Legendary Singer and Actress Tina Turner Has Died at the Age of 83
The popular, award-winning singer, who also made the transition to acting with movies such as ‘Tommy’ and ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’, died in Switzerland.
Tina Turner, a legend of R&B and pop music who also made memorable movie appearances, has died. She was 83.
Born Anna Mae Bullock in the farming community of Nutbush, Tennessee, she was shuttled alongside older sister Ruby between various relatives as a child and her mother left her abusive father when she was 11. At 16, the girls were reunited with their mother in St. Louis.
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Early Career and Music
Following graduation, she started frequenting St. Louis nightclubs while also working as a nurse’s aide. It was at one of these nightspots that the teen lucked into becoming a member of Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm in 1957. Turner debuted under the name Tina Turner in 1960 with her duet with Ike, “A Fool in Love.” That kicked off a string of tracks that she’d be forever associated with, even if they didn’t all become hits, including “It’s Gonna Work out Fine”, “River Deep – Mountain High”, “Nutbush City Limits” (a nod to her upbringing) and, most of all, “Proud Mary.”
Ike proved to be an abusive, controlling partner in their personal and professional life and the Revue broke up in 1976 when Tina left Ike, detailing their situation in memoirs and interviews. She became an early example of a domestic abuse survivor, putting the topic in the public consciousness.
Struggling and nearly destitute after the split, she rebounded in a big way with the huge success of her fifth solo album, “Private Dancer”, and its lead single “Let’s Stay Together”, which became an international hit.
The album’s second stateside single would give Turner the biggest hit of her career. “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” spent three weeks at No. 1 in the U.S. It would win Grammys for Record and Song of the Year as well as a Female Pop Vocal award for Turner.
Her musical comeback would also re-launch a film career that had started in 1975 with a one-scene role as the Acid Queen in the Who’s ‘Tommy’. Following her 1980s recording success, she was cast as Auntie Entity in ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ (also performing the memorable theme song “We Don’t Need Another Hero”) and as the mayor in ‘Last Action Hero’.
Also on the movie front, she joined an exclusive club, singing the song –– written by U2’s Bono and The Edge –– for a Bond movie, 1995’s ‘GoldenEye’.
Her turbulent life story was brought to screens in the 1993 smash hit movie ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It' (which starred Angela Bassett as Tina), and in the 2019 Broadway musical ‘Tina – The Tina Turner Musical,' and the 2021 HBO documentary 'TINA.'
“Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock ’n Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model,” her representative said in a statement. She’s survived by husband Erwin Bach and two sons.
Movies Featuring Tina Turner:
- 'Gimme Shelter' (1970)
- 'Tommy' (1975)
- 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' (1978)
- 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome' (1985)
- 'Last Action Hero' (1993)
- 'What's Love Got to Do with It' (1993)
- 'GoldenEye' (1995)
- 'TINA' (2021)