June Pointer, the youngest of the Grammy-winning trio the Pointer Sisters, who scored hits with “I’m So Excited” and “Jump (For My Love),” died of an undisclosed type of cancer on Tuesday in Los Angeles. She was fifty-two years old.
June had been hospitalized since February, and, according to a family statement, died “in the arms of her sisters, Ruth and Anita,” and with her brothers Aaron and Fritz “by her side.” The statement continues, “Although her sister, Bonnie, was unable to be present, she was with her in spirit.”
The singing sisters got their start in San Francisco in the early Seventies as a quartet, sporting a Forties thrift-shop look and a vintage vocal style that incorporated scat and be-bop. The group sang backup for Grace Slick, Boz Scaggs, Taj Mahal and Elvin Bishop, before releasing their self-titled debut in 1973. That album spawned their first Grammy win for the song “Fairytale.”
After Bonnie left in 1977 to pursue a solo career with Motown Records, the sisters were reinvented under the guidance of Richard Perry as the debut act for his new label, Planet Records. With their album of rock covers, Energy, the trio became just a bit edgier. “Singing is our lives,” June told Rolling Stone at the time, “and we’re glad to be back. The past few years have
been like show-business boot camp, but things are really different now. We’re relaxed and happy and see nothing but smooth sailing ahead.”
The group released several more albums, including 1984’s Grammy-winning Break Out, which featured the hits “Jump (For My Love),” “Automatic” and “Neutron Dance.” During that decade, June recorded two solo albums, 1983’s Baby Sister and 1989’s June Pointer, and recorded a duet with Dionne Warwick, “Heartbreak of Love,” for Warwick’s 1987 album, Reservations for Two.
In 2004, June was arrested outside the Hollywood apartment of her sister Bonnie and charged with felony cocaine possession. She was later ordered to attend rehab. At the time, she had not performed with the Pointer Sisters in more than three years.
Memorial service arrangements for June Pointer are still being made.