whitney houston, sparkle

Whitney's curtain call

You may have to catch your breath when she appears in Sparkle, the moment you see the late Whitney Houston alive and well on screen. The remake of the 1976 film of the same name finished shooting in November of last year, three months before Houston's death on February 11, 2012.

Early reports herald Houston's performance as Emma, a former R&B singer trying to guide her three daughters as they break into the Motown music scene of the late 1960s. We often forget that Houston — who optioned the rights to Sparkle in the mid-'90s and served as an executive producer on the remake — was for a brief, shining moment, a huge Hollywood star. We look at back at the three films she made, which cemented her title as actor-singer.


Star and producer Kevin Costner had to convince Warner Brothers to cast the pop star as a singing diva who's stalked by a homicidal fan, and who needs the protection of an ex-secret service agent, played by Costner. They were worried that Houston had never acted in a movie, and that some audiences would be put off by the interracial love story. Costner prevailed, and The Bodyguard went on to earn more than $410-million worldwide.


As one of four leads — Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon — playing women looking for Mr. Right, Houston didn't have to carry the movie. As a result, she gave her most relaxed and likable performance, playing a successful TV producer who hopes her married lover will leave his wife


Houston returned to her gospel roots to star as Julia Biggs, the wife of inner-city minister Reverend Henry Biggs (Courtney B. Vance). When the couple's marriage hits a rocky patch an angel named Dudley (Denzel Washington) is sent to help…and Julia falls for him. The film was a modest hit, but the soundtrack featuring Houston singing gospel tunes remains the best-selling gospel album of all time.

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