Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Pop Singer Vanity Dies at 57
Denise Matthews better known as Vanity was Prince protege, she was a pop singer, model and actress. she joined Prince on tours in 1980s before changing her path from wild personality to a simple life as a minister. She passed away on Monday in Fremont, California. She was 57.
Her sister Renay Matthews issued a statement that confirmed her death. She said her sister had checked into a hospital last Saturday night after struggling for years with health issues related to her kidneys.
Vanity grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario, worked as a model in Canada before moving to the United States. After she met Prince at the American Music Awards, he helped her form the Vanity 6, three women who had a hit in 1982 with “Nasty Girl.” After the group split up, she released work as a solo artist.
She thrived on raciness, often appearing in lingerie. “My music is very sexual, so you could say I’m just putting all of me out there,” she told The Associated Press in 1985. She was on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1983, with Prince, and of Playboy in 1988.
She also acted, appearing in a number of TV shows and in films like “The Last Dragon,” “Never Too Young to Die” and “Action Jackson.”
Ms. Matthews later said that the fast life had taken its toll, describing herself as “extremely wild” to Jet magazine in 1993. “There was a lot of cocaine,” she said. “I tried men, women, everything. I didn’t snort cocaine, I smoked it.”
She told Jet that drug use had nearly killed her, saying she had had renal failure and lost both of her kidneys in the 1990s. At that time, she said, doctors told her she had only three days to live.
After that experience, her life took a religious turn. She left the name Vanity behind and became a Christian evangelist.