Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters Dies at 74

Anita Pointer dies
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Anita Pointer dies
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Photo Credit: Manfred Werner / CC by 3.0

Anita Pointer, a founding member of The Pointer Sisters, dies at 74, surrounded by her family.

Anita Pointer, the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and a founding member of the original Pointer Sisters, died at age 74. Her publicist Roger Neal says, “She was surrounded by family at the time of her death.”

Anita’s sister Ruth, brothers Aaron and Fritz, and granddaughter Roxie McKain Pointer released a statement on the Pointer Sisters’ website:

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

The fourth of six children, Anita Maria Pointer was born in Oakland, California, on January 23, 1948, to Reverend Elton and Sarah Pointer. Anita and her sisters grew up singing in their father’s church, and she played alto saxophone in the tenth grade as a member of her high school’s band. 

In 1969, Anita quit her job as a secretary to join her sisters Bonnie, June, and Ruth, to form the Pointer Sisters. Their debut album in 1973 gave them their first hit single, “Yes We Can Can,” which reached Number 11 on the Billboard charts. In 1974, Anita and Bonnie wrote the group’s first major Grammy-winning hit, “Fairytale,” from their album, That’s a Plenty, which crossed over from the Billboard country charts to the pop charts. The Pointer Sisters had 13 US Top 20 hits between 1973 and 1985.

Their fourth album, Steppin’, featured such hits as “How Long (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side),” co-written by Anita and her sisters, which reached the Top 20 pop charts and reached Number One on the R&B charts. In 1976, the Pointer Sisters made their feature film debut singing in Car Wash, starring Richard Pryor.

In 1996, they performed at the White for then-President Bill Clinton and the closing ceremonies at the Olympics in Atlanta. The Pointer Sisters were the first African American group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry and the first contemporary act to perform at the San Francisco Opera House. Anita and her sisters have been honored with the Soul of American Music Award and inducted into the Soul Train Hall of Fame.