Luther Vandross's Interesting Facts

1 He was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1717 North Vine Street in Hollywood, California on June 3, 2014.
2 In December 1985, the singer filed a libel suit against a British magazine after it attributed his 85-pound weight loss to AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Vandross said he weighed 325 pounds when he started a diet in May that year.
3 Luther's mother, Mary Ida Vandross, passed away at age 85. She was the last surviving member of the immediate Vandross family. [April 2008]
4 In the 1970s, he sang backup for Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack and Bette Midler.
5 His older sister, Patricia Van Dross, was an original member of the 1950s "doo-wop" group The Crests.
6 Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 557-558. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
7 Attended and graduated from William Howard Taft High School in the Bronx, New York.
8 The youngest of all his siblings, he was also the last one to die. His mother outlived all of her children.
9 Craig Seymour wrote a biography in 2004, titled "Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross".
10 On January 12, 1986, Jimmy Salvemini, a 15-year-old singer from Star Search (1983) talent show; and Larry, his 27-year-old brother and manager; were riding with Luther Vandross in his 1985 convertible Mercedes-Benz on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, in the north section of Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. Luther was driving at 48 mph in a 35 mph zone when his Mercedes veered across the double-yellow center line of the two lane street, turned sideways, collided with the front of a car that was headed southbound, then swung around and hit another car head on. Luther and Jimmy were rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Vandross suffered three broken ribs, broken hip, several bruises and facial cuts. Jimmy Salvemini, who sat in the back of the car, had cuts, bruises and contusions. His older brother, Larry, who was riding on the front passenger seat, was killed during the collision. In the same year, Vandross faced vehicular manslaughter charges as a result of Larry's death, and his driving license was suspended for a year. There was no evidence Vandross was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Salvemini family filed a wrongful death suit against singer. The case was quietly settled out of court with a payment to the Salvemini family for $700,000.
11 Close friends included Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin.
12 Because of the stroke he suffered, resulting in a coma, he was unable to record a music video for "Dance with My Father Again", so instead, R&B artists came together to create a 'get well card' as his music video.
13 Sang background vocals for Richard Marx and Chaka Khan.
14 On June 19, 2003, Luther's CD debuts at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling over 442,000 copies.
15 Is the youngest child of four children.
16 He died at 1:47 p.m. ET of July 1, 2005, at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey; surrounded by family, friends and a medical support team; from complications from a stroke. He is interred at George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, New Jersey.
17 On June 10, 2003, his CD "Dance with My Father" was released. It was dedicated to his father, Luther Vandross Sr., who died of complications of diabetes when Luther was five years old.
18 On June 12, 2003, he was moved from ICU and upgraded to stable condition.
19 On April 16, 2003, he suffered a stroke in his Manhattan apartment which left him in a coma for nearly two months. Shortly after the stroke he also had to fight both meningitis and pneumonia, which necessitated a tracheotomy to help him breathe. He emerged from his coma on June 5, 2003.
20 He had long struggled with obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
21 Luther's mother almost didn't give birth to him. She had a ruptured appendix and was rushed to the hospital. When the doctor asked his father which one of them to save, he told the doctor to save his wife. Fortunately, she came through the operation successfully and Luther was born, prematurely, but healthy.
22 When Vandross was born, the doctor asked his mother what the child's first and middle names were. She had already picked Luther for a first name but had not thought of a middle name; there happened to be a box of Ronzoni spaghetti on the table next to her bed, so she told the doctor that his middle name was Ronzoni, and that is the name on his birth certificate.
23 Was discovered by David Bowie, who overheard Luther singing to his song "Young Americans". Bowie put Luther on the recording of the song.
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