John Houston, rhythm-and-blues theatrical manager and father of singer-actress Whitney Houston died Sunday Feb. 2 after a lengthy battle with diabetes and heart disease in Newark, N.J. He was 82.
Well before his daughter’s rise to fame, Trenton, N.J., native managed the career of her mother and his ex-wife, Cissy Houston, who sang with the Sweet Inspirations, backing vocal group to artists including Aretha Franklin.
He was remembered as being an insistent manager who, for example, demanded in the South while it was still segregated that his wife and other black clients stay in first-class white hotels.
In recent months, relations between he and his daughter took an especially trying turn when his company, John Houston Entertainment, sued her for $100 million in compensation for helping to get a marijuana charge against her dismissed and for getting her a new record contract.
On Dec. 6, he made a public appeal to his daughter in an interview with syndie newsmag “Celebrity Justice,” demanding of her: “You get your act together, honey, and you pay me the money that you owe me. If you do that, you haven’t got a lawsuit.”
Besides his daughter, he is survived by wife Peggy and three sons.