An extremely successful female recording artist, Marilyn's combined record sales, as a solo performer, amember of The 5thDimension and a part of a duo with husband, Billy Davis, Jr., ranks her among the top10 black female vocalists of the "rock era." This places her among such greats as Diana Ross, ArethaFranklin and Gladys Knight.For all the success Marilyn McCoo has enjoyed, she continues to pursue a multi-dimensional career as asinger and entertainer, an always-in-demand host and respected actress.Marilyn has won a total of eight Grammys.
When she sang with The 5th Dimension, the group won six Grammys. Marilyn and her husband. Billy Davis, Jr., won a Grammy (Best R&B Vocal Performance by aDuo) for "You Don't Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)."Her eighth Grammy was for participating as a guest artist on Quincy Jones' "Handel's Messiah: A SoulfulCelebration" (Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album). Her first gospel album, "The Me NobodyKnows," was nominated for a Grammy and the title single went to #1 on the gospel charts.
The past few years have been especially exciting ones. Marilyn starred as Julie in the Broadway revival of"Showboat," directed by Hal Prince, and then traveled with the show to Chicago. She has united with her husband of thirty years. Billy Davis, Jr., for a tour of concerts across the country entitled "It Takes Two," acelebration of great rock and soul duets from the `60s, `70s and `80s, which premiered at the Las VegasHilton.The first three months of 1999 the couple joined in the celebration of the Duke Ellington Centennial by touring in the successful production "Hit Me With A Hot Note! - The Duke Ellington Songbook." And, in the midst of her heavy touring schedule, Marilyn guest starred in an episode of the WB's popular "JamieFoxx Show" with Billy.
From Presidential galas to television specials to headlining live performances, the demand for Marilyn'stalents as an entertainer extraordinaire have been non-stop. As a solo performer she has headlinedsuccessful engagements at major venues in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Atlantic City, as well as concerttheatres throughout the country.
When the Pope came to the United States in 1987, Marilyn and Billy were asked to perform for the Pontiff. Many of the special events she has been featured in were also televised specials. Marilyn has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra for the "live" PBS special, "The National Memorial Day Concert,"a musical salute to those who served in the Persian Gulf War. She was featured in "The Constitution Bicentennial" for CBS-TV. And, as sole performer on the "ABUPopular Song Contest" in New Zealand, Marilyn was viewed by more than 400 million people around theworld.
In recent years Marilyn has put an emphasis on exploring her considerable acting skills. In addition to hersuccessful run on Broadway and in Chicago as Julie in "Showboat," her other forays in musical theatreinclude roles as Effie in "Dreamgirls" and Aldonza in "Man of La Mancha." Marilyn also starred in"Anything Goes" and "A-My Name Is Alice." All garnered overwhelmingly enthusiastic reviews in addition to live theatre. Marilyn's acting career includes guest starring roles in television series and movies-of-the-week and a recurring role on the soapopera "Days of Our Lives." Although her most recent role was on WB's popular "Jamie Foxx Show," other television acting credits include guest starring roles in the ABC-TV movie "The Fantastic World of D.C.Collins," "Night Court," "The Fall Guy" and "Punky Brewster," among others.
For five years Marilyn shined as host of "Solid Gold," one of the most successful TV-music shows of the`80s. She is one of the most sought after female host/co-host in the entertainment community. She has co-hosted Stellar Gospel Music Awards and the Dove Awards. She served as one of the hosts of the historic Live Aid Concert. Because of her exceptional musical background, she was asked to host a Fox Network's pre-Grammy special. She narrated the Emmy Award winning program "Agents of Change: A Blackboard Revolution, Aging Parents: Planning for the Future" as well as hosted and performed on "The World's LargestConcert," all for PBS.
Marilyn has appeared as a guest on virtually all of the morning and late night television talk shows. She can often be seen on television as a featured performer with special appearances on numerous specials such as "Christmas In Washington" (NBC), "Night of 100 Stars" (NBC), "Happy Birthday Hollywood" (ABC) and "The 25thAnnual NAACP Image Awards." Marilyn was featured in the Em my Award winning "MotownReturns to the Apollo" (NBC).
In addition to all her professional activities, Marilyn finds time to be actively involved with charitable organizations. For 16 years she co-hosted the national Children's Miracle Network Telethon. For 12 years she co-hosted the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars telethon which benefited the United Negro College Fund. She has also appeared in several "DIVAS: Simply Singing!" productions to benefit the Minority AIDS Project.
In recognition of her charitable work. Talladega College in Alabama presented Marilyn with an HonoraryDoctorate Degree and Harvard University awarded her The Harvard Foundation Award.
Marilyn McCoo, born on September 30th in Jersey City to parents who are both doctors, began singing as she learned to talk. Her talent and classic beauty brought Marilyn the Grand Talent Award in the Miss Bronze California Pageant and a brief encounter with the modeling profession and photographer/musician Lamonte McLemore. Her association with McLemore eventually led to the formation of The 5thDimension.
Reigning over record charts throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, The 5thDimension won sixGrammys. In August of 1991 Marilyn along with the other members of The Original 5thDimension, was honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Several years ago Arista Records celebrated the accomplishments of The Onginal 5thDimension with the release of a 36 song Anthology CD, Up-Up andAway: The Definitive Collection.
Her marriage to fellow group member Billy Davis, Jr., added to this high point, and after a decade with The 5thDimension, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., decided to leave the group and establishthemselves as a duo. Their first single "You Done Have To Be A Star (To Be in My Show)" was a #1 hit, a certified RIAA Gold million seller and earned them a Grammy far Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo.
"The Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. Show" was their reward from impressed network television executives. The prime time summer series premiered on CBS on June 15, 1977, and led Marilyn and Billy into the 1980s as one of America's most successful and popular acts. They headlined in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Atlantic City; played to sold-out engagements in Europe and Japan; and they won the prestigious Grand Prize at the Tokyo Music Festival.
Marilyn and Billy celebrated 30 years of marriage on July 26,1999. Surrounded by musicians and accomplished singer/dancers, they are currently touring major venues through out the U.S. with their show "It Takes Two." A high energy musical celebration of great rock and soul duets for the `60s, `70s and `80s the show includes musical selections such as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Chain of Fools," "Hold On I'mComing," "I Got You Babe and Proud Mary," among others. She and Billy are working on a book. In addition,.they will be going into the studio soon to record a new album.