Whitney Houston was an American renowned singer, actress, and producer who was regarded as the best selling music artist of all time during her lifetime. Graced with a golden voice, the passionate artiste was dubbed the female act of all time in 2009 by Guinness World Record. She broke one of the greatest records ever when her second studio album which she had named after herself, Whitney (1987), became the first album by a woman to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Houston was an inspiration to so many African American women who followed in her footstep. As an actress, Whitney Houston featured as the lead actress, Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard (1992); a movie in which she performed the lead single from its original soundtrack, I Will Always Love You. The single won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1994. It also made Houston the first act to sell more than a million copies of an album within a week.
The singer was also the producer of the film The Princess Diaries (2001) as well as acting in others movie like Waiting to Exhale (1995), Sparkle (2012), The Preacher’s Wife (1996), etc.
Whitney Houston’s Biography
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, the only daughter of John Russell Houston, Jr. and Emily “Cissy” (Drinkard) Houston, both of whom are into entertainment; her father was an Army serviceman and entertainment executive, and her mother is a gospel singer.
As a child, Houston learned how to play the piano and was already performing solo at age 11, in the junior gospel choir of her church, New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. She graduated from Mount Saint Dominic Academy, Caldwell; a Catholic all-girls’ high school in New Jersey in 1981 and all the while, she never deviated from music. Her mother continued to tutor her on how to sing and her exposure to the music of Gladys Knight, Roberta Flack, and Chaka Khan influenced her journey as an artist.
By the time she turned 14, Whitney Houston was singing backups and background vocals on stage and spent some of her teenage years touring nightclubs with her mother. After she finished high school, Houston started working as a teen fashion model when a photographer discovered her photogenic appeals at Carnegie Hall where she was singing with her mother. While she was gracing the front pages of magazines and appearing on TV commercials back in 1980s, young Houston continued to work for record producers. She was signed to Arista Records (currently known as Sony Records) but didn’t start on her album right away. She recorded a duet, Hold Me with popular singer Teddy Pendergrass and it became the beginning of Houston’s success in the music industry as the single became the Top 5 R&B hit in 1984.
The massive success was tailed by the release of her debut album, Whitney Houston, released in 1985. The album contained several songs and the final single, Greatest Love of All which was originally recorded by George Benson in 1977 became the greatest hit, reaching No. 1 on the chart.
A year after its release, Whitney Houston the album became an international success and got certified 13× platinum (diamond) in the US alone, and also sold 30 million copies around the globe. The mezzo-soprano singer’s subsequent albums were an endless train of successes crowned with a total of 415 career awards as of 2010.
Besides Micheal Jackson, Houston has broken every record imaginable. Dubbed The Voice for her unmatched vocal talent, Houston holds the record for most AMAs ever won in a single year with 8 wins in 1994; made history with 11 Billboard Music Awards at its 4th ceremony in 1993; and gathered five awards at the 6th World Music Awards in 1994.
Whitney Houston’s other awards and achievements include a BET Lifetime Achievement Award; she was the first artiste to receive it, and with 55 million certified albums sold, she was ranked fourth best-selling female artist in the US.
Whitney Houston’s Cause Of Death
Houston died in Beverly Hills California on February 11, 2012. She lodged in Suite 434 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel where she was found submerged in the bathtub. Despite efforts by the hotel’s paramedics, the magnificent singer was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.
The cause of her death as reported by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office is drowning due to heart disease and use of cocaine. It was stated that some other drugs were also detected and her death was purely an accident. She was laid to rest on Feb 19, 2012, in Fairview Cemetery, Westfield, New Jersey; next to her father John Russell Houston, who died in 2003.
Her Net Worth
Houston was an Iconic musician and with her talent, achievements, and influences, she had some millions stashed in the bank. Her net worth as of the time of her demise in 2012 was $20 million. She reportedly had a $100 million recording contract with Arista/Sony in which she earned only $40 million and was earning about $30 million annually from touring alone.
In 2007, amidst her divorce with husband Bobby Brown, Houston pegged her assets at $10 million with more than $4 million in debts. Several months after her death, her estate yielded an estimated $40 million; earned mostly from sales of her records and singles as well as the release of the movie, Sparkle. After all her debts were cleared, Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina was left to inherit up to $20 million plus other properties worth millions.
Bobbi Kristina Brown was the only daughter Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown had together. Like her parents, she was a singer and media personality. After Houston and Brown got divorced in 2007, Whitney Houston gained sole custody of their daughter who would have been their only heir. But barely three years after Houston’s death, 22-year-old Brown was found face down in a bathtub at her home in Alpharetta on January 31, 2015, Georgia by her boyfriend, Nick Gordon and a friend, who tried to revive her before an emergency medical services personnel arrived at the scene.
An autopsy result showed that marijuana, alcohol, morphine, and cocaine were detected in her body, along with medications used for sedation and to treat anxiety. Six months into an induced coma in which doctors said her chances of recovering would be a miracle, young Brown died on July 26, 2015, and was buried next to her mother, two days later.