One of New Jersey’s most famous entertainers was born on this day in 1963; Whitney Houston was born in Newark. According to the book, “On This Day in New Jersey History,” Houston was certified by the Guiness Book of World Records as the “most awarded female act of all time." She is the only artist to have seven consecutive number one hits on the Billboard charts, and her eponymous debut album is the best selling debut album by a female artist of all time. Her cover of Dolly Parton’s song “I Will Always Love You,” from the soundtrack of her movie The Bodyguard is the best selling single by a female artist ever.

Her mother, Cissy Houston, was a gospel singer. Whitney was exposed to touring and performing from an early age; she was raised in East Orange from age four. In the early 80s, she worked as a fashion model and was featured in multiple well-known magazines. She sang with her mother at some of her performances and was offered recording contracts while still in high school, which her mother rejected. In 1983, she was signed by Arista records, beginning a decades long professional relationship with Clive Davis. Her self-titled debut album was released in 1985, and, as mentioned above, went on to become the best selling debut by a female artist. After that, she released six other studio albums and two soundtracks, with all of them going gold, platinum, multi-platinum or diamond.

Houston died in a bathtub in a hotel in Beverly Hills of accidental drowning with heart disease and cocaine contributing to her death. She is buried in Westfield, next to her father.

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