Anita Pointer, one of the Grammy award-winning Pointer Sisters whose string of hits included Automatic and I’m So Excited, has died aged 74. She was surrounded by family at her Beverly Hills home in California when she died on New Year’s Eve, her publicist, Roger Neal, said.
In a statement, her family said they were deeply saddened by the loss. “She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long,” they said. “Her love of our family will live on in each of us. Heaven is a more loving, beautiful place with Anita there.”
The Pointer Sisters group was initially two sisters, June and Bonnie, who performed as a duo in the late 1960s. Anita, the second oldest, and Ruth, the youngest, subsequently joined and they released their debut album, The Pointer Sisters, with their first hit single, Yes We Can Can, in 1973.
In 1975 their song Fairytale, written by Anita and Bonnie with Anita on lead vocals, won a Grammy for best country vocal performance. It led to the Pointer Sisters becoming the first black female group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Bonnie left in 1978 and the group almost disbanded. But they kept on and it was Anita, June and Ruth who then reached stratospheric commercial success in the 1980s with top 10 hits that also included Jump (For My Love), Slow Hand, He’s So Shy and Fire, written by Bruce Springsteen.
Their song Neutron Dance became even better known when it was used in the film Beverly Hills Cop to the opening and spectacularly crash-filled chase sequence.
In 1987 Anita released her first solo album, Love for What It Is, and the single Overnight Success.
Pointer retired from performing in 2015. Ruth is now the only surviving Pointer Sister, as June died in 2006 and Bonnie in 2020. Anita’s daughter, Jada, died in 2003, leading Anita to take over raising her granddaug