sitting with the Michelle and family while on the road. Tom Murray gives us an inside look into the many projects Michelle is involved in, from philanthropy to her upcoming album.
“We are filming “My Finish Line” video next week at the INDY 500 , a song I wrote after meeting and being inspired by Sam Schmidt, former INDY car driver after a tragic accident was diagnosed a quadriplegic” , Michelle shares.
“The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation” honored Sam Schmidt with Visionary Leadership Award In 2008, Sam‘s story is truly inspiring , while his foundation is helping individuals overcome spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders by way of funding scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and technological advances.” Tom adds.
Michelle is truly honored to be the spokeswoman for The Sam Schmidt Foundation, and looks forward to cheering in Sam’s new driver , Townsend Bell #99 sponsored by Herbalife. , Bell who finished 4th last year in the INDY 500.