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Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy

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Also Known As: Gordy, Berry Gordy Jr. Died:
Born: November 28, 1929 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, USA Profession: executive

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The founder and president of one of America's most successful and influential record labels, Berry Gordy, Jr. created Motown Records, which from the 1960s through the late 1980s was one of the most important labels in American popular music. A boxer-turned-songwriter, Gordy realized the importance of ownership when it came to artistic endeavors like music, and in 1959, he launched Motown in suburban Detroit. With its roster of stellar artists that included such legends as Smokey Robinson, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross and the Supremes, Motown epitomized the ebullience of youth - both black and white - and the hopefulness of the future in song after hit song. Changing times reduced Motown's standing in the music field, but Gordy's vision, determination and leadership helped to make it one of the most enduring and important companies in the history of American music.

The founder and president of one of America's most successful and influential record labels, Berry Gordy, Jr. created Motown Records, which from the 1960s through the late 1980s was one of the most important labels in American popular music. A boxer-turned-songwriter, Gordy realized the importance of ownership when it came to artistic endeavors like music, and in 1959, he launched Motown in suburban Detroit. With its roster of stellar artists that included such legends as Smokey Robinson, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross and the Supremes, Motown epitomized the ebullience of youth - both black and white - and the hopefulness of the future in song after hit song. Changing times reduced Motown's standing in the music field, but Gordy's vision, determination and leadership helped to make it one of the most enduring and important companies in the history of American music.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Mahogany (1975) Director

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Stand and Be Counted (2000) Interviewee
4.
 It's Black Entertainment (2000) Interviewee
7.
 Stevie Wonder (1994)
10.
 Smokey Robinson (1990)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Dropped out of high school to pursue a career as a featherweight boxer
1948:
Fought 15 Golden Gloves matches between 1948 and 1951; won 12 matches
1953:
Fought in the Korean War; discharged from the U.S. Army in 1953
1953:
Opened the 3-D Record Mart in Detroit, MI
1957:
Co-wrote the single "Reet Petite," recorded by Jackie Wilson
1957:
Discovered singing group The Miracles, led by Smokey Robinson, at a talent show
1957:
Using $800 of his family's money, launched a record label, Tamla, which was soon followed by a second label called Motown
1960:
Motown landed three Top 5 hits on the pop and R&B charts ¿ Barrett Strong¿s "Money (That¿s What I Want"), the Miracles¿ "Shop Around" and the Marvelettes¿ "Please Mr. Postman," which was the label¿s first No. 1 single
1961:
Motown signed The Supremes
1961:
Members of the group The Elgins auditioned for Gordy; group later renamed The Tempations
1962:
The Tamla label released Stevie Wonder's first two albums <i>The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie</i> and <i>Tribute to Uncle Ray</i>
1967:
Gordy renamed The Supremes as Diana Ross & the Supremes
1968:
Motown signed The Jackson 5
1971:
First television producer credit, the NBC special "Diana" featuring Ross, the Jackson 5, and Bill Cosby
1972:
Moved the Motown label to Los Angeles, CA to branch out into the motion picture and television industry
1972:
Executive produced the feature film "Lady Sings the Blues," starring Ross as legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday
1975:
Directed Ross and Billy Dee Wiliams in the drama feature "Mahogany"
1978:
Produced the musical feature "The Wiz," directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Ross, Michael Jackson, and Nipsey Russell
1983:
Motown released Lionel Richie's No. 1 and Grammy Award-winning album "Can't Slow Down"
1985:
Executive produced the cult action feature "The Last Dragon"
1988:
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
1988:
Sold Motown Records to MCA for $61 million
1992:
Portrayed by "Mahogany" leading man Billy Dee Williams in the ABC biographical movie "The Jacksons: An American Dream"
1994:
Released his autobiography <i>To Be Loved</i>
1996:
Received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (October)
2009:
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame
2009:
Spoke lovingly of his onetime protégé Michael Jackson at Jackson's televised funeral
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Diana Ross. Singer.

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Gwendolyn Berry Fuqua. Died of cancer on November 8, 1999 at age 71.
sister:
Anna Gordy.
sister:
Esther Gordy.
brother:
Robert Gordy.
brother:
George Gordy.
daughter:
Rhonda Suzanne Silberstein. Singer, actor. Born in 1971; found out that Gordy was her father at age 13; cast on the NBC daytime drama "Another World".
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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