Gladys Horton Cause of Death: How the Marvelettes’ Lead Singer Passed Away

Gladys Horton was an American R&B and pop singer who co-founded the all-female group The Marvelettes in 1960. She sang lead vocals on many of the group’s hits, including “Please Mr. Postman”, “Playboy”, “Beechwood 4-5789” and “Too Many Fish in the Sea”. She was also the voice behind the iconic line “D-liver D-letter D-sooner D-better” in “Please Mr. Postman”, which became Motown’s first number one pop hit in 196

Early Life and Career

Horton was born on May 30, 1945 in Gainesville, Florida. She was orphaned before her first birthday and brought up in foster care in Inkster, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. She started singing in the glee club at Inkster High School, where she met her future bandmates Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart and Georgia Dobbins. They formed a group called the Marvels and entered a school talent contest, which led to an audition with Motown founder Berry Gordy and singer Smokey Robinson

They changed their name to the Marvelettes and recorded “Please Mr. Postman” at their first session, with Dobbins writing the lyrics and Horton singing the lead. The song was a huge success, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and selling over a million copies. It was later covered by the Beatles, the Carpenters and many others. The Marvelettes followed up with more hits, such as “Twistin’ Postman”, “Strange I Know”, “Someday, Someway” and “Forever”

Struggles and Decline

Despite their early popularity, the Marvelettes faced several challenges and setbacks in their career. They had to compete with other Motown girl groups, such as the Supremes, the Vandellas and the Velvelettes, who often received more attention and promotion from the label. They also missed the opportunity to record “Where Did Our Love Go”, which was written for them by Holland-Dozier-Holland, but they rejected it and it became a smash hit for the Supremes

The group also suffered from personal problems, such as health issues, substance abuse and marital troubles. Cowart left the group in 1963 due to stage fright and mental breakdown. Tillman left in 1965 due to sickle cell anemia and lupus, and died in 1980. Horton left in 1967 after getting married and having children. She was replaced by Ann Bogan, who joined Anderson and Young as the remaining members. The group continued to record until 1970, but their popularity declined and they disbanded in 1971

Later Years and Death

After leaving the Marvelettes, Horton moved to Los Angeles and tried to pursue a solo career, but she was unsuccessful. She also struggled with alcoholism and domestic violence. She occasionally reunited with her former bandmates for nostalgia shows and charity events. She also sued Motown for unpaid royalties and tried to reclaim the rights to the Marvelettes’ name

Horton suffered a stroke in 2010 and was placed in a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, California, where she died on January 26, 2011, at the age of 65. Her son, Vaughn Thornton, announced her death to the media. She was survived by her three children and two grandchildren

Horton was remembered as a pioneer of Motown music and a trailblazer for female singers. She was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame with the Marvelettes. She also received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and a gold record from the RIAA for “Please Mr. Postman”


Gladys Horton was a talented and influential singer who co-founded the Marvelettes and sang on Motown’s first number one pop hit. She had a successful career in the early 1960s, but faced many difficulties and challenges later on. She died in 2011 from complications of a stroke. She left behind a legacy of music and inspiration for generations of fans and artists.

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