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Luther Vandross On 'Oprah Winfrey'

Source: Paul Natkin / Getty

Iconic crooner Luther Vandross will get his just due in a documentary scheduled to air on multiple channels next year.

Luther: Never Too Much premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January to positive reviews, boosting interest in the 101-minute documentary directed by Dawn Porter. This week it was announced that CNN Films and OWN have picked it up to air on CNN, OWN and Max.

British actor Colin Firth, Jamie Foxx and Datari Turner are among the producers on the doc. Porter’s directing resume includes John Lewis: Good Trouble, The Way I See It about White House photographer Pete Souza, and The Lady Bird Diaries about former First Lady Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson.

Vandross died at the age of 54 in 2005. He was an R&B superstar beloved by Black audiences whose music populated the Quiet Storm format during its heyday on radio. The New York native started his career as a background and jingle singer, appearing on albums by David Bowie, Bette Midler, Roberta Flack, Donna Summer and Chaka Khan.

He then became the lead voice for the 80s group Change. The Glow of Love came out in 1980, generating his early hits with the title track and the single “Searching.”  After signing a solo deal with Epic Records in 1981, Vandross went on to record R&B classics like “Never Too Much,” “Power of Love/Love Power,” “Any Love” and “Here and Now,” among others.

“Wherever you are, the opening refrains of ‘Never Too Much’ make a room fill with joy,” Porter told Sundance.org prior to the film’s premiere. “But there was so much of his story I never knew. It was one continual surprise after another.”

Porter used a treasure trove of archival footage that helped center Vandross’ take on his life and career in the narrative. But Luther: Never Too Much acknowledges the rumors about his sexuality which he never confirmed during his lifetime.

“I wanted Luther to tell his own story as much as possible,” Porter told Deadline earlier this year. “So that’s why it was such a gift to have all this archival. And so I was like, we’re going to let Luther have the last word, but the last thing I want to do is have anybody think I’m homophobic. So it was a struggle to not kind of go beyond where he wanted to go [in discussing his sexuality]. So we let people who loved him talk about his struggles.”

Foxx, Mariah Carey and other musicians and friends are interviewed for the documentary. Carey and Vandross collaborated on “Endless Love,” their remake of the Lionel Richie and Diana Ross duet for the movie of the same title. Foxx has sung Vandross’s songs during his music performances, convincingly imitating the singer’s famed mellifluous runs.

“I’m thrilled to partner again with CNN Films and OWN to bring this film to audiences,” Porter said in a statement. “Luther’s music is timeless, his legacy is unsurpassed, and we can’t wait for all of his fans new and old to experience his brilliance.”

Watch a live performance of “Never Too Much” below:

 

Jamie Foxx-Produced Luther Vandross Documentary Coming To CNN, Max, & OWN In 2025  was originally published on cassiuslife.com

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