Dionne Warwick puts on a brave face
Dionne Warwick has told fans she is fine and they should not worry about her after the American star’s shock announcement last month that she was filing for bankruptcy after amassing tax debts of nearly $10 million (£6.6 million) since 1991.
Her sole UK appearance this year is at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on May 1 and 2, and at the time of writing the organisers said she was still scheduled to perform.
Court papers showed the 72-year-old, famous worldwide for classic hits like ‘Walk On By’, ‘Do You Know The Way To San Jose’ and ‘I Say A Little Prayer’, owed almost $7 million to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service from 1991 to 1999 and more than $3 million in business taxes to the state of California where she lives.
A spokesman for Dionne said the debts arose when a former business manager mishandled her finances in the 1980s and 90s. Dionne had paid back the actual amount of the taxes but not penalties and interest that had accumulated over the years, he said.
The scale of her bankruptcy staggered the world of showbusiness because Dionne has long been one of the biggest female names in pop music, having sold more than 100 million records since the 1960s.
“I’m sure you have been made aware via the Internet that I have filed for bankruptcy,” Dionne said in a message to her fans.
“I am okay and don’t want any of you to worry about this. As with so many things in our lifetime, objects that are sometimes unavoidable will crop up.
“Just keep a positive thought going around me and as I have been told on many occasions, ‘This too shall pass’. Sending love to you all.”
It was only last year that Dionne was celebrating her 50th anniversary with a world tour and a new CD
The year proved a tough one on the personal front with the deaths of her niece Whitney Houston in February and then Hal David, co-writer with Burt Bacharach of so many of her hits and other well-known songs, in September.
But Dionne said she had found great comfort from the love of her fans and from her own family, underlined by both her sons Damon and David being heavily involved in her CD, simply entitled “Now”.
Dionne began her career as a session singer and it was Burt Bacharach who spotted her potential when she was doing backing vocals for a recording by The Drifters.
He once said: “She has a tremendous strong side and a delicacy when singing softly – like miniature ships in bottles.”
Dionne’s first single was ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ in 1962. The song, later a hit for The Swinging Blue Jeans, was written for her by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was the start of more than 50 US hit singles.
Her biggest UK hits included ‘Walk On By’, ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’, ‘Message To Michael’, ‘Trains And Boats And Planes’, ‘Valley Of The Dolls’, ‘I Say A Little Prayer’, ‘Do You Know The Way To San Jose’, ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’, ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘That’s What Friends Are For’.
Underlining her worldwide status as a star. Dionne was appointed a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization and a United States Ambassador of Health.