Anita Pointer, Founding Member of The Pointer Sisters, Dies at 74

Anita Pointer, one of the founding members of the R&B group The Pointer Sisters, died on Dec. 31 after a battle with cancer, according to her publicist Roger Neal. She was 74. 

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“While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada, and her sisters June and Bonnie and at peace,” read a statement by Pointer’s family on the group’s official website. “She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long. Her love of our family will live on in each of us.”

The statement continued, “Please respect our privacy during this period of grief and loss. Heaven is a more loving beautiful place with Anita there.”

Born on January 28, 1948, Pointer began singing with her three sisters in a church in their hometown of Oakland, California where their father was a minister. In 1970, the four Pointer sisters began singing together as a foursome after sisters Bonnie and June, who recorded an album as a duo in 1969, recruited their two sisters Ruth and Anita. 

As The Pointer Sisters, the group released their debut self-titled album in 1973 and won their first Grammy Award in 1974 for their No. 1 crossover hit “Fairytale,” which reached No. 1 on the country charts. Written by Anita and Bonnie, “Fairytale” was also recorded by Elvis Presley and appeared on his 1975 album, Today, and was a song he would often perform live before his death in 1977.

Throughout the ’70s, the sisters also hit the top 20 with their cover of Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can” and earned a No. 2 hit with their rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire” in 1979 with Anita on lead vocals.

By the early 1980s, The Pointer Sisters picked up two more Grammys for “Jump (For My Love)” and “Automatic,” and released more Top 10 hits throughout the decade with “Slow Hand,” “He’s So Shy,” their 1982 hit “I’m So Excited,” and “Neutron Dance,” which was featured in the 1984 Eddie Murphy comedy Beverly Hills Cop.

In 2021, Pointer was scheduled to perform as a contestant on season six of The Masked Singer along with her sister Ruth but pulled out of the appearance to deal with her illness. “There were supposed to be two cupcakes,” said Ruth, who went along with the performance, disguised as a cupcake, without her sister, “but Anita is having some health issues we couldn’t avoid so I ended up doing it by myself.”

Pointer is predeceased by her only child, daughter Jada, who died in 2003, and her sister June in 2006, both from cancer. Her sister Bonnie died in 2020 from cirrhosis of the liver. She is survived by her granddaughter Roxie McKain Pointer, sister Ruth, and brothers Aaron and Fritz.

Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

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