Dionne Warwick (born December 12, 1940 in East Orange, New Jersey, as Marie Dionne Warrick) is an American singer best known for her work with Hal David and Burt Bacharach as songwriters. Her parents were Mansel Warrick and Lee Drinkard. She began singing gospel with her family, and started her professional solo career after graduating from the University of Hartford. Her first solo single was 1963's "Don't Make Me Over"; her name was misspelled on the credits, and she soon began using the new spelling ("Warwick"). The song was a moderate hit, but the follow-ups were unsuccessful until 1964's "Anyone Who Had a Heart." This was followed by "Walk on By," a major hit that launched her career into the stratosphere.
Warwick weathered the British Invasion better than most American artists, and she released only a few minor hits in the UK during the late 1960s, most notably 1966's "Message to Michael". In the UK a number of Bacharach-David-Warwick songs were covered by UK singer Cilla Black (most notably "Anyone Who Had a Heart"). This upset Warwick and she has described feeling insulted when told that in the UK, record company executives wanted her songs recorded by someone else. Warwick even met Cilla Black whilst on tour in the UK. She recalled what she said to her - " I told her that "You're My World" would be my next single in the States. I honestly believe that if I'd sneezed on my next record, then Cilla would have sneezed on hers too. There was no imagination in her recording."
A 1967 LP called Here Where There Is Love became a big hit, as did her single "I Say a Little Prayer", which is now famous for being featured in the movie, My Best Friend's Wedding. In addition, her 1960s recording of "Wives and Lovers" was used as the theme song for the 1996 hit movie The First Wives Club. Her next big hit was unusual in that it was not written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David; "(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls" was a smash success, as was the Bacharach-penned follow-up, "Do You Know the Way to San JosÃ©?". More hits and a few Grammy Awards followed in the last two years of the 1960s. Her career slowed greatly in the 1970s, with no big hits until 1974's "Then Came You" with the Spinners. In the early 70s, at the advice of a numerologist, both Dionne and her sister DeeDee added an 'e' to the end of Warwicke (later dropped). A five-year hiatus ensued, ending with "I'll Never Love This Way Again," produced by Barry Manilow. The accompanying album, Dionne, was her first to go platinum.
Warwick's next hit was her 1982 full-length collaboration with the Bee Gees, Heartbreaker. In 1986, Warwick led the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) benefit single "That's What Friends Are For" with Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder; it was a number one hit, and garnered Warwick's fifth Grammy.
Her career took a major downturn in the 1990s, with only a few moderate-selling albums released and no major singles. During this period, she was perhaps best known for hosting infomercials for the Psychic Friends Network, a 900 number psychic service.
In 2002, Warwick was arrested at Miami International Airport for possession of marijuana. Miami-Dade Police officers reported finding eleven marijuana cigarettes inside a lipstick container. Drug charges were dropped when she agreed to complete a drug treatment program, donate $250 to charity, and make an anti-drug public service announcement directed at youth.
Warwick's sister Dee Dee Warwick also had a successful singing career, scoring a Top 20 R&B hit in the form of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" in 1967. One of Warwick's cousins is Whitney Houston.