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Passings / Dee Dee Warwick

R&B artist, sister of singer Dionne

October 20, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Dee Dee Warwick, 63, an R&B singer who recorded a few hits in the 1960s and was the sister of entertainer Dionne Warwick, died Saturday at a rest home in South Orange, N.J., according to publicist Kevin Sasaki. The cause of death was not announced, but Sasaki said she had been in failing health for several months.

A native of Newark, Warwick was born Delia Mae Warrick but changed her name to Warwick in the early 1960s. She began singing with her sister Dionne as a teenager in church in the 1950s when they formed the Gospelaires. Like many gospel singers before her, Warwick moved into the secular soul market in the 1960s and became an in-demand session vocalist, contributing to recordings by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Nina Simone and Warwick's sister, Dionne.

Robert Hilburn, the former pop music critic for The Times, wrote some years ago that Warwick's recording of "She Didn't Know (She Kept on Talking)," for Atlantic's Atco division in 1970, should have made her a star in her own right.

It didn't, but the song was a top 10 R&B single and earned her a Grammy nomination.

Warwick had a few more commercial successes over the years, but in the last few years worked primarily on her sister's recordings.

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