Looking Back: Whitney Houston 1963-2012
On February 11, 2012 R&B diva Whitney Houston passed away suddenly, leaving family, friends and fans to mourn her exceptional life. Celebrities and singers considered her a musical mentor and found inspiration in her voice and career, her sweeping love ballads and dance hits touched the lives of fans across the globe. Kidzworld looks back over the life and times of Whitney Houston.
Born August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born to a musical momma and already had fame in the family. Her mother Cissy was a gospel singer and cousin to soul singer Dionne Warwick. That’s not all, Whitney’s godmother was a living legend in soul music, Aretha Franklin.
Whitney began singing in her church choir and by the age of 15 was already doing backing vocals for other artists in songs like disco diva Chaka Khan’s hit “I’m Every Woman”. Singing wasn’t her only talent, she was beautiful to boot and modeled early in her career. In fact, she was one of the first African American models to land the cover of Seventeen magazine in 1981!
Despite gracing the pages of fashion mags, it was Whitney’s golden pipes that bought her ticket to stardom. After being spotted performing with her group Material in NYC, she was soon signed by cutting edge record exec Clive Davis and Arista Records. Whitney started creating hit after hit like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “The Greatest Love of All”. She won Best Pop Vocalist in 1988 at the Grammy Awards, and that was just the beginning of the recognition she would received for her unparalleled vocal talents.
Movies and Music
No one could deny Whitney’s talent on stage, but in the early ‘90’s she knew it was time to move from the radio to silver screen! In 1992 the movie The Bodyguard, starring Whitney and Kevin Costner, dominated both the radio airwaves and the box office. The Bodyguard was all about a pop star with an attitude and bodyguard Frank Farmer finds himself falling in love with the difficult diva as he tries to keep her safe from a dangerous stalker. The film featured her unforgettable, heart wrenching cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”
The Bodyguard pushed her fame to all-new heights, in 1993 she won 11 Billboard Music Awards, and 7 American Music Awards the following year! In 1996 Whitney starred in the feel-good gospel flick The Preacher’s Wife opposite leading man Denzel Washington, and brought the musical magic to the film Waiting to Exhale.
She was a mega star on the rise, but that doesn’t mean that Whitney’s romantic life took a back seat. She married fellow pop star and music industry bad boy Bobby Brown in 1992, and the next year the two had daughter Bobbi Kristina. Unfortunately Whitney and Bobby had developed problems with drugs, and despite her best efforts Whitney’s battle over the years was a difficult one.
Whitney died the night before The 54th Annual Grammy Awards and was honored by the establishment with a prayer from host L.L. Cool J and a tribute by Jennifer Hudson, who sang her iconic song from The Bodyguard “I Will Always Love You.” Whitney passed away before her newest film Sparkle, starring Jordin Sparks, was set to be released. She was laid to rest next to her father in a cemetery in New Jersey.
- Her debut album Whitney Houston had seven number one hits on the U.S. charts (more than The Beatles!)
- Her nickname was “Nippy”
- She sung the National Anthem at the Superbowl in 1991
- Was on the cover of Glamour and Seventeen magazines before becoming famous
- Holds the record for winning the most American Music Awards, 26 total
- Has an arts academy named after her in East Orange, New Jersey
- "I Will Always Love You" is the best selling single by a female artist of all time!
Have Your Say
Do you like Whitney Houston’s music? Let us know in the comments section below!