Published Dec 27, 2010Teena Marie, famous as the first white female artist signed to Motown, died yesterday (December 26) at her home in California. She was 54. The cause of death is currently unconfirmed, although sources suggest that she died in her sleep of natural causes. CNN reports that she had a grand mall seizure last month, which may have played a role in her death.
The singer, whose real name was Mary Christine Brockert, got her break in the late 1970s when funk legend Rick James took her under his wing. She and James duetted on the hit "I'm a Sucker for Your Love," as well as on other songs.
Marie was also known as Lady T and the Ivory Queen of Soul. She scored her biggest success in 1988 with the song "Ooo La La La," which topped the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The song was later used by the Fugees in their hit "Fu-Gee-La." Marie put out a total of 13 albums, earning four Grammy nominations.
During the early years of her career, she released albums through Motown and then Epic. Following a lengthy break from the spotlight in the '90s and early 2000s, she revitalized her career by signing to Cash Money Classics. She mostly recently released Congo Square in 2009 via Stax.
She is survived by her daughter Alia Rose, who records music under the name Rose LeBeau.