LOS ANGELES – Teena Marie, the singer-songwriter known for such funk-infused 1980s hits as “I Need Your Lovin’ ” and “Lovergirl,” and one of the few white musicians to achieve renown on the R&B charts, has died. She was 54.
Marie was found dead at her Pasadena home Sunday, Pasadena police Lt. Diego Torres said. Police and paramedics were called about 3 p.m. after her daughter found her unconscious.
Born Mary Christine Brockert on March 5, 1956, in Santa Monica, Marie was raised in a predominantly black area of Los Angeles’ Venice section. Soon after high school she signed with Motown Records, where she met funk music pioneer Rick James, who would become her mentor, musical collaborator and lover. He produced her 1979 debut album, “Wild and Peaceful.”
Many R&B enthusiasts who loved her strong, bluesy vocals didn’t realize she was white until her photograph was featured on her second album, “Lady T,” in 1980.
In 2004, she was devastated by the death of James and stopped working for a time. She began touring again in recent years after battling a prescription-drug addiction.