Houston appeared as herself on the Season 4 premiere of Ricky Schroeder's hit series (yes, that's future Carlton Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Ricky's best pal) and performed her new single "Saving All My Love for You." (She had to change the lyric "We'll be making love the whole night through" to "We'll be holding each other the whole night through" for the show's young audience.)
2 of 13 Larry Busacca/WireImage
Family business (1987)
Houston got her start singing in gospel choirs with mom Cissy (at center) and backup on recordings with her cousin Dionne Warwick (at right) and such other artists as Lou Rawls, Jermaine Jackson and Chaka Khan. (You can hear Houston on Khan's "I'm Every Woman," a song she later covered for The Bodyguard soundtrack.)
3 of 13 Arista Records
"I Wanna Dance with Somebody" (1987)
Houston's second album, Whitney, was the first by a female to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. This song, the album's first single, became a monster hit internationally, aided by a peppy, colorful MTV video that featured Houston in tight dresses and a frizzy blond wig, dancing with a bevy of suitors in a variety of paint-splattered backgrounds.
4 of 13 Arista Records
"One Moment in Time" (1988)
Houston recorded this song for NBC to be its official theme for their coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. It went to No. 5 on the U.S. charts. After Houston's death, tennis phenom Serena Williams cited the song as an inspiration.
5 of 13 George Rose/Getty Images
Super Bowl XXV (1991)
Houston's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" was so stirring that it became an American touchstone. First, it was released as a single immediately following the game, when the country was at war in the Persian Gulf. It reached No. 5 on the pop charts, and remains the most successful rendition of the song. Then, after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, it was re-released. All proceeds from the single went to charity.
6 of 13 Warner Bros./Everett Collection
The Bodyguard (1992)
In her first major film role, Kevin Costner chose Houston to play an Oscar-nominated actress who receives death threats, and therefore needs the titular protector. Naturally, the pair falls in love. The film made $400 million, and its soundtrack spawned Houston's indelible cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You."
7 of 13 20th Century Fox/Everett
Waiting to Exhale (1995)
Houston co-starred with Angela Bassett (at right) in this drama about four middle-class African-American women who struggle in their relationships with men. Houston called the film "a breakthrough for the image of black women because it presents them both as professionals and as caring mothers." It was also a commercial success, debuting at No. 1 and grossing $81 million worldwide.
8 of 13 Walt Disney Television/Everett Collection
Houston co-starred with pop star Brandy and Whoopi Goldberg in this made-for-TV retelling of the classic fairy tale.
9 of 13 Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty Images
Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special (2001)
Houston's gaunt appearance at the tribute concert for the King of Pop spurned rumors of anorexia, illness and drug use. At the time, Houston's publicist would only say, "Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress she doesn't eat."
10 of 13 ABC
Primetime interview (2002)
Houston sat down with Diane Sawyer and husband Bobby Brown for a candid interview in which she admitted to marital troubles and some drug use. But the interview is perhaps most notable for the way she denied a crack addiction. "Crack is cheap. I make too much money to smoke crack. Crack is wack," she told Sawyer.
11 of 13 Bravo
Being Bobby Brown (2004)
We saw a more personal side — both the good and the bad — of Houston in this Bravo reality series about her husband, musician Bobby Brown. Their erratic, combative behavior led to more rumors of drug abuse. The show's (admittedly comic) portrayal of the Browns' marriage was spoofed on Saturday Night Live with Maya Rudolph's shoulder-shrugging impression. Bobby!
12 of 13 Harpo Productions
The Oprah Winfrey Show (2009)
Nobody lies to Oprah, and Houston is no exception. On the season premiere of Oprah's 23rd season, Houston admitted to years of drug use, specifically smoking marijuana laced with rock cocaine. "[Doing drugs] was an everyday thing…. I wasn't happy by that point in time. I was losing myself," she said.
13 of 13 Alicia Gbur/Stage 6 Films
Houston bought the rights to remake the 1976 film about an ingénue and her controlling mother. She intended to co-star in the film with pop star Aaliyah, but her death in 2001 delayed the project. Eleven years later, the film, now co-starring American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, will be released in August and will stand as Houston's final performance.