Whitney Houston's Last Hurrah

The deceased pop star appears in the film "Sparkle," which is slated for release in August 2012.

Hoping to launch a career comeback, famed singer Whitney Houston joined the cast for the remake of the 1976 movie Sparkle, which is being released by Sony Pictures on Aug. 17.

She stars alongside American Idol season six winner and platinum-selling singer Jordin Sparks as the mother of three sisters who must deal with the difficulties of fame as their singing careers take off.

Houston's final music recordings will be heard in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She sings the gospel classic Eyes on the Sparrow and duets with Sparks on the new R. Kelly song Celebrate during the end credits.

Fans React to Houston's Death

 outside the Saturday evening after news broke that  in her fourth-floor hotel room at the age of 48. She was reportedly found .

Marquit and Autrese Strozier of Los Angeles came to the Hilton when they learned of Houston's death.

"When we heard the news, we just wanted to come out and see if it was true, and also see them bring her body out—so we could see if it was real," Marquit Strozier said.

His wife, Autrese Strozier, said Houston was an inspirational figure.

"She was iconic. She was the Queen of Pop. I'm saddened to hear that she died so early," she said, noting that her favorite Houston song is I Will Always Love You. "I know she had struggles in her life, but so soon? I was very surprised." 

Alexis Johnson of Tacoma, WA., was visiting Beverly Hills with her two sisters when she found out Houston had died. 

"We were just out here on vacation and we heard that Whitney Houston passed away. We wanted to show our respect," said Johnson, who added that Houston had played a large role in her life. "I always wanted to be a singer when I was younger. I used to always try to sing her songs and act like her."

Police Investigation

Houston was pronounced dead at about 3:55 p.m. Saturday, according to Beverly Hills Police Department spokesman Lt. Mark Rosen. He said Beverly Hills emergency personnel responded to a 911 call to Houston's room at 3:43 p.m. and began resuscitation efforts upon arrival, yet were unable to revive her. There were no immediate indications of criminal intent, Rosen said. The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office will now try to determine a cause of death. 

The singer was in town for the 54th annual Grammy Awards taking place Sunday at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

"Fire department personnel were already on scene at the hotel due to a pre-Grammy event taking place later this evening," Rosen said in a police department statement.

Houston was expected to attend a tribute Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton for music executive Clive Davis, the man who discovered her in the 1980s. The event reportedly went on as planned.

Houston's Career

A six-time Grammy winner herself, Houston reigned over the pop charts in the 1980s and 1990s with hits like How Will I Know, Saving All My Love for You and I Will Always Love You. She crossed over into acting with starring roles in The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife. 

Houston's rise to fame and subsequent fall from grace have made media headlines throughout her career. She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and a cousin of vocalist Dionne Warwick. Houston's godmother was Aretha Franklin, often dubbed the Queen of Soul.

But upon marrying New Edition singer Bobby Brown in 1992, rumors of drug, alcohol and domestic abuse began to tarnish Houston's clean image. During her union with Brown, bizarre behavior and a declining voice made Houston fodder for gossip rags. The couple had one child together, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, who was born in 1993.

"The biggest devil is me," the singer told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an often-cited 2002 interview with Brown. "I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy."

The 2005 reality TV series Being Bobby Brown aired for one season and gave America a glimpse into Houston and Brown's troubled relationship. They divorced in 2007. Since then, Houston had been linked to R&B artist Ray J, who is 17 years her junior and the brother of Grammy Award-winning singer Brandy. Though the duo reportedly dated on and off for several years, they were spotted in early February at the Hollywood club Playhouse and the Beverly Hills restaurant Crustacean. 

News of Houston's erratic behavior began to creep back into the press recently. According to Houston's obituary in the Los Angeles Times, the singer was disruptive at Thursday's rehearsals for Davis' annual pre-Grammy industry party held Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton. Houston was supposed to perform at the event, which went on as scheduled.

To read the Times obituary, click here.

For more updates, follow Beverly Hills Patch on Twitter and Facebook.

Editor's Note: An original version of this article appeared on  in California.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »