Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

The Burt Bacharach Forum is a board to discuss the music and career of composer Burt Bacharach and performers associated with his songs.

Moderator: mark

BachtoBacharach
Posts: 525
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 3:32 pm

Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

Postby BachtoBacharach » Fri May 18, 2018 7:21 pm

Haven't posted in years here but I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions regarding the Houstons and the “revelation” that Whitney Houston was molested by Dee Dee Warwick at about the age of six to eight in that new documentary coming out that is "authorized by the Houston family". It was always suspected in family circles but not confirmed that Dee Dee was a lesbian so that claim that Dee Dee was one of the first openly lesbian soul singers is a complete sham…that kind of revelation didn’t happen in the 1960s. Dee Dee was known to have relationships with both men and women but it was not an open knowledge. I am a little doubtful regarding the allegations that Dee Dee molested either Gary or Whitney Houston but I guess it’s possible. During the time this allegedly happened, Dionne was riding high (1968-1971); a huge superstar and Dee Dee was traveling with Dionne as a back-up singer from time to time. During this time as well, Dee Dee was using and abusing drugs and Dionne was bailing her out of situation after situation. Not known by many during this time, Dionne was also very generous to Cissy Houston, who was struggling to establish her own solo career, as well as John Houston, Cissy’s husband and Dee Dee and Cissy were just about always providing background vocals for Dionne in all those famous Bacharach-David recording sessions...Dionne always took care of her family and that included extended family such as Cissy. All the while Dionne was so generous to Cissy and her family, Cissy couldn’t understand why Dionne was such a big, big star when Dionne didn’t (according to Cissy anyway) have near the talent that Cissy did. And, Cissy was not shy about telling everyone who would listen that Dionne owed her success to her “white sugar-daddies Bacharach and David” because she sure as hell couldn’t sing like "I can". Cissy was quick to say also that if she had the same material Dionne had, she (Cissy) would have been a much bigger star than even Aretha. I mention all this to suggest that in my humble opinion, Cissy felt much the same way about Whitney. Cissy got to live her dream of super-stardom which eluded her through Whitney and she took full advantage of it. I can tell you that Cissy was extremely narcissistic and mean. She resented Dionne’s stardom and strangely, Whitney’s as well; kind of a love-hate thing. But, she could control Whitney and she did…through and through. And between the control Cissy exerted over Whitney and the creepy, uber-controlling Clive Davis, they exploited every weakness Whitney had to maintain their control. The only person Whitney could ever trust and be herself with was Robyn Crawford and Robyn brought Whitney probably the only true happiness she ever knew and Mama Cissy was having NONE of that. I have always felt that Cissy was an opportunistic manipulator and I think it is a convenient diversion tactic that the Houston’s are now peddling this diversion by suggesting that Dee Dee is the explanation for Whitney’s problems, not their own wildly dysfunctional family. The Warrick family was not unusually dysfunctional …in fact, the family was quite normal in comparison to the Houstons. Both Cissy and John Houston were volatile and narcissistic. Cissy had extra-marital affairs as did John and Whitney was shuffled from pillar to post while mama was trying to out-do Dionne career wise. Whitney was farmed out during her childhood to anyone who could oversee her while Mama Cissy was on the road or recording. I would submit that if any molestation occurred it was during that time. Folks are quick to say that Cissy loved her children, but Cissy didn’t seem to love them near as much as she loved herself. Dee Dee treated Dionne much the same way Cissy did…Dee Dee was quick to point out that she was more talented than Dionne, and Dionne always pointed out in what I believe is sincere humility, that “Dee Dee has the voice in this family.” Dionne was always bailing out family, friends and she was what you would call an enabler, I believe. And believe me, she was always being used by her sister and her aunt Cissy among others. The folks who are making these allegations against Dee Dee have used Whitney Houston as a personal ATM for years just as Dionne was used. I find the whole lot of Houstons to be a sleazy bunch…to try to divert attention away from their horrible family dynamic and to try to paint a dead woman who can't defend herself as the reason Whitney ended up the way she was is pretty sleazy. Whitney is dead so she can't be asked either. Those Houstons and those who orbited around the Houstons were and are a mean and dishonorable bunch of manipulators and users and are still cashing in on Whitney and by proxy cashing in on Dionne emotionally…the worst I can say about Dionne and the Warricks is that they were generous to a fault and took care of each other, many times to their own detriment…way too damn trusting of those snakes that were around them. Can’t imagine the pain Dionne is feeling now...she was holding Dee Dee's hand when she died in a nursing home in New Jersey several years ago. Money and fame has always been the primary motivator for the Houston family...above all else, even loyalty to family. I'm not defending Dee Dee...just saying that the Houstons are not exactly paragons of truthfulness...if this happened, it's horrible and can't be defended but other than Gary Houston getting this off his chest, I don't understand why now...oh wait, yes I do...the Whitney ATM they are all still lined up behind.

I illustrate my point about Cissy always damning Dionne with faint praise...in many interviews she stated that Dionne has "a small voice." Below is a link to a video explaining why Cissy was insistent on recording Alfie with the Sweet Inspirations...and it wasn't a nice reason...it was to show Bacharach how Dionne SHOULD have sung Alfie...the Sweet Inspirations (Myrna Smith and Estelle Brown) are quite critical of Cissy's voice...Estelle Brown states regarding Cissy's voice "anyone can sing that way." She also stated that Dionne's voice was totally different and unique and that's what made her stand out from the pack. Bacharach was not impressed with Cissy's version and this clip is quite hilarious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQHF1OFhL9Q

Dionne got Dee Dee her first national television exposure in 1965 on Hullabaloo, a USA television music show broadcast on NBC. Dionne, generous to a fault, also hired Dee Dee, Cissy and their family, The Drinkard Singers, for her 1968 gospel album and Cissy and Dee Dee backed Dionne on many dozens of recording sessions in the 60s and 70s. Dee Dee was a frequent traveler with Dionne on the concert trail and this lasted into the late 90s. Both Cissy and Dee Dee got a great deal of exposure while with Dionne but the fame flame never caught for Dee Dee or Cissy. Dee Dee famously insulted Dionne from a Las Vagas stage in the early 1970s while intoxicated, as told by Darlene Love...these folks frequently bit the hand that fed them. Ironically, Cissy gained her greatest fame after her daughter became the superstar she was. Up until then, Cissy was mainly known for her background work for Elvis, Dionne, Aretha etc., and her work fronting the Sweet Inspirations. Not a household name until Whitney came along.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WOzIULY0Wg
Last edited by BachtoBacharach on Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

face
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:29 pm

Re: Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

Postby face » Wed May 23, 2018 6:32 pm

B2B, welcome back! I, too, wish that the Houston family and everyone else would let Whitney rest once and for all instead of continuing to cash in on her pain. I admire Dionne for her reluctance to take part in any of it, even though she could surely use the money!

face
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:29 pm

Re: Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

Postby face » Fri May 25, 2018 7:25 am

I have a few more thoughts about this post, now that I've had some days to let it sink in. Have any of you read Cissy's book, How Sweet the Sound? She is fairly candid about some of the struggles that she has had, particularly the emotional effects of losing her mother at a young age, as well as her part in the unraveling of her marriage (she did not discuss extramarital affairs, but she did admit to being inattentive to John). She also discusses her bad temper and remorse over leaving her kids so much, among other things. She is a complicated person, and, if you read between the lines, it is not hard to see that John was probably a big mess as well. You should read it if you haven't, if for no other reason than to gain a bit of sympathy for her and admiration for her honesty about difficult topics. So, I support B2B's assertion that the Houston kids probably endured more dysfunction than any of us will ever know, and it's no surprise that they have had so many struggles. I only wish that they would let Whitney's name rest, as I wrote before. How much money is enough to make this train stop?

Regarding the relative talents of the four ladies (Cissy, Whitney, Dionne, and Dee Dee), I agree with the record-buying public that Dionne and Whitney were the natural stars of the family. Sure, Cissy has a big, strong voice, but she doesn't always have the best control over it, nor does she have the looks and bearing of a star. Same thing for Dee Dee: nice voice, but awkward appearance/presence. Cissy and Dee Dee even sound a lot alike, only Dee Dee's voice was deeper. Dionne, on the other hand, has a singular voice -- literally no one sounds like her -- and she has a singular look and bearing to go with it. She looked like a feline African princess, with soul and musical training to match! It's a no-brainer how Dionne stood out from the pack in Burt's eyes. In my view, Whitney had the best voice of all of them, strictly speaking, and she was absolutely gorgeous. She also mimicked a lot of Dionne's stage manner. I listen to Dionne more often than Whitney because I find her material and voice more interesting, but Whitney's voice was once-in-a-lifetime. She and Dionne were made for the stage, although it appears that Dionne is a lot more comfortable with herself and with stardom than Whitney ever was. These latest revelations are a sad coda to this musical dynasty.

Dionnefan
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:04 am

Re: Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

Postby Dionnefan » Mon May 28, 2018 6:35 am

I share Bachtobacharach's assessment of the Houstons. They seem very messy and I am sure Pat Houston was heavily involved in the decision to air this 'revelation'. I have no idea if this is really true but I don't understand why Gary thinks a movie is the best place to reveal such information, nearly 50 years after it happened? If it did happen shame on Deedee but does he not realize how this might affect his cousin Dionne for instance? Would this have been shared publicly if Lee Warrick was still alive? Already on Dee Dee's performance videos on youtube there are myriad comments about how she is a child molester. It's amazing to me how people judge and convict others without any proof or substantiation.
Just thinking about the timeline, this would have happened in the late 60's/early 70's. DeeDee didn't have anything better to do at that time than babysit her little cousins? I would think she would have been just as busy as Cissy at this time, recording and touring with Dionne. I wonder if the children were actually staying with their aunt and uncle (Lee and Mancel Warrick) and Dee Dee was living there at the time?
I really wonder what Cissy thinks of all of this. I recall watching a video on youtube in which Cissy and Pat Houston were appearing on The View discussing the airing of that horrible reality show (The Houstons - On Our Own). Barbara Walters was questioning why the show was airing so soon after Whitney's passing and wondering why Bobbi Kristina's troubles were being aired for public consumption. Cissy flat out stated she didn't like appearing on the show. For some reason it seems like Pat has a power over Cissy and certainly Gary. Why did Cissy agree to appear on that mess of a show which she clearly didn't like? Many of Whitney's fans have been hard on Gary and his brother Michael for supposedly introducing Whitney to drugs. Now it seems like they are trying to lay all of her troubles on the convenient doorstep of their dead cousin DeeDee.

BachtoBacharach
Posts: 525
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 3:32 pm

Re: Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

Postby BachtoBacharach » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:50 pm

I have never met Pat Houston on a personal basis but have heard enough scuttlebutt, public and private, to opine that she is a shady, shady character...a slick user and a manipulator. She has been manipulating Cissy and Gary for years and she was in Whitney's ear just about every waking minute. What hold Pat had over Whitney or has over Gary and Cissy I haven't a clue but she has seemingly always been first in line behind the Whitney ATM.

I was so disappointed to see Damon Elliott, Dionne's son weigh in on the latest Houston family scandal about the Kanye West's decision to spend $85,000 on a photo that depicted Whitney Houston’s bathroom, covered in drug-encrusted spoons and drug paraphernalia, for the cover of Pusha T’s album Daytona, which was produced by Kanye. The shocking photo was published by the National Enquirer years ago in a series of incredibly sad photos depicting Whitney in the depth of her drug addiction. The photos were alleged to have been sold to the Enquirer by Bobby Brown's sister. It seems that Whitney could never escape the users around her and was too weak and too into her addiction to go no-contact with the lot of them; had she found the strength to disassociate herself from them she might be alive today. Now, I'll also say that Damon Elliott has been known to treat Mom Dionne as a cash cow from time to time but I have felt he has always tried to be discreet about things Houston, probably more out of deference to his mom than any loyalty to the Houston's, and he hasn't near the stench of sleaze that the Houston's have permeating the air around them.

Dionne has always been notoriously private and made no bones about being discreet regarding the pitiful dramas that always went on where the Houston family was concerned. She has been asked frequently to comment and has consistently taken the high road and been loyal to the Houston family...can't say that the Houston family has shown Dionne or her family much loyalty. She was closer to Whitney than many in the Houston family and was often at Cissy's side when Cissy intervened several times to get Whitney help with her addiction but, she also kept some distance from the drama that began to be a side-effect of being around Whitney and the Houstons. Many believe it was a Houston family member who sold a story to the National Enquirer in the early 90s regarding Dionne's financial situation and the fact that she allegedly borrowed $50K from Whitney to pay off her American Express bill.

Such tawdry happenings and it's no surprise that Dionne has tried to keep a distance from all this for years...now with Gary's allegations, she has been sucked back into the sordid dramas surrounding the Houston family.

BachtoBacharach
Posts: 525
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 3:32 pm

Re: Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

Postby BachtoBacharach » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:31 pm

Cissy Houston was largely an absent mother who was apparently hell on wheels, from all accounts, when she deemed it necessary to make an appearance in her children's lives, particularly when she was trying to establish a solo career and getting nowhere. I've heard tell she would come in off tour like a tornado and light into everyone, including her children. She was bitter and resentful, as I have stated before, toward Dionne as well and it didn't help Cissy's feelings that every time she turned on the radio, she was hearing both Dionne and Aretha and seeing Dionne on television frequently. Don't get me wrong, she was proud of Dionne and the perks it brought her to be Dionne's aunt, but it was really a love/hate thing going on there. Cissy from all accounts was likely suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder; her behaviors and her jealousy of her own daughter seem to bear that assumption out. She was also mean as hell and her temper was notorious. I have found little to like about her for many, many years...she even talked smack about Aretha's talent and felt she could out Aretha Aretha if only someone had recognized her superior talent. I can attest to an incident that occurred in 1968 when Aretha Franklin was in the studio cutting the tracks for the Aretha Now album. In the studio between takes, Cissy Houston who was singing with the Sweet Inspirations on backing vocals began to chat with Aretha and the group about how she would have done I Say A Little Prayer differently than Dionne. I Say A Little Prayer had been a huge hit for Dionne just months before, and the tune peaked at # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1967. Carolyn Franklin was noodling around on the piano and broke into an impromptu rendition of I Say A Little Prayer. Soon, Aretha and the Sweet Inspirations were singing along. Jerry Wexler came into the studio and told Aretha that what he was hearing was fantastic and he wanted to record the tune on the spot. Soon the session musicians were assembled back from break and Aretha committed the recording to tape. Following the session, Cissy goaded Aretha into calling Dionne Warwick at her home in New Jersey. Bill Elliott answered the phone and the conversation went something like this: Mr. Elliott, this is Aretha Franklin, is the millionairess at home?" Bill handed the phone to Dionne. "Dionne, I just recorded I Say A Little Prayer and you should know that I did it better than you and I think it's going to be my next single. I'm going to give you a run for your money." To which Dionne allegedly laughed and replied "I'm flattered and I hope you have as much success with the tune as I did." Although Aretha's version of Dionne's original didn't perform as well on the charts or radio airplay at the time and Dionne's version was considered the definitive one for many years as well as the most well remembered; in later years, Aretha's version became very popular and to many surpassed Dionne's version as definitive. Myrna Smith and Estelle Brown tell much the same story about the phone call in a clip from the documentary This Time. What they don't mention is that Cissy instigated the whole incident. Fortunately, Dionne had a sense of humor about it and was very gracious but it is a very telling indication that Cissy was consistently miffed that Dionne was a big star and not she.

Dionnefan
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:04 am

Re: Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

Postby Dionnefan » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:19 pm

I have always felt that Dionne does not get the respect from the black community at large because she did not sing an overtly gospel-tinged style and her voice was so perfectly tuned to perform Bacharach/David's more sophisticated pop-leaning compositions. Dionne was just too supper club and apparently even her own aunt shared that assessment.
This was borne out by Estelle Brown's comments in the video---that everyone can sing that way (gospelly style) and that Dionne was unique with her ability to sing a different way.

Dionnefan
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:04 am

Re: Revelations about Dee Dee Warrick

Postby Dionnefan » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:02 pm

Wow this just gets weirder....

I was very happy to see that Cissy issued a statement on behalf of herself, her son Michael AND her niece Dionne stating their disgust that this allegation was leveled against Deedee in a movie of all places and their disbelief in it. Cissy even mentions her love for Dionne and Deedee's mother Lee and how she is glad she is not here to witness this. Also Cissy emphatically mentions that Deedee never 'babysat' Gary or Whitney at that age. I mentioned how odd I thought that was a few weeks ago when I thought it was strange that Deedee had the time to babysit kids in the late 60s-early 70s when she was busy singing and touring. Cissy also mentioned she did not appreciate this claim being used as an 'excuse' for Whitney's later drug abuse.

So basically Cissy, Michael and Dionne are calling Gary a liar?


Return to “The Burt Bacharach Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests