Documentary To Tell The Story Of Whitney Houston & 54th Grammy Awards
Music lovers who came of age with Whitney Houston's prime will remember Feb. 11, 2012 as a "Where were you when...?" moment.
That was the afternoon Houston, 54, was found dead in her Beverly Hills Hilton hotel room's bathroom. She was hours away from appearing at a pre-Grammys party thrown by friend, mentor and Arista Records founder Clive Davis. Not four months later, Billboard reports that an upcoming film called "A Death In The Family: The Show Must Go On" will chronicle the chaos that ensued to properly honor Houston's memory at the next night's 54th Annual Grammy Awards.
Fans have seen some of the story. There was host LL Cool J opening the ceremony with a prayer for both the departed four-time Grammy winner and her mourning fall. There was Jennifer Hudson's stirring rendition of "I Will Always Love You," the Dolly Parton cover that Houston made emblematic of her prime years.
What's been untold has been orchestrating the ceremony both before and after her passing. Even so, this was never exactly a "planned" feature, as such.
"There was greater interest than normal [in The Grammys' production] because of the circumstances, but an awful lot of people want to know about the process," said Grammy Awards telecast executive producer Ken Ehrlich. "We never said, 'Let's look back.' It was incredible how much stuff we didn't have because there was little footage other than rehearsals. But we had some B-roll and we lucked out that film crew was following Paul McCartney."
As such, the documentary tells tales between starting with planning Paul McCartney's performances the afternoon of Feb. 10, through the breaking news the following Saturday of Houston's death and into the Sunday afternoon re-write sessions and rehearsals. The feature
LL Cool J, Foo Fighters singer-guitarist Dave Grohl, talent producer Chantel Sausedo and Ehrlich appear in the film's interview footage alongside its, director Louis J. Horvitz, and co-producer Terry Lickona, as well as Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh and Hudson. The 26-minute film will premiere at a June 11 Academy of Television Arts & Sciences event in North Hollywood, to be attended by Grohl, LL and Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow.
The premiere event will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by awards writer David Wild. Following its premiere, it will be made available on Grammy.com and possibly made permanently available at the Grammy Museum.
It will mark the first ceremony ever made chronicling the production of The Grammys. This year's ceremony was watched by 39.9 million viewers, the second-largest audience in the telecast's history.
Host LL Cool J, Grohl, co-producer Terry Lickona, director Louis J. Horvitz, talent producer Chantel Sausedo, Portnow and Ehrlich all appear in the film and will all be involved in a Q&A session after the screening, moderated by Awards writer David Wild. The film also has interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson and Joe Walsh. It will be posted on Grammy.com and plans are being made to have it screened regularly at the Grammy Museum.
The documentary is 26 minutes long and is called A Death in the Family: The Show Must Go On. It is the first documentary about the award ceremony that the Recording Academy has ever made. It will focus on the 48 hours between the Friday afternoon when Paul McCartney's performances were being planned, the news of Whitney Houston's death on Saturday and the rehearsals/re-write sessions on Sunday. The actual ceremony earned 39.9 million viewers, the second largest audience ever.
"There was greater interest than normal because of the circumstances, but an awful lot of people want to know about the process. We never said, 'let's look back.' It was incredible how much stuff we didn't have because there was little footage other than rehearsals. But we had some B-roll and we lucked out that film crew was following Paul McCartney."