Share via Email Teena Marie in She once reflected that 'every good artist needs a lawsuit'. As Tina Marie Brockert, she entered show business with an acting role, in , in the television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. By the time she was a teenager she had sung at the wedding of the son of the comedy actor Jerry Lewis and was performing with her brother's soul band. Gordy, Motown's owner, signed her to a recording contract, but it was three years before he found the right setting for his young white singer.
She spent her early childhood in Mission Hills , Calif. She also developed a fondness for singing Motown songs, and her self-professed "gift from God"[ citation needed ] would become fine-tuned as the years progressed. When she was eight years old, her parents began sending Tina on auditions which, among other things, netted her an acting role on The Beverly Hillbillies , credited as Tina Marie Brockert. Reared in a Roman Catholic household, she learned to play the piano under the tutelage of two nuns, and later taught herself the guitar, bass, and congas. In the early s, after the family moved to Venice, Los Angeles , Brockert spent her adolescent years in the historically black Venice enclave of Oakwood, nicknamed "Venice Harlem". There, she would acquire a strong spiritual influence from neighborhood matriarch Berthalynn Jackson, a black woman who would become her godmother. Following graduation, Brockert juggled auditioning for various record companies with studying English Literature at Santa Monica College.
Teena Marie, Motown's 'Ivory Queen of Soul', dies aged 54
Marie was found dead on Sunday by her daughter after apparently dying in her sleep, manager Mike Gardner said. The police and fire department were called to her home in Pasadena after her daughter found her unresponsive and said she appeared to have died from natural causes. In , the singer said she had successfully battled an addiction to prescription drugs; and last year went on tour to support her final album Congo Square. A four-time Grammy nominee, Mary Christine Brockert grew up with a strong African-American influence from her godmother. The Santa Monica, California, native grew up in the historically African-American enclave of Oakwood, California in westside Los Angeles and was musically gifted from a young age.