Luther Vandross

  • Birth Name: Luther Ronzoni Vandross
  • Birth Place: New York, New York, United States
  • Died: July 1, 2005
  • Profession: Singer, Songwriter, Record producer
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Fast Facts

  • Given the middle name Ronzoni, after the brand of pasta, which was the only food his mother could digest while pregnant with him; this was later shortened to the nickname Ronnie.
  • Started the vocal group Shades of Jade while in high school.
  • Made his TV debut on Sesame Street., as part of the musical theater workshop ensemble Listen, My Brother.
  • In 1972, penned the song "Everybody Rejoice (A Brand New Day)," which was used in the Broadway musical The Wiz three years later.
  • Met David Bowie in 1974, and went on to sing backup for the rock icon, as well as open for him on tour.   
  • In the mid-'70s, began providing backing vocals for albums by numerous pop icons, including Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand and Ringo Starr.
  • Found success in the late '70s as a writer and singer of commercial tunes, performing jingles for soft drinks, fast-food restaurants and telephones. 
  • Solo debut album, Never Too Much, was released in 1981. 
  • Was involved in a fatal three-car accident in Los Angeles in 1986, when he lost control of the car he was driving.   
  • Ranked number 54 on Rolling Stone's 2008 list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
  • Struggled with his weight throughout his career, and suffered from diabetes and hypertension.
  • Was a lover of fashion and always performed in a tuxedo.

Awards

  • 2003, Grammy — Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Winner
  • 1990, Grammy — Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male: Winner
  • 2003, Grammy — Best R&B Album: Winner
  • 1991, Grammy — Best Rhythm & Blues Song: Winner
  • 1991, Grammy — Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male: Winner
  • 2003, Grammy — Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: Winner
  • 1996, Grammy — Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: Winner
  • 2003, Grammy — Song of the Year: Winner

Relationships

  • Patricia Joyner — Sister
  • Luther Vandross Sr. — Father
  • Mary Ida Vandross — Mother
  • Ann D. Sanders — Sister
  • Charles Anthony Vandross — Brother

College

  • Attended Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States

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