The Associated Press is reporting that music recording superstar Whitney Houston has died. She was 48.
With Cissy Houston as a mother, Dionne Warwick as a cousin, and Aretha Franklin as a godmother, you can say Whitney Houston was fated to become a singer. Signed to Arista Records in 1983, Houston would sing duets on albums by Teddy Pendergrass and Jermaine Jackson while the best production teams and songwriters were being assembled for her debut album. That self-titled album was released in 1985, would feature four top ten singles–three of which made it to number one, and made Houston and international superstar.
Houston would put out two more, multiple-times Platinum albums–1987’s Whitney and 1990’s I’m Your Baby Tonight–before making the jump to the big screen. In 1992, Houston starred in a role seemingly custom made to ease her transition into the world of acting, that of a international recording artist whose life is threatened in The Bodyguard. Actually, the project had been in development since the mid-1970s as a vehicle for Diana Ross, with first Steve McQueen then Ryan O’Neal playing opposite in the role that would eventually be played by Kevin Costner.
Houston was nominated for a 1992 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for her role in the film, but this didn’t stop the film from becoming a worldwide smash, earning over $410 million at the international box office. The success of The Bodyguard would lead to two more roles in front of the screen for Houston, in 1995’s Waiting to Exhale and 1996’s The Preacher’s Wife and one behind the scenes as a producer on The Princess Diaries franchise.
The late 1990s marked the begin of a downward slope in Houston’s career. A contentious marriage to Bobby Brown, admitted drug use, and erratic behavior damaged her reputation and her popularity. She was fired from an appearance at the 2000 Academy Awards due to attitude problems and unprofessional behavior.
In recent years, Houston seemed poised for a comeback. her 2009 album, I Look to You, was released to good notice. She was set to return to the big screen this year in a remake of 1976’s Sparkle. In a now morbid case of art imitating live, the film is about the downfall of a sibling singing group when on sister break sout as the star and one sister falls prey to the evils of drugs. The film is listed on IMDB as being in post-production with a scheduled release date of August 10, 2012.