BEVERLY HILLS (CNS) - Grammy-winning singer Anita Pointer, a founding member of the Pointer Sisters who had a string of hit songs in the 70s and 80s, has died of cancer at her home in Beverly Hills, her publicist said. She was 74.
"Sad to report my client, Grammy Winner Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters, has passed away after a heroic battle with cancer," Roger Neal of Neal Public Relations tweeted Saturday. "Her family was around her at the time of her death. She passed peacefully."
Pointer's family confirmed her death on the group's website.
"While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada, and her sisters June & Bonnie and at peace," the family statement said. "She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long. Her love of our family will live on in each of us. Please respect our privacy during this period of grief and loss. Heaven is a more loving beautiful place with Anita there."
Born Jan. 23, 1948 in Oakland, Anita Pointer was the oldest of the quartet that gained fame as the Pointer Sisters with such hits as "He's So Shy, "Slow Hand," "Fire," "Neutron Dance," "Automatic," "Jump (For My Love)" and "I'm So Excited." The group's breakout hit, "Yes We Can Can" came from their self-titled debut album in 1973.
Between 1973 and 1985, the group had 13 Top 20 hits. They won three Grammy Awards and received seven other nominations.
The sisters first gained notoriety singing at West Oakland Church of God where their parents, Elton and Sarah, were pastors.
Known for their "thrift-deco glad rags" fashion sense, the Pointer Sisters embraced a wide range of singing styles including pop, jazz, electronic music, bebop, blues, soul, funk, dance, country and rock.
They became the first Black female group to perform at The Grand Ole Opry in 1974 and won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance for the song "Fairytale."
The Pointer Sisters also toured for 48 weeks with the play "Ain't Misbehavin'," appeared in the 1976 film "Car Wash" and performed several songs on "Sesame Street."
In 1994, they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Anita Pointer was considered the group's leader and occasional songwriter. The other original members were her sisters June, who died in 2006; Bonnie, who died in 2020; and Ruth. Bonnie left the group in 1978 to pursue a solo career.
In recent years, other relatives -- including Ruth Pointer's daughter Issa and granddaughter Sadako -- have stepped in to replace departed members.
Anita Pointer and her brother, Fritz, co-authored a family memoir titled "Fairytale: The Pointer Sisters' Family Story," which was released in February 2020.
She is survived by her sister Ruth, the last surviving member of the original Pointer Sisters; two brothers, Aaron and Fritz; and one granddaughter. Her daughter, Jada, died of cancer in 2003.