http://www.facebook.com/WhitneyHouston With the movie SPARKLE(to be released this SPRING 2012) on the “can”, the immortal Artist Whitney HOUSTON dies. Do you BELIEVE that?
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George Palaganas Pop Vocal Legend Whitney Houston Found Dead
By Billy Johnson, Jr. | Stop The Presses! – 2 hours 37 minutes ago
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Whitney Houston WireImage/Tibrina HobsonToo many of us—myself included—are guilty of making insensitive jokes about the demise of Whitney Houston, her frail frame, loss of one of pop’s purest voices, and battle with drugs.
But none of us are laughing now.
On Saturday, Houston’s publicist confirmed to the Associated Press that the award-winning “I Will Always Love You” singer died. She was 48. The timing of her death, the eve of the Grammys, the biggest music event of the year, makes the horrible news even more tragic. According to CNN, Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. PT at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The Beverly Hilton is the venue for the music industry’s most prestigious pre-Grammy party hosted by veteran executive Clive Davis, who discovered Houston.
In an industry flooded with novelty artists, who disappear after scoring one hit, Houston’s longevity was unquestioned when she released her debut single, the ballad “You Give Good Love” in February 1985. The song’s soothing opening ad-libs displayed her soulful roots while also celebrating her pop sensibilities.
Houston’s sound was distinct, and clearly separated her from the funk-laden stylings of the era’s other female R&B singers. Plus, she was a model who appeared in “Glamour” and “Cosmopolitan” magazines.
Houston’s sound made sense when considering her pedigree. She was the perfect melding of the styles of her mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston; cousin, 1960s pop singer Dionne Warwick; and godmother, queen of soul Aretha Franklin.
Houston’s self-titled debut album topped the charts and was certified diamond. Her career was impenetrable throughout the release of several follow up albums, 1987′s “Whitney,” 1990′s “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” and 1992′s “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.
Houston’s fans were concerned when she married R&B bad boy Bobby Brown in 1992, but they professed their happiness.
By the late 1990s, Houston’s drug problems began to become tabloid fodder. In a 2002 interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Houston admitted to her struggles, but maintained that she was doing fine.
The public received its first real glimpse of Houston behind-the-scenes in 2004 when she appeared on Brown’s reality series “Being Bobby Brown.” The bad publicity move depicted Houston as profane, combative, and delusional, seemingly supporting the behavior of someone on drugs.
Among the saddest indications of Houston’s fall was her 2009 comeback album, “I Look To You.” While the album received positive reviews, her live performances signaled that the damage to her voice was beyond repair.
Concertgoers stormed out of her 2010 “Nothing But Love World Tour” angry, complaining that Houston was not fit to sing live, and they demanded that their ticket costs be refunded.
On stage, Houston made light of her vocal struggles, and even seemed to be confident when doing so.
But the public scrutiny intensified, and was followed by additional stints in rehab.
While the cause of death has not yet been revealed, one can only wonder whether it was drug-related.
Anyone who remembers Houston’s early work and the impact it had on music can only be saddened by her death.
I extend condolences to her family and friends, especially her daughter, Bobbi Kristina.
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George Palaganas ‘Sparkle’ producer: Whitney Houston is ‘brilliant’ in her final screen performance
by Dave Karger
Filed under: Movies and tagged: Summer Movies
Whitney Houston may be gone, but her final screen performance still remains to be seen: She recently wrapped Sparkle, a musical drama, opposite American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.
The film is about a family of musicians impacted by drugs.
“I’m in total shock,” producer Howard Rosenman tells EW.com. “I just saw the rough cut last night. She is unbelievably brilliant in it. I am beside myself. I am absolutely devastated. She was one of the most talented entertainers who ever lived.”
Sparkle, which is a remake of the 1976 Irene Cara film, is scheduled for release in August.
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George Palaganas Whitney Houston’s posthumous turn: As star of ‘Sparkle’
February 11, 2012 | 6:41 pm
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Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks
The death of Whitney Houston at the age of 48 is a deep loss for the music world. But it also has reverberations in another artistic realm–the movies.
Houston had recently finished shooting “Sparkle,” the remake of the 1976 Irene Cara film that, eerily, focuses on talented young musicians whose lives are ruined by addiction. Houston also served as an executive producer on the movie, acquiring rights to the original film more than a decade ago. The movie, shot this past fall and currently in post-production, is scheduled to be released in August. No word yet on any release-date changes; we’re awaiting word from a producer.
[Update, 7:41 pm, Saturday: A producer on the film said Saturday night he had actually just seen a rough cut. "I'm in total shock," executive producer Howard Rosenman told The Times. "I have no idea about the impact on 'Sparkle,' which I saw last night. [Houston] was unbelievably fantastic in it.” Meanwhile, a spokesman for the studio, Sony Pictures, said the movie remains set for an Aug. 17 release.]
The original “Sparkle” told the story of the Williams sisters, a trio of 1950s-era Harlem singers whose stories were loosely inspired by the Supremes. Headed by Lonette McKee’s Sister, the group also features Sister’s sister Sparkle (Cara), Dolores (Dawn Smith) and several friends. As they begin to find success, though, Sister’s life spirals out of control, with drug addiction eventually leading to her death.
PHOTOS: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012
The new version, directed by Salim Akil (“Jumping the Broom,” television series “The Game”), is believed to follow a similar story line, with Jordin Sparks as the titular character who must find a way to achieve stardom despite the drama surrounding her family. Houston plays Emma, the sisters’ less-than-encouraging mother. (The original character, named Effie in the 1976 film, was incarnated by Mary Alice.)
Though the film has a heavy music component, it is not known how much Houston’s character sings on screen, if at all. Derek Luke and Cee Lo Green co-star opposite Houston, with Carmen Ejogo as Sister Williams.
In another surreal turn, Houston had said she originally wanted Aaliyah for the title role but was forced to reconfigure the project when the R&B singer was killed in a plane crash in August 2001.
Houston’s publicist confirmed on Saturday that the star had died in Los Angeles, just a day before the Grammy Awards honoring the music world’s finest. No cause of death has been given.
The “Sparkle” remake was supposed to serve as an auspicious return to the big screen for Houston, who gained fame as a silver-screen actress playing a pop star in 1992′s “The Bodyguard” and then three years later as TV producer Savannah Jackson in the adaptation of the bestseller “Waiting to Exhale” but hadn’t been in a movie since “The Preacher’s Wife” sixteen years ago.
Houston also had a strong influence on numerous film soundtracks, producing and recording on “Exhale” and a host of other films. (A number of those songs could get some air time at the Grammy Awards on Sunday.) Houston also had an important if less high-profile role in the movies: she served as a producer on “The Princess Diaries” franchise.
Pop & Hiss
The L.A. Times music blog
Whitney Houston: 6 performances from the legendary singer [Video]
February 11, 2012 | 9:21 pm
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Whitney Houston, who died Saturday in Beverly Hills, burst on the scene with her debut album in February 1985.
There have been turbulent times in the last decade or so, but Houston’s status as one of the top-selling female singers ever is not questioned.
As of 2010, Houston had won the most awards of any female artist ever–415–according to Guinness World Records, including two Emmys, six Grammys, 30 Billboard Music Awards and 22 American Music Awards.
PHOTOS: Whitney Houston | 1963-2012
Here are a few of the performances from the artist often nicknamed “The Voice.”
“I Will Always Love You” (1994)
Houston brought down the house at the 1994 Grammys with her cover of “I Will Always Love You.” The hit song, made popular by the film “The Bodyguard,” also helped land her three Grammys that same year. She won for best female pop vocal performance for the song, as well as album and record of the year for the film’s soundtrack.
“Star-Spangled Banner” (1991)
One of the most popular versions ever sang, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by Houston at Super Bowl XXV in 1991. The single was so touted that it was later released as a single and became the only version of the song to be certified platinum.
“Didn’t We Almost Have It All” (1988)
In 1988, stars like Houston and Tracy Chapman traveled to London to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday with a tribute. With Mandela still in prison, the highly political concert was also known as Freedomfest. Before singing “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” Houston told a reporter, “I think [this day] is important to me and a whole world of people. I think it makes them aware that one courageous individual has been in prison for so long and taken away from his family, the closeness of his family, you know, physically.”
“That’s What Friends Are For” (1987)
Houston took the stage with three fellow giants of popular music, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and her cousin Dionne Warwick, at the 1987 Soul Train Music Awards. Together the makeshift group belted out Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager’s “That’s What Friends Are For” for the crowd.
“Saving All My Love” (1985)
One of Houston’s earliest television performances was on David Letterman’s show “Late Night,” and she sang one of her biggest early hits from her debut album. The songstress had been on “The Merv Griffin Show,” but this performance helped spread her early fame.
“I’m Every Woman” (1994 performance)
This hit remake of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” featured a pregnant Houston on the music video, and became something of a female anthem worldwide, as this performance in Brazil illustrates. The song, written by songwriting duo Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, was another hit from “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.
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‘Sparkle’ to release in August, Grammy producer speaks on tribute
Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of this year’s Grammy Awards, tells CNN that the ceremony will pay respects to Whitney Houston, and the Vice President for the Recording Academy, Barb Dehgan, confirms that Jennifer Hudson will take part.
“Whitney was a multi-Grammy winner, she appeared on the show a number of times. We’re very saddened, and we don’t want to rush into anything that wouldn’t be respectful,” Ehrlich said.
“I’ve asked Jennifer Hudson to come, and we’re really at this moment talking about what she’s going to do,” he continued. “It’s going to be something respectful. It’s not going to be a full-blown tribute, that’s too early and it’s too fresh at this moment. It’s going to be something respectful to Whitney’s memory.”
The script has been tweaked “to make sure the tone is right,” he added. “Our show celebrates music of the past year, and is known not only just for the past year [in music] but the past years of American popular music. There are some shifts that we wanted to make script-wise that probably make it a little more appropriate.”
Even with those changes, “It’s still going to be a great music show. Knowing Whitney like I did, she was a great artist and a great performer, and she knew the importance of thrilling an audience, and that’s what we plan to do.”
Sadly, Whitney Houston will never get to see her latest film, “Sparkle,” thrill moviegoers when it makes it to the big screen.
The 48-year-old entertainer had signed on to play opposite Jordin Sparks in the remake of the 1976 film, and recently wrapped the project. The story is loosely based on The Supremes, and follows three sisters who have to face the difficulties that come along with fame as their singing careers take off.
Sparks portrays the titular character, Sparkle, one of the three Williams sisters, and Houston played their mother, Emma.
As of now, the studio plans to release “Sparkle” in August of this year.
A spokesman for Sony Pictures tells CNN in a statement, “Like all those who knew and loved her, we are shocked and saddened and the world has lost an incomparable talent. Right now our thoughts are with her daughter, her family and her friends.”
The film’s producer, Bishop T.D. Jakes, asked in a statement for the “world to join us in lifting up Whitney’s family in prayer and ask God for their strength and comfort during this devastatingly difficult time.”
“At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation,” the statement said. “She has left behind a musical and film legacy that will endure…. she will be sorely missed by us all.”
Elsewhere, Fox’s hit “Glee” will also pay tribute to Houston this week with their first ever Whitney Houston rendition. Star Amber Riley will perform “I Will Always Love You” as part of the program’s Valentine’s Day episode, Riley’s co-star Matthew Morrison said.
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