Whitney Houston: An Overview of Her Films

Troubled pop/R&B superstar Whitney Houston died Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, hours before a pre-Grammy party hosted by Clive Davis. Houston, 48, was pronounced dead at around 3:55 p.m. that day at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

Her death sent the music industry reeling in shock -- sorta -- for hours and hours. Radio stations around the country were playing blocks of her pop hits and social media was clogged with updates relating to her life and career. Mostly centered on her drug use. We all mourned the loss of Houston, while also remembering that this seemed to be a long time coming, sadly. Years of erratic behavior and run-ins with the law left the public with little doubt that she was a drug addict.

With her early demise, we lose lots of things, namely the chance for her to redeem herself through her film and music projects. It would have been amazing to see her channel her drug struggles into a dramatic role, and apparently the upcoming Sparkle could have been that chance.

Here's a quick overview of Houston's short but sweet cinematic career, from the blockbuster brawn of The Bodyguard to the charming-as-heck The Preacher's Wife.

The Preacher's Wife (1996)

An angel named Dudley, played by a charming Denzel Washington -- sans guns -- arrives on the scene at a church, led by Courtney B. Vance and his wife, played by Houston. Dudley's job is to turn the spirits of the church around, but things go awry. This film was a schmaltzy holiday hit in late 1996, and the soundtrack sold well, loaded with Houston's gospel cuts.

Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Men are pigs in the adaptation of the Terry McMillan best-seller. Houston plays TV producer Savannah Jackson, alongside a who's who cast of great female African-American actors and actresses. The film was a hit with everyone, buoyed by strong source material and the star power involved. The Babyface-produced soundtrack scored a home run, with Houston's single "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon' Cry" and Brandy's "Sittin' Up in My Room" helping it sell almost seven million copies. A sequel was in the very early stages of development, but now that may not be possible.

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Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

I forgot she was in Waiting to Exhale. Good movie. I saw a comment elsewhere on what a leap The Bodyguard was for both her and Costner, depicting an inter-racial and inter-class relationship in the way that it did.


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Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I was shocked at how profoundly sad I was when I heard the news Saturday night. It's not like I have Whitney on all of my playlists, but certainly her music served as an access point to R&B/gospel for me as a child, starting with her on the radio and working backwards through her predecessors. It's a huge loss to the music community. I thought they handled it well at the Grammy Awards.

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