Died: 15th February 2016
Denise Matthews was born in Niagara Falls, Canada. After years of modelling, beauty pageants and acting (she went by the screen name D.D. Winters for films such as the soft-core porn movie Tanya's Island and horror film Terror Train), she met controversial funk artist Prince. They had an instant bond and started dating. Prince encouraged her to become a singer, as he wanted to start a provocative new girl group called The Hookers. He decided to rename Denise "Vagina", but she decided the name was too controversial and chose Vanity instead. The name of the band was also changed to the less controversial Vanity 6 (the 6 being the number of breasts the three singers possessed)... Vanity 6 was a relative success, and they toured with Prince and performed sexy songs in lingeree. While touring, Prince was also embarking on a film project that eventually became the huge smash Purple Rain. Vanity was to originally star as his love interest, and the character was based on her. Due to money, drugs, infidelity and filming issues, Vanity decided to leave the Prince camp for a solo career, and was replaced in the film and group by Apollonia.
As a solo artist, Vanity signed to Motown and was a minor success, with two albums and a few R&B hits. She also starred in several films, including Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, Action Jackson and Never Too Young To Die. During this time she also dated Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx and they were, according to her, engaged to be married.
Unfortunately, Vanity was also a drug addict. Her habit became so bad that she almost lost her eyesight and then her life, and had to have a liver transplant. As a result of this trauma, she became a born again Christian and renounced her existence as Vanity, once again calling herself Denise Matthews. She ditched plans to star in the film Lambada and record another album to dedicate her life to God, becoming an evangelist for Pure Heart Ministries. She has been in the process of releasing a book, Blame It On Vanity, for several years, which is said to describe her life before, during and after her existence as "Vanity".
Matthews suffered from sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis, a rare complication of peritoneal dialysis, and died in a Fremont, California hospital on February 15, 2016, at the age of 57.
- 9 Vocals
- 3 Instruments & Performance
- 31 Writing & Arrangement
- 1 Featuring & Presenting
- 6 Production
- 5 Acting, Literary & Spoken