Best known for her string of duets with Marvin Gaye, relationships with James Brown and David Ruffin of the Temptations, as well as her tragic death at the age of 24 from brain cancer, Motown legend Tammi Terrell's life was more than well-lived.
In a much anticipated film produced by Tamala Jones, star of ABC's 'Castle', a Tammi Terrell's biopic is currently in development with filming scheduled to begin in 2016. With the the full support of Terell's family and her estate, the feature film will be the first produced by Jones' Foxy Roxy Productions in partnership with Sean Dwyer and Elizabeth Cullen. Jones' film is the only biopic authorized by Terrell's estate.
Terrell was first signed to Scepter records at the age of 15. By age 17, she was headlining with the James Brown Review. She left the business for a short time to pursue studies in pre-med but quickly returned, and was signed to Motown in 1965, on her 20th birthday. She was teamed with Marvin Gaye in 1967. Together Terrell and Gaye became known for astring of popular hits penned by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, including, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” "Your Precious Love,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.” The duo worked together until a brain tumor curbed Terrell's ability to perform. After eight unsuccessful surgeries, Tammi Terrell died on March 16, 1970.
"Tammi's story is about belief in one's abilities," says Jones, "and overcoming tremendous obstacles to achieve tremendous success...it's American history."
A.K. Staggers is a freelance contributor for Atlanta Blackstar and a professor of social sciences.
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