Former actress Denise Gordy recorded an average level of success in her career which lasted for almost three decades. However, she is best recognized for being part of the Gordy family, a famous Black-American family with a rich history in the music industry as label executives. Her uncle is the famous Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Did you know that Gordy is the real mother of Marvin Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III? Learn more below.
Denise Gordy’s Biography
On the 11th of November 1949, Gordy was born in Detroit, Michigan and given the name Denise Georgette Gordy. Being born into a family deeply rooted in the entertainment industry was always an indicator that Gordy was always going to follow her family’s footsteps of her family. In her early twenties, her career officially began. She made her debut performance in the 1972 biopic, Lady Sings the Blues which was about the life of the renowned jazz singer Billie Holiday and culled from her autobiography. Gordy got to showcase her vocal quality as she acted as a nightclub chorus and dancer.
Two years passed before Gordy landed her next role which came in the obscure blaxploitation film, Black Fist. The film starred her now ex-husband Richard Lawson who portrayed one of the main characters. In addition to acting in the film, Gordy also contributed vocals to the film’s soundtrack and also recorded one of its soundtracks titled “Let’s Do It Again.”
Denise Gordy then played an uncredited role in Mahogany, a film directed by her uncle Berry Gordy and produced by his production company Motown Records. A romantic comedy film, it has singer Diana Ross as its lead actress. She made her small screen debut playing as a hooker in a 1976 episode of Starsky & Hutch. The same year, she had a small role in the ABC hit series, Charlie’s Angels.
Denise Gordy ended the 70s with a role in the 1977 film, Scott Joplin. She began the 80s with roles in the TV shows; Enos, At Ease, the NBC primetime soap opera, Bare Essence, ABC’s Fantasy Island and It’s a Living. Gordy’s films in the 80s included; D.C. Cab, My Man Adam, and Reform School Girls. The actress and singer brought her career to an end in 1991, her first and last film of the year was the action drama, Toy Soldiers.
About Denise Gordy’s Ex-husband and Children
Denise Gordy was for over a decade married to actor Richard Lawson. The exact day of their marriage was on New Year’s Eve of 1978. Lawson began his career in the early 70s and have starred in a string of films and TV shows, remaining active till date.
Some of his best-remembered roles came in the film Poltergeist (1982), and the NBC miniseries V where he played the role of Dr. Ben Taylor. Before dabbling into acting, Lawson served in the Vietnam War. He had a near-death experience in 1992 when he was inside the USAir Flight 405 which crashed shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport, in Queens, New York City.
Denise and Lawson would come to divorce in 1989. Their marriage produced one child, a daughter named Bianca Lawson who was born on March 20th, 1979. Bianca followed in her parent’s footsteps to become a TV and film actress, with more success than the former. Richard Lawson in 2015 married his longtime friend, Tina Knowles, who is the mother to singers Beyonce and Solange Knowles.
Denise Gordy’s other child is Marvin Gaye III whom she birthed on 17th November 1966, a few days after her 17th birthday. Being a minor at the time, the son was adopted by Marvin Gaye and his wife, Anna Gordy Gaye – Denise’s aunt. Her aunt, Anna had publicly displayed a fake pregnancy bump shortly before the birth of the boy and the media was led to believe that it was actually their biological son until 1998 when Denise admitted to being Gaye’s biological mother. Marvin Gaye III’s biological father remains a Gordy family secret.
Denise Gory was born to parents named George Weldon Gordy Sr. and Rosemary Gordy. Her paternal grandparents, Berry “Pops” Gordy Sr. and Bertha Fuller Gordy are the originators of what would become a famous family of music industry executives. Her father was the 5th child of the family and among the less famous ones. Born on January 7, 1926, Denise Gordy’s father started a handful of businesses before joining his brother – Berry, the most popular of the Gordys at his thriving Motown Label. At Motown, he served as a songwriter, writing some songs for artists on the Motown roster.
Denise Gordy’s parents had a total of 8 children including two daughters and 6 sons. Among her siblings are Patrice and George Gordy, Jr. Gordy’s mother Rosemary passed away rather too early in 1980 while her father died in his sleep on July 27, 2011, aged 85.