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Marilyn McCoo

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Information about Marilyn McCoo

Profile image of Marilyn McCoo

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer
Actress

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/30/1943
Birth Location:
Jersey City, New Jersey

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Singer
Actress

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/30/1943
Birth Location:
Jersey City
See how Marilyn McCoo is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer and actress Marilyn McCoo was born on September 30, 1943 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her parents, Mary and Waymon McCoo, were both doctors and moved the family to Los Angeles, California when McCoo was seven years old. She graduated from Dorsey High School and went on to attend the University of California-Los Angeles, where she received her B.S. degree in business administration.

In 1962, McCoo entered the Miss Bronze California beauty pageant where she won the Grand Talent award and met Lamonte McLemore, who asked her to join his singing group, the Hi-Fi’s. She went on to perform with Ray Charles and record the single "Lonesome Mood." The Hi-Fi’s disbanded in 1965, and that same year McCoo, McLemore, Florence LaRue, Ron Townson, and Billy Davis, Jr. formed The Versatiles. The group signed to the Soul City label, changed their name to The 5th Dimension, and recorded their first hit in 1966, "Go Where You Wanna Go." In 1967, they released “Up, Up, and Away,” which won four Grammy Awards and was the title track to the 5th Dimension's first hit album. In 1969, The 5th Dimension released The Age of Aquarius. The album's first single, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In," became a mega-hit and occupied the number one spot on the charts for six weeks. It earned the group two more Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year.

In 1969, McCoo married bandmate Billy Davis, Jr., and in 1975, they left The 5th Dimension. Together, they released 1976's I Hope We Get To Love In Time, featuring the single, "You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)." The song went straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned the duo a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus. McCoo and Davis went on to host The Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. Show on CBS in 1977. In the 1980s McCoo hosted the music countdown show Solid Gold. She also had a recurring spot on the soap opera Days of Our Lives in the 1980s, and acted in a number of movies. She appeared on stage in productions of Anything Goes, A...My Name is Alice, Man of La Mancha, and the Broadway production of Show Boat.

McCoo released a solo album, Solid Gold, in 1983, and then a gospel album in 1991 entitled The Me Nobody Knows; its title single went to number one on the gospel charts. She received another Grammy Award the following year for participating as a guest artist on Quincy Jones’ Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, which won Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. In 2004, McCoo and Davis co-authored the book Up, Up and Away…How We Found Love, Faith and Lasting Marriage in the Entertainment World.

McCoo has also earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and The 5th Dimension was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002. She has received two honorary doctorate degrees and served on the boards of the Children's Miracle Network, the Los Angeles Mission, and the Cancer Research Foundation.

Marilyn McCoo was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 29, 2014.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marilyn McCoo's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marilyn McCoo lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her mother's upbringing and education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marilyn McCoo describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marily McCoo talks about her father's career as a singer
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marily McCoo describes how her parents met and their move to Columbus, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her family's civil rights activism
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marily McCoo describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marily McCoo talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marily McCoo describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marily McCoo describes her early childhood education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her childhood in Columbus, Georgia and her family's move to Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marilyn McCoo describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marilyn McCoo describes her early interest in show business
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marilyn McCoo describes the role of religion in her upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marilyn McCoo talks about the importance of music in her family.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her early education and her parents' influence on her career path
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marilyn McCoo describes her early musical education and her mentor Eddie Beal
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marilyn McCoo describes the music she listened to and how it influenced her
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marilyn McCoo shares her experience in high school activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marilyn McCoo describes singing with her sisters as a youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her early career goals and her decision to attend college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her private vocal lessons with Florence Russell during her college years
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marilyn McCoo talks about competing in Miss Bronze California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marilyn McCoo talks about meeting HistoryMaker Lamonte McLemore and joining the Hi-Fi's.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marilyn McCoo talks about performing with the Hi-Fi's and her mother's reaction.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her centerfold in Jet magazine
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her friend, actress Vonetta McGee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marilyn McCoo talks about working with Ray Charles through the Hi-Fi's
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marilyn McCoo describes her experience as a woman in the entertainment world
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Marilyn McCoo talks about the music she performed with the Hi-Fi's and Ray Charles
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Marilyn McCoo talks about returning to school to study business administration
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Marilyn McCoo talks about earning money on the road with the Hi-Fi's
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her decision to leave the Hi-Fi's
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her career goals after leaving the Hi-Fi's