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Dionne Warwick

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: December 12, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: East Orange, New Jersey, USA Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Gifted with a soulful voice that wrapped around even the simplest melodies with pure conviction, there was never any doubt that Dionne Warwick was destined for musical greatness. Warwick was an international superstar by all standards, thanks to an inimitable number of major hits, such as "Don't Make Me Over" (1962), "Walk on By" (1964), and her unforgettable rendition of the 1966 song, "Alfie" (1967). One of her biggest hits was the classic "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" (1968), an upbeat pop gem considered one of the songstress' trademark songs. After dominating the adult contemporary and R&B charts in the 1960s, Warwick's career lagged in the next decade, due mostly to the ending of her longtime collaboration with famed composers, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, but she revived her career with the smoldering ballad, "I'll Never Love This Way Again" (1979). Throughout her illustrious career, she recorded more than 55 chart-topping singles, but her success extended far beyond the music industry. Warwick - who was famously the aunt of songstress Whitney Houston - also devoted most of her life to charitable causes, most notably to promoting AIDS research, and proving that she truly was one of her...

Gifted with a soulful voice that wrapped around even the simplest melodies with pure conviction, there was never any doubt that Dionne Warwick was destined for musical greatness. Warwick was an international superstar by all standards, thanks to an inimitable number of major hits, such as "Don't Make Me Over" (1962), "Walk on By" (1964), and her unforgettable rendition of the 1966 song, "Alfie" (1967). One of her biggest hits was the classic "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" (1968), an upbeat pop gem considered one of the songstress' trademark songs. After dominating the adult contemporary and R&B charts in the 1960s, Warwick's career lagged in the next decade, due mostly to the ending of her longtime collaboration with famed composers, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, but she revived her career with the smoldering ballad, "I'll Never Love This Way Again" (1979). Throughout her illustrious career, she recorded more than 55 chart-topping singles, but her success extended far beyond the music industry. Warwick - who was famously the aunt of songstress Whitney Houston - also devoted most of her life to charitable causes, most notably to promoting AIDS research, and proving that she truly was one of her era's most influential and successful artists.

Marie Dionne Warrick was born on Dec. 12, 1940 in East Orange, NJ to Mancel Warrick, a chef and butcher, and Lee Warrick, a gospel singer. A musical career was apparent early on for the future singer; her mother, aunts, and uncles were members of a renowned gospel group, the Drinkard Singers, that performed throughout New York City. Warwick began singing at age six at her grandfather's Baptist church in New Jersey, and at nine, she began taking piano lessons. In the mid-1950s, she formed a singing group called The Gospelaires, which performed at various local venues and sometimes as backup singers for other acts. The other members of the group were her younger sister, Dee Dee, and their aunt, Cissy Houston, who would become the mother of world renowned singer, Whitney Houston. After graduating from East Orange High School in 1959, Warwick accepted a scholarship to the University of Hartford's Hartt College of Music to pursue a career as a public school music teacher. During summer break in 1961, she rejoined The Gospelaires to sing backup for the doo-wop group The Drifters, and was discovered by the acclaimed songwriter, Burt Bacharach. He asked Warwick to record a demo of one of their compositions, and sent the demo to Scepter Records' executive Florence Greenberg. While Greenberg was not crazy about the song, she loved Warwick's voice and signed her on to a contract.

Warwick's debut album, Presenting Dionne Warwick (1962), was an instant hit. Thanks to the powerful single, "Don't Make Me Over," which landed on the No. 21 spot on Billboard Hot 100, Warwick's career took off and started a decades-long collaboration with Bacharach and his lyricist partner, Hal David. A misspelling on the single's label also prompted Warwick to use a new stage name, as she had previously worked using her last name. Warwick popularized a string of top 10 hits in the 1960s, including "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (1964), "Walk on By," "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" (1966), and "I Say a Little Prayer for You" (1968). Her 1967 version of the song, "Alfie," peaked at No. 1 on the R&B chart. Now a bona fide international star, she continued to rack up a number of crossover pop/R&B hits, such as her 1969 version of "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," which earned Warwick a 1971 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female. She came closest to the top of the charts with the single, "(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls" (1967), the theme song for the film adaptation of the 1966 novel by Jacqueline Susann. Another Grammy Award-winning single, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," was also a huge commercial success in the U.S. and abroad, in spite of the singer's alleged aversion to the song due to its simplistic meaning.

In the 1970s, Warwick's professional and personal life slowly began to unravel, beginning with the split of her longtime collaborators, Bacharach and David. Unable to fulfill her obligation to her new record label, Warner Bros., Warwick sued both songwriters and eventually won an out-of-court settlement. Except for the 1974 multi-genre smash, "Then Came You," which she recorded as a duet with the funk and soul group the Spinners, Warwick failed to produce any major hits. During this time, under the advice of an astrologer, she added an "e" to the end of her last name to bring her good fortune. Unfortunately, changing her name did little to help her stalled career, and she changed her name back to "Warwick" in 1975. Her 1966 marriage to actor William Elliot also deteriorated around this time; the two divorced in May 1967, remarried that same year in August, and finally divorced in 1975. In later years, Warwick reportedly dated actors Gianni Russo and Philip Michael Thomas, as well as former NFL player Timothy Brown.

After signing with Arista Records, Warwick conquered the charts again with the ballad "I'll Never Love This Way Again," produced by Barry Manilow, whom she reportedly hesitated collaborating with, due to his disco-friendly music. She also struck gold with the song, "Heartbreaker" (1982), in collaboration with Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees and one of Warwick's biggest international hits. According to Billboard magazine, Warwick ranked only second to Aretha Franklin as the most charted female singer, with more than 55 singles that landed on the Billboard 100 between 1962 and 1998. Warwick boosted her visibility by hosting the music countdown show, "Solid Gold" (syndicated, 1980-88), for five episodes in 1982. In 1985, she lent her voice to the Grammy Award-winning charity song, "We Are the World," along with some of the country's top vocalists of the time, including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Ray Charles. That same year, she also released another benefit single, "That's What Friends Are For," with Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder. Since then, Warwick devoted much of her time to charitable activities, including hosting a number of fundraising benefits to raise awareness for AIDS research, and a host of other health issues.

While Warwick continued to record albums in the next decades, including a jazz Christmas album in 2004 and a duets album, Friends and Me (2006), she also made some dubious career and personal choices, specifically hosting the television infomercials for the Psychic Friends Network. While Warwick reportedly earned more than $3 million per year for being one of the network's celebrity spokespersons, her public image suffered immensely, making her the butt of many a late night comic's jokes. In May 2002, she was arrested at Miami International Airport for possession of marijuana hidden inside a lipstick container. The misdemeanor charges were later dropped after the singer agreed to do an anti-drug public service announcement. In 2008, she was the star performer of the televised British special, "Divas II" (iTV1), alongside contemporary singers Rihanna, Leona Lewis and Pink. In 2011, Warwick made headlines once again as one of the contestants on the reality series "Celebrity Apprentice," (NBC, 2004- ), where she faced off against other stars such as rocker Meatloaf and former teen idol David Cassidy to win money for their respective charities.Unfortunately for the songstress, she came off in a less than flattering light, often bossing around and intimidating her fellow contestants. Warwick was thrust into the spotlight again the following year when her cousin, Whitney Houston, died suddenly during Grammy weekend on Feb. 11, 2012. Warwick, who was one of the last people to talk to Houston that afternoon on the phone, flew to New Jersey to be with the extended family, including Whitney's mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Secret Agent 00 - Soul (1991) Cameo Appearance
2.
 Rent-A-Cop (1988) Beth
5.
 Slaves (1969) Cassy
6.
 R&B 40: A Soul Spectacular (2002) Co-Host
7.
 Gladys Knight: A Knight's Tale (2002) Interviewee
8.
 Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over (2001) Interviewee
10.
 Burt Bacharach (2001) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Formed singing group The Gospelaires with younger sister Dee Dee and their aunt Cissy Houston, mother of singer Whitney Houston
1961:
During summer break from college, rejoined The Gospelaires to sing backup for doo-wop group The Drifters; discovered by songwriter Burt Bacharach
1962:
Released solo debut <i>Presenting Dionne Warwick</i>; included hit single "Don't Make Me Over"
1964:
Solidified international music career with "Walk On By," composed by Burt Bacharach
1967:
Earned first certified gold album with <i>Here Where There Is Love</i>, featuring theme song to "Alfie"
1967:
Recorded "I Say a Little Prayer," one of her signature collaborations with songwriters Bacharach and Hal David
1968:
Accomplished huge commercial success worldwide with "Do You Know the Way to San Jose"
1969:
Feature acting debut, drama feature "Slaves"
1974:
Released first U.S. No. 1 single "Then Came You"
1979:
Renewed popularity with Barry Manilow produced ballad "I'll Never Love This Way Again"
1980:
Hosted music countdown show "Solid Gold" (Syndicated)
1985:
Joined all-star lineup for successful charity single "We Are the World"
1985:
Recorded AmFAR benefit single "That's What Friends Are For" with Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder
1990:
Produced and hosted musical variety show "Dionne and Friends"
1991:
Hosted infomercials for Psychic Friends Network alongside psychic Linda Georgian
2004:
Released first holiday album <i>My Favorite Time of the Year</i>
2011:
Appeared on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice"; competed for charity The Hunger Project
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Founded the Warwick Foundation's Fund (for AIDS education and Pediatric AIDS care)

Family close complete family listing

son:
David Eliott.
son:
Damon Eliott.

Contributions

MarkusFlavius ( 2010-05-13 )

Source: not available

Dionne Warwick is an African-American singer and winner of numerous awards for music. The early muse of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, she has been a hitmaker over 5 decades and worked with many great record producers. She appeared in a few movies, notably "Slaves" with Stephen Boyd and Ossie Davis, and "Rent A Cop" with Liza Minnelli and Burt Reynolds. Ms. Warwick has done considerable television work over her long career, including music specials and acting parts.

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