Image of Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. was born on April 2, 1939, the second oldest child of domestic worker Alberta Gay and Pentecostalist minister Marvin Gay Sr. From an early age, Gaye took an ardor for singing; he believed that this vocation helped him through his severely troubled youth. Gaye's sister has stated that Gay Sr. beat Marvin often and into his teens. At 17, Gaye became a high school dropout, enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. Disgruntled by the humble labor he had to do, Gaye pretended to have mental illness. The service authorized him a "General Discharge." Gaye returned to the D.C. area and set up a vocal quartet with a friend called The Marquees. Gaye's first vocal recording as a lead singer, "Mama Loocie," was recorded with Harvey and the New Moonglows, which was composed of Harvey Fuqua and members of The Marquees. After the group's dissolution in 1960, Gaye moved to Detroit. Performing at Motown head Berry Gordy's house, Gaye drew Gordy's interest; the ensuing sale of Fuqua's part of Gaye's contract led to Gaye signing with Motown company Tamla. Gaye initially wanted a career as a standards and jazz performer. After numerous album releases and chart successes, in 1971, Gaye saw the release of his concept album What's Going On. It was his first platinum-selling album and earned him much critical praise. His next project would be the score and soundtrack to the 1972 blaxploitation film, Trouble Man. In 1981, advised by music promoter Freddy Cousaert, tax exile Gaye moved into Cousaert's Ostend apartment in Belgium. Staging a personal recovery, Gaye penned the song "Sexual Healing," which would be his greatest hit, eventually doing ten weeks in the top position on the Hot Black Singles chart. The song was the first single from the album Midnight Love, which sold in excess of six million units. Gaye then went out on the Sexual Healing Tour, starting April 18, 1983, which would be his last tour. Around halfway through the year, he ended the tour, suffering paranoia stemming from cocaine use. Gaye then relocated to his parents' residence in L.A. Marvins Sr. and Jr. had growing conflict between them for months. Relatives and friends felt that Marvin Jr. was sometimes suicidally driven. One day, Gaye attempted to follow this urge with a leap from a hurtling sports car. He only received slight bruises. On April 1, 1984, Marvin Sr. yelled at Alberta about a lost insurance policy letter; they'd argued about the form for days. A severe thrashing then ensued between the two Marvins, with Marvin Sr. on the receiving end. Minutes thereafter, Marvin Sr. entered Gaye's bedroom, clutching a .38 pistol that had been bought for him by Gaye, and shot his son once in his heart and once in the shoulder. Marvin Jr.'s body was transported to California Hospital Medical Center, where at about 1 P.M., Gaye was pronounced dead on arrival. Celebrities across the world were shocked by the news of Gaye's untimely passing, from Smokey Robinson to Al Sharpton. Following Gaye's death, his awards and honors have flourished -- a fitting legacy for the man titled Prince of Soul.

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Apr 2, 1939 In Washington, D.C., USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Live at Amsterdam 1976
Latest Project:
Movie Whitney 2018-07-05
Known For
Poster of The Midnight Special Legendary Performances 1974
Poster of Hullabaloo
Poster of The Hollywood Palace
Poster of The Ed Sullivan Show
Movie Live at Amsterdam 1976 Himself 2022
Movie Whitney Himself (archive footage) 2018-07-05
Movie DJ Cinema Presents: Masterpiece Theater Blend Dvd Himself (archive footage) 2009-03-19
Movie Motor City's Burning: Detroit from Motown to the Stooges Self (archive footage) 2008-03-07
Movie Marvin Gaye: What's Going On Self (archive footage) 2008-05-07
Movie Marvin Gaye: The Real Thing - In Performance 1964-1981 Himself 2006-04-04
Movie TV in Black: The First Fifty Years Unknown 2004-01-01
Movie Marvin Gaye - Live In Montreux 1980 Himself 2003-05-20
Movie DTV: Golden Oldies Himself 1984-09-01
Movie Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever 1983-05-16
Movie Remember Marvin Gaye 1981-01-01
Movie Remember Marvin Gaye Himself 1981-01-01
Movie Standing Room Only: Diana Ross Self 1981-01-31
Movie The Midnight Special Legendary Performances 1977 1977-05-18
Movie The Midnight Special Legendary Performances 1974 Himself 1974-12-22
Movie Save the Children Self 1973-05-13
Movie Chrome and Hot Leather Jim 1971-09-29
Movie The Ballad of Andy Crocker David Owens 1969-11-18
Series Malibu U Unknown 1967-07-21
Series Hullabaloo Unknown 1965-01-12
Series The Hollywood Palace Unknown 1964-01-04
Movie The T.A.M.I. Show Self 1964-12-29
Series Shindig! Unknown 1964-09-16
Series Ready Steady Go! Unknown 1963-08-09
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20