The Pointer family
- Anita Pointer, who penned many of the Pointer Sisters’ hits, died at the age of 74.
- Her publicist told Insider that she died battling an unspecified cancer.
- Pointer and her sisters broke ground for Black women in country and pop with their hits in the ’70s and ’80s.
Anita Pointer died at her home in Beverly Hills on Saturday at the age of 74, her publicist told Insider.
She had an unspecified cancer, said Roger Neal, a media representative for Pointer, and was surrounded by her sister, Ruth, her brother, Fritz, and her granddaughter, Roxie, when she died.
Pointer was a founding member of the Pointer Sisters, a vocal group from Oakland that achieved critical and commercial success in the ’70s and ’80s, blending genres such as blues, pop, and R&B. In particular, the group broke ground for Black women in country music, becoming the first female African-American group to perform on the long-running Grand Ole Opry radio program.
Ruth, the eldest of Pointer’s siblings, is the sole surviving original member of the group.
“While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada and her sisters June & Bonnie and at peace,” Ruth, as well as Anita’s brothers and granddaughter, said in a statement. “She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long. Her love of our family will live on in each of us. Please respect our privacy during this period of grief and loss. Heaven is a more loving, beautiful place with Anita there.”
Pointer’s only child, Jada, died in 2003. Pointer was the fourth of six children.
Pointer and her sisters first found success in 1973; their self-titled album spawned the hit single “Yes We Can Can,” which reached #11 on the Billboard charts. Many of their songs across more than a dozen studio albums found chart success as well.
On their second album, That’s a Plenty, the track “Fairytale,” co-written by Pointer and her sister, Bonnie, hit No. 13 on the pop charts and crossed over to the country charts. It went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, the group’s first of three, in 1975; Elvis Presley later covered the song on his final album. On the original recording, Pointer was also the lead vocalist, as she was for many of the group’s hits.
“It was so unbelievable that someone like Elvis could relate to the story in that song and want to record it,” Pointer said in a 2006 interview. “I think Elvis did ‘Fairytale’ beautifully. I was very pleased. He really captured the emotion in his version.”
In addition to being the first female African-American act to appear at the Grand Ole Opry, the Pointer Sisters were also the first contemporary artists to perform at the San Francisco Opera House.
“When I hopped on stage with my sisters for the first time, I had no idea the path my life would take, the people I would meet, and the things I would accomplish,” Pointer said in a 2020 memoir she co-wrote with Fritz. “It’s not the hits or misses that are the most important. It’s the experience I’ve had, the lives I’ve touched, and the memories I’ve made.”