Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, model and producer. She is a global figure in popular culture and one of the greatest recording artists of all time. Houston began singing in church as a child and became a background vocalist while in high school. She is best known for her hit singles including "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" and "I Will Always Love You". Houston is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, with sales of over 200 million records worldwide.
Whitney Houston in 1991
Whitney Elizabeth Houston
August 9, 1963
|Died||February 11, 2012 (aged 48)|
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Drowning due to combined drug intoxication|
|Resting place||Fairview Cemetery|
Westfield, New Jersey, U.S.
|Other names||Whitney Houston-Brown|
|Height||5'6" (1.68 m)|
Bobby Brown (m. 1992–2007)
|Children||Bobbi Kristina Brown|
|Parent(s)||John Russell Houston, Jr.|
|Website||Official website of Whitney Houston|
Her first two studio albums, Whitney Houston (1985) and Whitney (1987), both peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and are among the best-selling albums of all time. She is the only artist to have seven consecutive number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, from "Saving All My Love for You" in 1985 to "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" in 1988.
Houston made her acting debut with the romantic thriller film The Bodyguard (1992). She recorded six songs for the film's soundtrack, including "I Will Always Love You", which won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and became the best-selling physical single by a female in music history. It won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and remains the best-selling soundtrack album of all time. Houston starred and recorded soundtracks for two other high-profile films, Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996), with the latter's soundtrack being the best-selling gospel album of all time.
On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. News of her death coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards and was featured prominently in international media. Houston was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
Houston was born at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. She was the second child of Army serviceman and entertainment executive John Russell Houston, Jr. and gospel singer Cissy Houston. Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick are her cousins.
Whitney began singing at a young age in gospel music at church, being influenced by her mother. She was described as having an impressive ranging mezzo-soprano voice. In 1983, she was discovered by an Arista Records representative and signed to the label.
Houston released her first album, Whitney Houston, in 1985. It featured the number-one singles "Saving All My Love for You", "Greatest Love of All", and "How Will I Know". Her second album, Whitney, was released in 1987 and featured the number-one hits "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and "So Emotional". In 1990, her album I'm Your Baby Tonight was released, and the song of the same name also reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, as did the single "All the Man That I Need". She sang the National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl and earned widespread praise for the performance. She starred in the film The Bodyguard in 1992 and performed several songs on its soundtrack, one of which was a cover of country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton's song, "I Will Always Love You". The song became Houston's biggest hit of her career and reached number one in countries around the world. Houston sat throughout much of the music video for "I Will Always Love You" because she was pregnant with her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. "I Will Always Love You" became the bestselling song by a female artist, with the soundtrack for The Bodyguard becoming the bestselling film soundtrack ever. She performed with singer-songwriter Mariah Carey on the song "When You Believe" for the film The Prince of Egypt.
Houston released albums My Love Is Your Love, Just Whitney..., and I Look to You in 1998, 2002, and 2009, respectively. She also appeared in the film Sparkle alongside singer Jordin Sparks.
Whitney Houston has earned six Grammy Awards and seven number-one songs in a row on the Billboard Hot 100. She had a total of 11 Billboard Hot 100 number-ones, placing her in fourth place for women behind Mariah Carey (18 number-ones), Rihanna (14), and Madonna and The Supremes (12 each). She is the most-awarded female artist of all time.
Whitney Houston has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
Houston married Bobby Brown in 1992. In 1993, they had a daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. In a 2009 interview, Houston indicated the marriage was both passionate and turbulent. Their marital relationship was marred by drug use and by Brown's professional jealousy, psychological abuse, and physical confrontations. The couple divorced in 2007.
On the night of February 11, 2012, at the age of 48, Houston was found dead in her guest room at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The official coroner's report stated that she had accidentally drowned in the bath. Atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use were listed as contributing factors. Her funeral was televised.
- "Whitney Houston, pop titan, dies at 48". LA Times. February 12, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- "CBC News". CBC. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- Heppermann, Christine (2012-09-01). Whitney Houston: Recording Artist & Actress. ABDO Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-61480-173-3.
- Jessie Carney Smith. Notable Black American women. VNR AG; 1996. ISBN 978-0-8103-9177-2. p. 304–305.
- Galindo, Brian. "Whitney Houston was never supposed to record "I Will Always Love You."". 11 Fascinating Facts About The Song "I Will Always Love You". Buzzfeed.com. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- NY Times: "Whitney Houston, Pop Superstar, Dies at 48"
- NY Times: "Whitney Houston drowned coroner says"