And the list sadly goes on, this time with the passing of Canadian singer Denise Katrina Matthews, last Monday Feb. 15 at the age of 57. An information announced by Gisela Hernandez, spokeswoman for Washington Hospital Health Care System, with no details thugh about the circumstances of her death, although it’s believed that the effects of a drug abuse (she eventually was addicted to crack for some time) on her kidneys obliging her to undergo peritoneal dialysis five times a day before a transplant have been for much in her decease.
Born in Niagara Falls, ON, Denise began her career as a model winning the Miss Niagara Hospitality title in 1977 before competing for Miss Canada the year after. At age 17, she moved to New York City to further her career signing with Zoli Model Agency, only doing commercials and photo shoots because of being considered too short in stature.
Billed as D.D. Winters, she had a minor role back in 1980 in a horror movie (‘Terror Train’) shot a year before in Montreal, eventually getting the leading role in ‘Tanya’s Island’, filmed in Toronto. She would later star as Vanity in various films such as ‘The Last Dragon’, ‘Never Too Young To Die’, ’52 Pick-Up’ and ‘Action Jackson’ which stands as her highest role opposite Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson and Sharon Stone back in 1988…
She came to meet Prince at the American Music Awards back in 1980. He renamed her Vanity coz’ of admittedly seeing in her his female reflection. Learning that she could sing he offered her to become the lead singer of a three girl-band then named The Hookers which he’d put together featuring Susan Moonsie, Brenda Bennett and Jamie Shoop. The group changing their name into Vanity 6 with Matthews replacing Shoop.
Remembered for their sexually explicit lyrics, performances, and costumes (the “6” in their name referring to the female trio’s breasts), the girls released only one album – ‘Vanity 6’ – back in 1982, eventually performing with Prince and The Time on his 1999 Tour until the Spring of 1983. Vanity soon after leaving Vanity 6 and right before the shooting of ‘Purple Rain’ to pursue a solo career.
The girls’s biggest success, the funky ‘Nasty Girl’ stands as their biggest classic ever, pretty much illustrative as to what they were about.
Vanity gave up her stage name and became a born-again Christian back in 1994 and, after a kidney transplant 3 years later, she decided to devote her life to evangelism, eventually speaking with disdain of her former career, saying she had been miserable throughout it.
Sheila E, another former Prince protege who’s also professing Christian, said goodbye to Denise Matthews in a tweet…
SADDEN my FRIEND IN CHRIST gone 2day. Vanity, Denise Matthews. MISS YOU DEARLY. U ARE IN HIS ARMS NOW, NO Pain pic.twitter.com/UbCWtl8brc— SheilaEdrummer (@SheilaEdrummer) February 16, 2016
We would like to address our deepest condolences to Denise‘s family and friends, with love,