Aug. 9th, 1963
Newark, New Jersey, USA
Whitney Houston's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1996 - The Preacher's Wife
1995 - Waiting to Exhale
1992 - The Bodyguard
Guest TV Roles
Herself - Musical Guest
Herself - Performer
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (born August 9, 1963) is an American R&B/pop singer, actress, and former fashion model. Houston is the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records, and her list of awards include 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. Houston is also one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums and singles worldwide.
Inspired by several prominent soul singers in her extended family, including her mother Cissy Houston, cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, and Godmother Aretha Franklin, Houston began singing at her New Jersey church as a member of a junior gospel choir at age eleven. After she began performing alongside her mother in night clubs in the New York City area, she was discovered by Arista Records label head Clive Davis. Houston has released six studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums throughout her career, all of which have had diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold certification.
Houston released her debut album Whitney Houston in 1985, which became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her award-winning video for "How Will I Know", enabled several African-American female artists to follow in her success.
Houston's first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard in 1992. The film's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single, "I Will Always Love You", became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. The album makes her the only female act ranked in the list of the world's Top 10 best-selling albums; at number four. Houston continued to star in feature films and contributed to soundtracks including Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher's Wife (1996). After the release of her fourth studio album My Love Is Your Love (1998), she renewed her recording contract with Arista Records in 2001. She subsequently released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney, the following year with a Christmas album, One Wish: The Holiday Album, being released in 2003. Amidst widespread media coverage of personal and professional turmoil, Houston ended her 14 year marriage to Bobby Brown in 2006. In 2009, Houston released her seventh studio album, I Look To You.
Whitney Houston was born in what was then a middle income neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, the third and youngest child of John and gospel singer Cissy Houston. She is of African American, Native American and Dutch descent. Her mother, along with cousins Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick and godmother Aretha Franklin were all notable figures in the gospel, rhythm and blues, pop, and soul genres. Houston was raised a Baptist, but was also exposed to the Pentecostal church. After the 1967 Newark riots, the family moved to a middle class area in East Orange, New Jersey when she was four.
At the age of eleven, Houston began to follow in her mother's footsteps and started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. Her first solo performance in the church was "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah".
When Houston was a teenager, she attended a Catholic single-sex high school, Mount Saint Dominic Academy, where she met her best friend Robyn Crawford, whom she describes as the "sister she never had." While Houston was still in school, her mother continued to teach her how to sing. In addition to her mother, Franklin, and Warwick, Houston was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, most of whom would have an impact on her as a singer and performer.
- Her 1987 album "Whitney" knocked Simple Minds' "Live in the City of Light" off number one on the British album chart and kept Marillion's "Clutching at Straws" at number two.
- Her #1 hit "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" was ranked #86 on VH1's 100 Greatest Dance Songs.
- Her family moved from Newark to East Orange, NJ in the wake of rioting in Newark when she was 4 years old.
- Holds the record for winning the most American Music Awards, twenty-six in total.
- Cousin of 'Dionne Warwick' (qv) and 'Dee Dee Warwick'.
- Ex-wife of 'Bobby Brown (I)' (qv).
- Her powerful rendition of "I Will Always Love You" from _Bodyguard, The (1992)_ was ranked #65 on the American Film Institute's list of "The 100 Years of The Greatest Songs".
- The Whitney E. Houston academy is located in her home town of East Orange, New Jersey