Legendary R&B singer and songwriter James Ingram dead at 66

Cheryl Kahla
Jan 30, 2019
04:23 P.M.
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James Ingram, whose career spanned more than three decades, lost the battle against brain cancer on Tuesday. 


The news was shared on Twitter by his long-time friend and creative partner, Debbie Allen. She shared a photo of Ingram and wrote in the caption: 

"I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir. He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name."

James Ingram at UNICEF Playlist with the A-List Celebrity Karaoke Benefit. Image credit: Getty/GlobalImagesUkraine


Ingram first rose to fame in 1981, when he recorded vocals for "Just Once" and "You Don't Have The Heart" on Quincy Jones's album. 

The songs brought the awards streaming in, including Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best New Artist. 


During the early eighties, Ingram formed the band Revelation Funk and was nominated for more than 14 Grammy Awards throughout his career. 

"How Do You Keep The Music Playing," a duet he wrote with Patti Austin, earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song in 1983. 


Ingram's 1994 track "The Day I Fall in Love," a duet with Dolly Parton, was the theme song for the movie "Beethoven's 2nd." It was nominated for an Academy Award as well.

Ingram also tried his hand at acting, and appeared in two video shorts, as well as "An American Tail," and "End of the Road." The latter was released in 2018. 


He also appeared as himself in ABC's hit comedy Suburgatory in an episode titled "The Motherload" and in "Cats Don't Dance."

Behind the scenes, Ingram made a name for himself as a prolific songwriter. He co-penned "Pretty Young Thing" with Michael Jackson for the iconic "Thriller" album. 

He also collaborated with Pointer Sisters, Tina Turner, Kenny Rogers, and Ray Charles. Ingram released 31 hit singles and seven albums throughout his career.

He passed away at his Los Angeles home, surrounded by his loved ones. Ingram leaves behind a younger brother, and his wife of 43 years, Debra Robinson.