Family Upset Over Marvin Gaye Film’s Emphasis On Late Singer’s Troubled Times

Source: Susan Whitall / The Detroit News

In the 29 years since Marvin Gaye’s death, many filmmakers have tried to make films depicting his dramatic life, among them Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous”) and former Motown executive Suzanne de Passe. Each project has crashed and burned. It’s surprising, because Gaye’s allure has only grown since his April 1, 1984, death, when he was shot and killed by his father after an argument.

With a career that started with suave, jazzy standards and hip uptempo pop hits (“Distant Lover,” “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”), rhythmic genius (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”) and the deepest, most poetic socio-political commentary (“What’s Going On”), the only Motown stars to rival his fame are Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.

But now “Sexual Healing,” a film focusing on the time Gaye spent in Ostend, Belgium, in the early 1980s, is on track to start filming in Europe soon.

Nona Gaye, the singer’s only daughter, says the film is happening at an emotionally difficult period for her, coming at the same time the play “My Brother, Marvin” is touring the country. The play is based upon Gaye’s sister Zeola’s book about how he was shot and killed by his father. Nona Gaye insists the family knows a film about her father’s life is inevitable.

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