Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Movie Sparkle and Whatever Happened to ...?

Over at IMDB, the movie Sparkle (1976), a movie about a fictional singing group, The Williams Sisters, has only 6.5 stars. I'm not sure why because I haven't seen Sparkle, from which the clip above comes, in about 30 years, but I do remember seeing it when it was in theaters. The movie was very popular and loved.

What happened to the three actresses who made up the singing group in Sparkle? The movie predates the similarly-themed Dreamgirls Broadway musical by five years. Sparkle is also reportedly inspired by The Supremes of Motown Records. Interestingly, the name "Effie" is in both Sparkle and in Dreamgirls. In Sparkle it's the name of the Williams sisters' mother. In Dreamgirls it's the name of a major character in the singing group, the one played by Jennifer Hudson.

Lonette McKee: McKee played Sister in Sparkle, the doomed sibling who died of a drug overdose. According to her own website and IMDB, McKee is still working in the industry. You may have seen her on TV in the series The Game. In her personal life, she works with low-income family issues and is also an animal lover. In particular, she adores birds and is writing a book about her life and her love of these creatures.

Irene Cara: Cara, who most people associate with the movie Fame played the main character, Sparkle, in the movie Sparkle. According to IMDB, Cara has not been in front of the camera since 1995. In fact, if you search Cara's name in news, you come up with Naturi Naughton, the young lady who's getting attention for singing the Fame theme that Cara made popular. The movies on redux. However, Cara's website indicates she's still in the music industry. Music seems to be her first love, and people sometimes forget she won an Oscar for "What a Feeling," the theme from Flashdance. A bit of trivia, but not to Cara, she disputes web sources that list her birth year as 1959 and maintains she was born in 1962.

Dwan Smith: Smith played the third sister, Dolores, in Sparkle. According to IMDB, the actress appeared in the movie House Party 4 (2007). Unlike the other two actresses, she doesn't have a website.


Revvy Rev said...

Great post! I was wondering the same thing after discussing the movie last week. I personally enjoyed Sparkle.

Marvalus said...

You know I love this movie!

Great info on where these actresses are now...

Gena said...

I got the album with Aretha on the cover. I seriously loved the music from Sparkle. I keep messing around and forgetting to buy that LP to mp3 turntable.

The thing is I would have never thought that IMDB would have had info on Sparkle. I knew about the movie so I didn't need to look it up.

It might be those that saw the movie haven't put their two cents in on what they felt or remembered about it.

Another reason to step up and document our cultural mythology and history.