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Flashback Five – Whitney’s Voice May Be Going, But There’s Always Hollywood


It was the warble heard round the world this week, as Whitney Houston’s comeback performance on Good Morning America turned into a big letdown. Houston and company complain she lost her voice talking to Oprah Winfrey, but regardless of the reason, Whitney has some major image rehabilitation to do. Our suggestion? Make another movie! The Bodyguard (1992) proved that Houston has box office cred, and if she looks at all the other singers who’ve successfully renewed their careers on the silver screen, she’ll see she’s in good company.

1. Queen Latifah, Chicago (2002)
The first lady of hip-hop had an extremely successful, somewhat abbreviated rap career in the late eighties/early nineties, which led to some minor success as a singer and actress in the years that followed. But it wasn’t until she was cast as Mama Horton in the acclaimed movie musical Chicago that she burst into the mainstream. The lesson? Skip lame comedies like Barbershop and set your sights on Oscar gold.

2. Kris Kristofferson, Lone Star (1996)
Kristofferson is an interesting case, because he was never doing badly, per se. Still, however respected he was as a country artist, the performer never found financial success. After being cast in John Sayles’ Oscar-nominated drama, Kristofferson found a renewed (and lucrative) career as an actor, landing roles in movies like Blade and the Planet of the Apes remake. Guy could be doing a whole heck of a lot worse.

3. Will Smith, Six Degrees of Separation (1993)

is pretty much the biggest movie star in the world, so it’s interesting
to consider how his career could have gone an entirely different
way, if not for this adaptation of John Guare’s hit play. Previously
known for his goofy raps and mugging on TV’s Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Smith showed himself to be a shockingly powerful presence as the fulcrum of the plot. Whitney, we’re sure he’d take your call.

4. Bette Midler, The Rose (1979)
Midler had a successful career on Broadway, in the (relatively) small New York community. However, with 1979’s The Rose,
she was rocketed to a whole new level. Playing a Janis Joplin-a-like,
Midler was nominated for an Academy Award, had a number one hit song,
and ended up becoming a household name. Hear that, Whitney? Oh wait,
you did, and it was called “I Will Always Love You.” Well, hear it
again, okay?

5. Diana Ross, Lady Sings The Blues (1972)
When it was announced that Ross would play Billie Holiday in the biopic Lady Sings The Blues, critics and the public scoffed. Having recently parted ways with The Supremes, Ross was ready for a fall. It never came. Lady Sings The Blues
was a spectacular success, winning Best Actress, and landing her a
number one album in the process. A star was born. Well, a solo star at

Honorable Mentions:

1. Mos Def, Brown Sugar (2002) –
Mos Def was successful as a member of A Tribe Called Quest; less so on
his own. But this romantic drama cemented Mos as an acting talent to watch.

2. Mandy Moore, A Walk To Remember (2002) –
A teeny-bopper who wanted to be anything else, Moore totally reinvented her
image thanks to this Nicholas Sparks tearjerker, which showed off her
more mature side.

3. Mark Wahlberg, Boogie Nights (1997) –
Wahlberg could never quite escape the stench of “Good Vibrations” — right up until he whipped his member out in the final scene of Paul
Thomas Anderson’s classic porn drama.

4. Jennifer Lopez, Selena (1997) – Was Lopez a dancer, a singer, or an OK actress? Selena answered that question: a movie star. At least until Gigli reared its ugly head.

5. Dolly Parton, Nine To Five (1980) – Dolly Parton was already well on her way to a successful career when Nine to Five rocketed her into the stratosphere. We probably wouldn’t have Dollywood without it.


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