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Who's Who!? In Memory of the Pointer Sisters' Career

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Who’s Who!? In Memory of the Pointer Sisters' Career








Okay, it took me hours to figure out who is who of the Pointer Sisters. And so, since I read that many people had the same problem that I did, I decided to put some names to some of the pictures of the sisters. After researching and listening to their music for hours, I really can say, I believe they are so awesome and will cherish their memory. Three of the Pointer sisters have passed and now, only one is still alive and I hope that she will live on for many more years to come. At any rate following is a brief historical account of each of the sisters and their pictures just in case anyone was trying to figure out who is who!


[1] Ruth Pointer is the oldest sister, and she is still living!

[2] Anita Pointer is the next in line and she is the one that just passed away on December 31, 2022, at the age of 74.

[3] Bonnie Pointer is the third sister and she passed away recently too, in 2020 at the age of 69.

[4] June was the baby and she passed away first, at the young age of 52 in 2006.



They have two brothers and so, there were six (6) of them all born to their parents, Reverend Elton Pointer, and mother, Sarah Pointer. They are from Arkansas, but the family moved to California with the girls who were very young. Initially, it was the two youngest girls, Bonnie, and June, that started the group. They started a duet and began to sing in a community choir. And when Anita saw them perform, she was so amazed that she decided to quit her job and join them. Finally, in the early 1970s, the oldest sister, Ruth joined the last. Their first hit was a country western song and to their surprise, they became nominated for a Grammy! They recorded the song called Fairytale, in Nashville, Tennessee. This song became so popular that Elvis Presley asked them could he sang it and so, he also made the song popular and sang it for many years.  The sisters act included their style of clothes, vintage. But Ruth later wrote a book and in it, she shared all of the ups and downs they experienced throughout their career. So now, is a breakdown on each of the girls.


[1] June, the baby of the family, my favorite[!], suffered a lot of hardship even before the fame. She was gang raped and never got over the horror. Early in the 1970s, her sisters forced her to go to a rehabilitation center to deal with her alcohol problem and she had major problems with drugs too. Sometimes, she is the one in the group that sported a beautiful afro. I finally was able to distinguish her in the group because she had a distinct overbite. Since she was the youngest, her sisters doted over her though. Anita once told the story about how, in the hotel room, they were trying to decide on what to wear for a performance, and June refused to wear what they decided, so she went into the bathroom and set hers on fire in the bathtub! Again though, June was never able to get over her earlier trauma and continued to do drugs. In 2006, she was admitted to the hospital in February and found to have severe cancer. She died a few months later in April. June never had any children. Prior to June’s death, three of the sisters appeared on a talk show with their mother Sarah and even at this time, June was having problems with drugs and alcohol.
















[2] Bonnie is the third daughter, and she seems to be a little more darker complexion in the group photos. However, part of the reason I had a hard time figuring out who was who is because in the earlier photos, they all looked much more darker skinned than they were later! Also Bonnie seems to be the shortest of the group, but to my surprise, the Pointer sisters are all sort of tall! Now, Bonnie’s real name is Patricia. And, she left the group early. She left the group in 1977 to become a solo act and she also married around that same time. Her husband was in the music industry and for some reason, it seems like although they stayed married for many years, they drifted apart later. They stayed married for about 35 years and then divorced. Bonnie never had any children. She became close to her sister Anita.















[3] Anita was the second daughter born to her mother Sarah, and she became known to be the most levelheaded sister in the group. It took me a while to distinguish Anita. In the early pictures, she is easy to distinguish because she had a very obvious gap in her teeth. After she joined the group, she became one of the main lead vocalists of the sisters. And she is the one that sang the lead on the first hit, Fairytale. I think the baby, June, sang the lead on the hit, Jump. Now, Anita also wrote a book called, Fairytale, and the book cover features all of the sisters in vintage clothes. In 2003, Anita’s daughter, Jada, died at the age of 37 due to cancer. And, it hit her very hard. She was also divorced.




















[4] Ruth is the oldest and she said that she was a wild child. She seems to me, to be the tallest of the girls. She too is one of my favorites. In one talk show, Ruth, humorously explained that one of the songs was initially written for a male voice and her sister’s decided that they wanted to sing that song. When it was asked, who will sing the base, they all said, “Well, Ruth can sing that part!” And Ruth said some people heard the song and thought that the deep voice was a man. After a while, I can now distinguish Ruth and June in group acts, but at times, it takes me a while to figure out Bonnie and Anita. Prior to Ruth joining the group, she said that she got pregnant at the age of 17 and married. She was married a total of five times! Initially, she had to get on welfare and at this time, she became addicted to drugs, alcohol and sex. She also explained that she had a child with the Temptation’s singer, Dennis Edwards, and she said that she stole him from Aretha Franklin. He too became addicted to drugs and was eventually kicked out of the Temptations. One day, Ruth became so sick that she was told she would die if she did not stop doing drugs and alcohol. So she did and soon after had gained a lot of weight. She soon met her fifth husband at a gym and they have been married for 25 years. At the time of this marriage, she was already a grandmother but wanted to have children again. She also had her tubes tied, so she found a donor and eventually had fraternal twins in 1993.












It was only a few years later and after this time period that the hardship began with the deaths in the family. The father was the first to pass in 1979. Mother Sarah died in 2000. In 2003, Anita’s daughter Jada died. Three years later, in 2006 June Pointer died. And then due to alcoholism, Bonnie also had severe health problems. She died in 2020. And now, Anita Pointer has just passed. Ruth and the two beloved brothers are still living. For the sisters that have passed; May they all rest in peace.





The Pointer Sisters (L-R) June, Ruth, Bonnie and Anita Pointer are pictured in this photo dated Jan. 16, 1974.





From left to right; June, Bonnie, Anita, Ruth Pointer—The Pointer Sisters 




left to right; Ruth, Anita, Bonnie, June





L/R June, Anita, and Ruth




Carol Burnette Show; My Fair Lady--The Pointer Sisters from L/R; Bonnie, Ruth, Anita, and June Pointer



The Carol Burnette Show; Save the Bones For Henry Jones; The Pointer Sisters from l/r; l/ R Bonnie [green scarf], Ruth [yellow scarf], and Anita [blue scarf]  




The Carol Burnette Show; Cinderella Gets It On; The Pointer Sisters

l/r; Anita, Ruth, and Bonnie Pointer




L/R; Bonnie, June, Ruth and Anita Pointer



Ruth Pointer on "Automatic" (The Pointer Sisters)




Ruth Pointer on The Pointer Sisters (Apollo Theater Soundstage)





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@Chevdove, thanks for the excellent identification and background on the Pointer Sisters.👍🏿


The Pointer Sisters thrived in the 1970s which was a great time for Black music and arguably its best decade. There were so many groups, bands, artists and musicians.


The downside to the 1970s music scene was alcohol and drug use was rampant. No surprise the sisters had their struggles. Amazing to live through and talk about it. 


Here is my favorite Pointer Sisters song. It was written and produced by the late great,  legendary Allen Toussaint from New Orleans. 


I'm grateful the best of Black music has been recorded. Even when the artists are no longer relevant musically and/or with us on this side of glory, we still have their music.😎

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On 1/4/2023 at 11:02 PM, ProfD said:

thanks for the excellent identification and background on the Pointer Sisters.👍🏿


The Pointer Sisters thrived in the 1970s which was a great time for Black music and arguably its best decade. There were so many groups, bands, artists and musicians.


The downside to the 1970s music scene was alcohol and drug use was rampant. No surprise the sisters had their struggles. Amazing to live through and talk about it. 


Yes, Absolutely!



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