Grammy winning entertainer Tina Turner has succumbed to cancer at her home in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland. She was 83.
The singer and actress was one of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century. In addition to winning eight Grammy Awards for her music, she starred in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) as Auntie Entity and appeared in Tommy (1975) as the Acid Queen and The Last Action Hero (1993) as the mayor of Los Angeles. She was also in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) as one of the guests at Heartland.
Anna Mae Bullock was born in Brownsville, Tennessee November 26, 1939. She recorded her first album, “Boxtop,” in 1958 under the stage name Little Ann. She started performing with Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm in 1958. She married Ike Turner in 1962 but began performing and recording as Tina Turner in 1960. She grew up in Nutbush, TN a rural unincorporated community in Haywood, County, TN. She wrote and performed a song about Nutbush with her then-husband, Ike Turner. Ike and Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits lyrics – YouTube. In Nutbush, she attended a one-room schoolhouse, Flagg Grove School, built in 1889. The schoolhouse has been moved to Brownsville, TN to the West Delta Heritage Center and is now the Tina Turner Museum. The western part of the building has her costume from Mad Max and other memorabilia. The eastern part of the building has historical exhibits explaining what education was like in segregated schools in rural Tennessee in the early 20th century. She later attended George Washington Carver High School in Brownsville. She was a cheerleader and played on the girls’ basketball team. When she was sixteen she went to stay with relatives in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Sumner High School.
Tina and Ike Turner divorced in 1978 after sixteen years of tumultuous, unhappy marriage, but phenomenal music making. She remarried German actor/producer Erwin Bach in 2013. The two lived together in Switzerland. Frau Bach became a naturalized Swiss citizen in 2013.
She had two biological sons, Raymond Craig Hill, by saxophonist Raymond Hill (1958-2018) (later renamed Craig Raymond Turner after Ike Turner adopted him, and Ronald “Ronnie” Renelle Turner (1960-2022) by Ike Turner. She adopted two of Ike’s children by other women, Ike Turner, Jr., and Michael Turner, and tried to be a good stepmother to all of Ike’s children, staying on good terms with some long after the divorce.
Tina Turner was predeceased by her sisters Evelyn Currie and Alline Bullock, and her sons Craig Turner and Ronnie Turner. She is survived by her second husband Erwin Bach, and her grandchildren. She will be mourned by millions of fans, including the musicians and actors she performed with.
She had been in poor health for quite some time, a stroke survivor, on dialysis for kidney problems, She was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2013. Her husband donated a kidney to her; she also suffered from high blood pressure and scatological difficulties She also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, after years of being a battered wife.
Tina Turner described herself as a Baptist-Buddhist. She was raised in the Baptist Church. Both her father and her grandfather were church deacons. Her first musical training was in the church choir. She converted to Buddhism as an adult.
Tina Turner the Author
Tina Turner wrote three memoirs.
She co-wrote her first autobiography, I, Tina in 1986, writing with Kurt Loder, a former editor of the Rolling Stone. This book was the basis for the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It? (1993), where Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda of Wakanda in the MCU’s Black Panther played Tina Turner. Laurence Fishburne (Bill Foster in Ant-man and the Wasp) played Ike Turner.
In 2018 she released My Love Story.
She co-wrote Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good with Taro Gold and Regula Curti. It was wildly popular in Europe, and highly praised in North America. The book was released in 2020.
Partial Chronolgy of Awards and Honors
- 1967 Tina Turner became both the first Black artist and the first female artist to appear on the cover of the Rolling Stone.
- 1991, she and her ex-husband, Ike Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Duo.
- 1993, World Music Awards presented her with the Legend Award.
- 1996 France inducted her into la Légion d’honneur.
- 2005 Tina Turner received the Kennedy Center Honors.
- 2021, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.
- 2005 Tina Turner received the Kennedy Center Honors.
- 2021 The University of Bern granted her an honorary doctorate for her “unique musical and artistic life’s work”
Tributes and Farewells
Actress Angela Bassett said “How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world? Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion, and freedom should look like.”
Mick Jagger tweeted “I’m so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend Tina Turner. She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.”
Viola Davis eulogized her thusly: “Iconic. Beautiful. A survivor. Brilliance. Our first symbol of excellence and unbridled ownership of sexuality!! You were my childhood. Oh man!!! God is getting an angel today!!! Rest well Ms. Tina Turner. We will bask in your legacy!!!”
We hope knowing she is out of pain gives her family some comfort.
Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.