AKA Whitney Elizabeth Houston
Birthplace: Newark, NJ
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Accident - Drowning
Remains: Buried, Fairview Cemetery, Westfield, NJ
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Diva and cautionary tale
Whitney Houston was a fashion model before becoming a singer, and as a teen appeared on the cover of Glamour. Houston had seven consecutive #1 hit singles, and had 23 songs reach the Top Ten. Her 1993 cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" remains one of the best-selling songs of all time.
Houston's mother, noted R&B singer Cissy Houston, recorded "Midnight Train to Georgia" years before Gladys Knight & the Pips. Cissy's group the Sweet Inspirations also sang back-up on many Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley hits. Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick are Houston's cousins. Her parents divorced when Whitney was in kindergarten, but her father acted as her business manager through Houston's rise. He later sued to receive millions in past due compensation. He died in 2003, and his suit was dismissed in 2004.
For years there were perpetual whispers that Whitney Houston had an eating disorder or, more obviously, drug problems. She was in and out of rehab repeatedly, to overcome reported addictions to cocaine, marijuana, and assorted pills. In January 2000, Houston was arrested at an airport checkpoint after two plastic baggies of marijuana and three partially smoked joints were found in her luggage. She eventually reached a plea bargain, and despite missing the court's deadline to submit proof of passing a substance-abuse evaluation, her police record was wiped clean five months later. Once literally "movie star beautiful" in films like The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale, photos of the latter-day Houston were shocking -- in her rare public appearances, she was frequently referred as "frightfully emaciated," "skeletal and frail" "scarily skinny," etc.
In 2002, she told Diane Sawyer, "First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much for me to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight, okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack." In 2003, her husband, singer Bobby Brown, was charged with battery after an argument with Houston left her with facial injuries. In 2005, she was hospitalized with what was called food poisoning.
Houston and Brown separated in October 2006, and their Georgia mansion and numerous possessions were subsequently sold to settle long-overdue mortgage payments and other debts. Her death in 2012 was classified as an accidental drowning, with heart disease and chronic cocaine use as contributing factors.
Father: John Houston (entertainment executive, b. 13-Sep-1920, d. 2-Feb-2003 heart disease)
Mother: Cissy Houston ("Emily Drinkard", singer, b. 30-Sep-1933)
Brother: Michael Houston (musician)
Brother: Gary Garland (stepbrother)
Brother: John Russell Houston III (stepbrother)
Mother: Peggy Houston (stepmother, m. John Houston)
Sister: Alana Houston (stepsister, born to John and Peggy Houston)
Husband: Bobby Brown (musician, m. 18-Jul-1992, sep. Oct-2006, div. 24-Apr-2007, one child)
Daughter: Bobbi Kristina (b. 4-Mar-1993, with Brown)
Boyfriend: Ray-J (rapper, dated 2007)
United Negro College Fund
Drug Possession: Marijuana Keahole-Kona Int'l Airport, Hawaii (Jan-2000)
unknown detox facility Atlanta, checked in 15 March 2004, stayed five days
unknown detox facility checked in Mar-2005
Sierra Tucson checked in Apr-2006
unknown detox facility checked in May-2011
Endorsement of Coca Cola Diet Coke (1986)
Intervention organized by Clive Davis with Courtney Love
Autopsy 4-Apr-2012 (report released)
Grammy 1985, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for "Saving All My Love For You"
Grammy 1987, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"
Grammy 1993, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, for "I Will Always Love You"
Grammy 1993, Album of the Year, for The Bodyguard soundtrack
Grammy 1993, Record of the Year, for "I Will Always Love You"
Grammy 1999, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, for "It's Not Right But It's Okay"
Risk Factors: Cocaine, Smoking, Marijuana
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Sparkle (17-Aug-2012) · Emma
The Preacher's Wife (13-Dec-1996) · Julia Biggs
Waiting to Exhale (22-Dec-1995) · Savannah
The Bodyguard (25-Nov-1992) · Rachel Marron
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