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Vanity

Vanity.jpg

Miami Vice Character
Born
January 4, 1959, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Died
February 15, 2016, Fremont, CA (age 57, kidney failure)
Active
1980-1995
Spouse
Anthony Smith (1995-96, divorced)


Denise Katrina Matthews (January 4. 1959 - February 15, 2016) was a former Canadian singer-songwriter-model-actress, later a Christian preacher, previously known as Vanity who appeared as hooker Ali Ferrand in the episode "By Hooker by Crook" of the series Miami Vice.

Career

Matthews was born in Niagara Falls, Canada, and she began her career as a model, appearing in commercials for toothpaste, as well as posing for Playboy twice (1985 and 1988) and appearing as an album cover for the R&B group Cameo twice (Alligator Woman and She's Strange). She then met the singer Prince in 1982 when they were attending the American Music Awards, he as a performer and she as a model. Prince gave her the Vanity name, saying he saw his "female reflection" in Matthews, and brought her, Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie into his entourage as Vanity 6 (the "6" coming from the number of breasts the women have). Their music was infamous for its' sexually charged lyrics, with the best-known single being "Nasty Girl" (#101 on the Billboard Hot 100 but #1 on the Dance charts). Vanity 6 toured with Prince and The Time in 1982 and 1983 before Vanity left the group and Prince, even though she was slated to be the female lead in his movie Purple Rain (replaced by Apollonia Kotero). She recorded several solo albums but found only moderate success, then recorded songs for the soundtrack to (and acted in) Action Jackson (with Jack Thibeau), and her recording career ended. Vanity was also addicted to drugs during this time and that would come back to haunt her later.

Her acting career began with several Canadian B-movies in the early 1980s, then she appeared in 1985's The Last Dragon (with Christopher Murney), and several TV shows.

Personal life/Death

Vanity/Matthews was married once, to Anthony Smith, a former pro football player in 1995 until their 1996 divorce. She had been linked to Prince, Billy Idol, Adam Ant, and Nikki Sixx (though this was disputed by Sixx) in the 1980s. Her drug abuse became so severe she nearly died in 1994, and had to take dialysis five times a day due to kidney damage caused by that abuse (eventually undergoing a transplant in 1997). She became a born-again Christian after her near-death experience, renounced her "Vanity" persona and everything associated with it, began travelling the globe as a Christian speaker, and released a book, Blame It On Vanity, in 2010. Matthews died from kidney failure (the result of her earlier drug abuse) on February 15, 2016 at the age of 57.

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