Killing of Marvin Gaye
Killing of Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye, an American musician who gained worldwide fame for his work with Motown Information, was shot and mortally wounded by his father, Marvin Homosexual Sr., on April 1, 1984, at their home within the Arlington Heights district of Los Angeles, California.[1][2] Gaye was shot twice following an altercation together with his father after he intervened in an argument between his mother and father. He was pronounced useless on arrival on the California Hospital Medical Middle. Gaye’s father later pleaded no contest to a cost of voluntary manslaughter. Gaye’s dying impressed a number of musical tributes over time together with recollections of the incidents resulting in his dying. Gaye was given a burial plot at Forest Garden Cemetery and was later cremated and his ashes unfold across the Pacific Ocean.


Marvin Gaye performing in live performance through the Nineteen Eighties.

Marvin Gaye had a bitter relationship together with his father, Marvin Homosexual Sr., since his childhood. Marvin Sr. was a Christian minister who was a strict disciplinarian and sometimes bodily punished his youngsters. He was additionally a crossdresser, which was extensively identified within the household’s Washington, D.C. neighborhood and made the youthful Marvin a goal of bullying.[3] It was due to this, added with rumors of Gaye’s personal homosexuality, that he added an “e” to his final title when he turned well-known. Gaye’s father by no means accepted of his son’s profession in music, and step by step grew resentful that Gaye was nearer to his mom, Alberta, and had change into the breadwinner for the household. Regardless of a short enchancment of their relationship after Gaye discovered success together with his album What’s Going On, each father and son by no means discovered any lasting peace.

By 1983, after a interval as a European tax exile, Gaye had re-emerged within the public eye with the hit track “Sexual Therapeutic” and its album, Midnight Love. For a time, he had additionally achieved sobriety throughout his in depth keep in Belgium.[4] Returning to the U.S., he launched into his closing Sexual Therapeutic Tour in April of that yr.[5] Gaye, who had a profound dislike for touring, returned to cocaine abuse to deal with the pressures of the street, and halfway by the tour he developed paranoia over an alleged try on his life, sporting a bulletproof vest till he was on stage. In actuality, there was little, if any, actual hazard, though whereas on the tour, street crew member Eric Sharpe died by suicide by hanging himself from a bathe curtain rod in New Jersey.[6]

When the tour led to August 1983, Gaye returned to the U.S. to nurse his mom, who was recovering from kidney surgical procedure,[4][7] and moved into his mother and father’ residence at 2101 South Gramercy Place, a house which he purchased for them in 1973.[2][8] Throughout his keep, Gaye’s father was absent.[9] That October, his father returned from a enterprise journey in Washington throughout which he bought insurance coverage on his household’s earlier residence.[10] Initially, Gaye’s sisters Jeanne and Zeola lived in the home earlier than Marvin Sr. returned to the property, and left shortly afterwards as a result of rising battle between father and son.[11] For the subsequent six months, the 2 males struggled to maintain their distance from each other. Throughout one quarrel on the home, the elder Homosexual referred to as police to have his son depart the property.[12] After staying with considered one of his sisters, nonetheless, Marvin returned to the property stating to a pal of his, “In spite of everything, I’ve only one father. I wish to make peace with him.”[12] Jeanne Gaye later informed David Ritz that her father had informed her if Marvin ever touched him, he’d “kill him”.[13][14]

On Christmas Day, 1983, Marvin gave his father a Smith & Wesson .38 Particular pistol in order that he may defend himself from intruders.[15] Family and friends members contended that the youthful Marvin was usually suicidal and paranoid, and by now was afraid of leaving his room and spoke of little apart from suicide and dying. He generally wore three overcoats and put his footwear on the incorrect ft.[16] 4 days earlier than his dying, in keeping with his sister Jeanne, Gaye had tried to kill himself by leaping out of a rushing sports activities automobile, struggling solely minor bruises.[17] Jeanne contended that “there was little doubt Marvin wished to die” and that he “could not take any extra.”[18]


Marvin Homosexual Sr. at his sentencing listening to following the taking pictures of his son, September 1984

Within the days previous to his dying, Gaye’s mother and father had arguments primarily over a misplaced insurance coverage coverage letter.[17] The day earlier than his dying, the arguments unfold to Gaye’s bed room. Angered by his father confronting his mom, Gaye commanded Marvin Sr. to depart her alone; Marvin Sr. complied with out incident and there was no violence that night time, however Marvin Sr. continued yelling all through the home.

At roughly 12:30 p.m. (PST; 20:30 UTC)[19] on April 1, 1984, an impatient Marvin Sr. shouted at his spouse in regards to the doc.[16] Gaye, wearing a maroon gown, shouted again downstairs, telling his father if he had one thing to say, he ought to do it in particular person.[20] Based on Alberta, when Marvin Sr. refused his son’s request, Gaye warned him to not come to his room.[21] Marvin Sr., nonetheless, as a substitute charged upstairs to the bed room to verbally assault Alberta over the doc, inflicting Gaye to leap out of his mattress and as soon as once more order his father out of the room.[20] When ordering didn’t work, Gaye, enraged, reportedly shoved his father out of the room into the hallway[20] then started kicking and punching him.
Alberta later informed Ritz: “Marvin hit him. I shouted for him to cease, however he paid no consideration to me. He gave my husband some onerous kicks.”[20] Jeanne later recalled that it was understood within the household that if one of many youngsters ever dared to strike their father that he would “homicide her or him”, saying her father “made it very clear” and “stated so publicly on a couple of event.”[20] Gaye reportedly adopted his father to the bed room and, in keeping with his mom, continued to kick him brutally.[20][21][22] Ultimately, Alberta separated Gaye from his father and returned him to his bed room.[20][21]

Minutes later, at 12:38 p.m. (PST; 20:38 UTC), Marvin Sr. entered his bed room, returning with the .38 pistol his son had earlier purchased him, pointed it at Gaye and shot him instantly within the coronary heart, as Alberta later defined to police:

I used to be standing about eight ft away from Marvin, when my husband got here to the door of the bed room together with his pistol. My husband did not say something, he simply pointed the gun at Marvin. I screamed nevertheless it was very fast. He, my husband, shot – and Marvin screamed. I attempted to run. Marvin slid right down to the ground after the primary shot.[21][22]

The primary shot, which proved to be deadly, entered the suitable facet of Gaye’s chest, perforating his proper lung, coronary heart, diaphragm, liver, abdomen and left kidney earlier than coming to relaxation in opposition to his left flank.[21] Gaye’s father stepped nearer after the primary shot and shot him a second time at point-blank vary.[20][21] In a 2018 episode of the Reelz TV collection Post-mortem: The Final Hours of…, forensic pathologist Michael Hunter expressed his perception that Gaye was initially shot nonfatally within the left shoulder by his father whereas the 2 males had been standing two ft aside whereas going through one another.[23] Hunter believed that this primary shot “penetrated the left shoulder slightly below the clavicle and exited his again with out inflicting any severe harm”, the affect of which brought about Gaye to fall down.[23] Hunter additionally believed that Gaye was then shot fatally within the chest, which “had a really damaging and odd trajectory,” touring “diagonally down by the lung, coronary heart, diaphragm, liver, and kidney, lastly embedding itself on the left facet of the torso.”[23] From Hunter’s standpoint, “the route of the bullet’s trajectory suggests Marvin was positioned towards his father, and that his father was prone to have been shifting away on the time.”[23]

Afraid of being shot subsequent, Alberta screamed and ran out of the bed room, all of the whereas pleading in concern to her husband to not shoot her.[20] Based on experiences, Gaye’s father hid the gun beneath his pillow. Within the meantime, Gaye’s brother Frankie and his sister-in-law, Irene, heard the pictures as they lived in a visitor home on the property. After the primary shot, Frankie initially thought it seemed like a automobile backfired.[24] Afterwards, they heard screams from exterior, rushed out, and noticed Alberta who bumped into Irene’s arms, shouting, “He is shot Marvin. He is killed my boy.”[25]

Frankie ran to the home and punctiliously walked into the hallway to his brother’s room, not figuring out if Marvin Sr. nonetheless had the gun, whether or not he was nonetheless within the room, or if his brother was useless. After strolling into Gaye’s bed room, an emotional Frankie held him as Gaye bled quickly. Frankie alleges that Marvin, barely talking above a whisper, informed him, “I obtained what I wished… I could not do it myself, so I had him do it… it is good, I ran my race, there is not any extra left in me.”[26] After police arrived, Irene went to Marvin Sr. in his bed room and requested him the place the gun was. After looking out over his bed room, Irene situated it underneath his pillow. Upon exiting the home, Irene dropped the gun on the garden. Instantly following this, Marvin Sr., who had by now taken a seat on the entrance porch exterior the home, was arrested.[27]

The police arrived twenty minutes after the taking pictures. Gaye’s physique was taken out of the home and despatched to the California Hospital Medical Middle.[27] At roughly 1:01 p.m. (PST; 21:01 UTC), Gaye was pronounced useless on arrival.[27] Gaye died on the day earlier than his forty fifth birthday.[27] As quickly as his dying was introduced, a number of of Gaye’s neighbors and onlookers paraded round the home, many in shocked shock and silence.

Post-mortem and funeral

Gaye’s dying certificates

Individuals gathering exterior Marvin Gaye’s home following information the singer was fatally shot, April 1, 1984.

An post-mortem was performed on Gaye’s physique shortly after his dying. Check outcomes confirmed that he had parts of cocaine and PCP (or angel mud) in his system.[28] After attorneys misinterpret the coroner’s report, Decide Ronald George decided later throughout preliminary hearings within the courtroom case that PCP can usually provoke violence. When informed that the report had concluded solely that Gaye had simply cocaine traces in his system, the choose stated PCP was not a significant factor in his determination.[29]

Throughout an interview with the police, Gaye’s father contended that he was scared that one thing would occur to him and that he solely meant to shoot in self-defense, stating he didn’t know the gun had any bullets in it, claiming he thought there have been both “blanks or BBs.”[29][22] When requested if he cherished his son, Marvin Sr. reportedly said in a comfortable voice, “For instance I did not dislike him.”[29] Upon being informed that his son had died from the pictures, Marvin Sr. reportedly wept and sobbed after realizing he had killed him.[29] Marvin Sr. was held on bond afterwards. It’s believed by Gaye’s siblings that his dying was a “premeditated suicide”. Jeanne later stated that upon forcing his father’s hand within the homicide that he had “achieved three issues. He put himself out of his distress. He introduced aid to Mom by lastly getting her husband out of her life. And he punished Father, by ensuring that the remainder of his life can be depressing… my brother knew simply what he was doing.”[29]

On April 5, 1984, a star-studded funeral was held for Gaye at Forest Garden Memorial Park, Glendale, attended by over 10,000 mourners, together with his Motown colleagues; his two ex-wives, Anna Gaye and Janis Gaye; and his siblings, mom and three youngsters.[21][30] Smokey Robinson and Dick Gregory delivered eulogies, whereas Stevie Marvel carried out “Lighting Up the Candles,” which was later included on Marvel’s soundtrack to the movie Jungle Fever, and Cecil T. “Sesil J” Jenkins sang “The Lord’s Prayer”.[31] On the open-casket funeral, Gaye was sporting considered one of his costumes from his closing live performance tour, a gold and white army model uniform, with an ermine wrap at his shoulders.[21][30] The funeral was presided by the Chief Apostle of Gaye’s household’s outdated church, the Home of God.[30] Following the funeral, Gaye was given a burial plot. In accordance with the household’s request, Gaye’s physique was cremated with half of his ashes unfold close to the Pacific Ocean by his three youngsters and Anna Gaye.[30][32] Anna and their adopted son, Marvin III, then saved a small portion of the ashes for themselves.

Gaye left behind no will.[33] In consequence, his son Marvin III, aged 17 on the time, turned co-administrator of his property.[34] On the time of his dying, he was struggling financially, because the IRS had requested for $1 million (US$2,491,031 in 2020 {dollars}[35]) to pay again unpaid taxes of $600,000 (US$1,494,619 in 2020 {dollars}[35]) to the State of California and again alimony of $300,000 (US$747,309 in 2020 {dollars}[35]) to Anna and Janis Gaye.[36] He was $1,900,000 (US$4,732,960 in 2020 {dollars}[35]) in debt on the time of his dying, however royalties from Gaye’s work ultimately paid off these money owed.

Court docket case

Marvin Sr. was held on the Los Angeles County Jail on $100,000 bail.[29] His accounts of the taking pictures had been printed within the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, quoting his phrases: “I did not imply to do it.”[37]

Throughout a examine up on the County-USC Medical Middle, a benign tumor was found on the base of Marvin Sr.’s mind. Docs eliminated the tumor on Could 17, 1984. On June 12, after reviewing a two-page report, together with two psychiatric evaluations performed by Ronald Markman, Decide Michael Pirosh dominated that Marvin Sr. was competent to face trial.[38] He appeared in courtroom once more on June 20, the place he was ordered to return on July 16 for a preliminary listening to. His estranged spouse, Alberta, posted the decreased bail of $30,000 by way of a bondsman to safe the ex-minister’s launch from jail.[39] Two days earlier, she had filed for divorce, citing as grounds that she had formally separated from him following their son’s deadly taking pictures on the identical day.[39][40] Wanting over paperwork, the quantity of medication in Gaye’s system, and photos of Marvin Sr.’s accidents throughout his closing combat together with his son, Decide Ronald M. George agreed to grant Marvin Sr. a plea discount. In consequence, he pleaded no contest to a voluntary manslaughter cost on September 20, 1984.[41] On November 2, 1984, Decide Gordon Ringer sentenced Marvin Sr. to a six-year suspended sentence and 5 years of probation. In the course of the sentencing listening to, Marvin Sr. tearfully informed the courtroom:

If I may deliver him again, I might. I used to be afraid of him. I believed I used to be going to get damage. I did not know what was going to occur. I am actually sorry for all the things that occurred. I cherished him. I want he may step by this door proper now. I am paying the worth now.[42][43]



Information stations reported on Gaye’s dying virtually instantly after it was introduced, with one of the crucial outstanding bulletins coming from CBS anchor Dan Relatively.[29] Eulogies had been delivered in American, Asian and European nations.[29] The New York Occasions ran the story in its entrance web page the day after his dying.[29]

A lot of Gaye’s mates and friends had been initially shocked to study of Gaye’s dying. Otis Williams, of the Motown group The Temptations, recalled receiving the information whereas touring with the 4 Tops in Australia and stated, “It was a really darkish day that I’ll always remember because the day I misplaced a pal.”[44] Former Motown staffer Janie Bradford and her husband had been driving dwelling after listening to radio all day when the announcer introduced Gaye’s dying.[45] CBS City president Larkin Arnold was additionally reportedly shocked with the information as he had tried to get Gaye within the studio for his follow-up to Midnight Love.[45] Smokey Robinson heard the information of Gaye’s dying on the radio. Feeling that his “innards would not settle for” the information, he referred to as Gaye’s ex-wife Anna to search out out whether or not it was true, and she or he confirmed it earlier than he may ask her, leaving Robinson in shock.[46][47]

Longtime Gaye admirer and former nephew-in-law Jermaine Jackson, brother of Michael Jackson, recalled sobbing uncontrollably as soon as he heard the information and referred to as Barry White to substantiate the story.[48] Based on White, Gaye had agreed to do a collection of duets with him.[48] Ray Singleton, a former partner of Berry Gordy’s, acquired the information from Anna on the telephone. Upon the arrival of her son and Gaye’s adopted son, Marvin III, Singleton informed Gaye III to go upstairs and discuss to his mom, who then informed him the information.[49]

VH1 listed Gaye’s dying because the eighth most surprising second in rock and roll. Recollections of the dying from admirers of Gaye included rapper Chuck D and Al Sharpton, who replied that the dying got here “like a sick, unhappy joke to all of us.”[50] Gordy, who was overcome with emotion and grief over Gaye’s dying, took out full-page advertisements following his funeral declaring that Gaye was “the best of his time” and the perfect recording artist he ever labored with.[51] New wave group Duran Duran devoted their hit ballad, “Save a Prayer”, to Gaye the next afternoon throughout a efficiency in Oakland, California; their efficiency was later taped for the videotape, Area.

Instantly after his dying, quite a few followers of Gaye stood exterior the home at Gramercy Place, positioned memorabilia and different gadgets on the garden, and held vigils there, till the subsequent day, Gaye’s birthday.[2]

Memorials and tributes

Gaye was positioned on the quilt of Rolling Stone for the third time in a posthumous cowl in its Could 10, 1984 challenge. The difficulty mentioned Gaye’s private life, his music, and his contributions to Motown and standard music.

In November 1984, Diana Ross launched the tribute track, “Lacking You.” It appeared on Ross’ album, Swept Away, and later peaked at No. 1 on the Scorching Black Singles chart and positioned at No. 10 on the Billboard Scorching 100. Later, a video of the track featured traditional footage of Gaye, together with footage of Gaye showing at Ross’ 1982 live performance in Brussels. The next January whereas internet hosting the American Music Awards, Ross led an In Memoriam tribute to stars who died in 1984 with Gaye main the tribute. Additionally in November 1984, Teena Marie launched the tribute track, “My Pricey Mr. Gaye” from her hit album, Starchild, the best promoting album of her profession. The Commodores issued the track “Nightshift,” which was devoted to Gaye and fellow musician Jackie Wilson, who additionally died in 1984. The track, featured on their album of the identical title, peaked at No. 1 on the rhythm and blues chart, reached the highest ten on the Scorching 100, and have become successful in different nations. Todd Rundgren’s track “Misplaced Horizon” from his A Cappella album is claimed to be devoted to Gaye. Rundgren later carried out a medley of Gaye’s hits throughout concert events and generally added “Misplaced Horizon” to the medley. In 1989, soul band Frankie Beverly & Maze produced the tribute track, “Silky Soul,” taking its melody from “What’s Going On.” The track featured Nona Gaye within the video and later peaked at No. 5 on the R&B chart. Not less than two tribute albums of Gaye’s have been launched: 1995’s Inside Metropolis Blues: The Music of Marvin Gaye and 1999’s Marvin Is 60: A Tribute Album.

Beginning in 1985, there have been annual Marvin Gaye Day celebrations within the metropolis of Washington, D.C., Gaye’s hometown. The day was officiated by then-mayor Marion Barry on the day of Gaye’s forty sixth birthday.[52] Since then, a non-profit group has helped to arrange Marvin Gaye Day celebrations within the metropolis.[53] In 1986, Marvin’s mom Alberta based the Marvin P. Gaye Jr. Memorial Basis, which is devoted to these affected by drug abuse and alcoholism. It opened a day after she died from issues of bone most cancers in Could 1987.[54] In 1990, after years of petitions and letters, Gaye was given a star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame, with considered one of its most outstanding letters written by longtime fan Eddie Murphy. Six years later, in 1996, Gaye posthumously acquired the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006, an outdated park that Gaye frequented as a teen, the previous Watts Department Park, was renamed Marvin Gaye Park in his honor.[55] Three years later, in 2009, the 5200 block of Foote Road NE in Deanwood, Washington, D.C., was renamed Marvin Gaye Approach.[56]

On November 20, 2018, the USA Postal Service introduced that Marvin Gaye can be featured on a first-class postage stamp, as a part of the Postal Service’s Music Icons collection (previous honorees embrace Elvis Presley and John Lennon).[57]

See additionally

Filicides in California:

  • Judith Barsi (sufferer)
  • Diane Downs (perpetrator)


  • “Marvin Gaye killing described by mom”. Baltimore Afro-American. June 16, 1984.
  • Collier, Aldore (April 16, 1984). “Marvin Gaye: His Tragic Dying and Troubled Life”. Jet.
  • Collier, Aldore (Could 21, 1984). “Gaye’s Son Is Named To Oversee His Father’s Property”. Jet.
  • Collier, Aldore (April 8, 1985). “A 12 months Later: What Occurred to Marvin Gaye’s Household, Fortune?”. Jet.
  • Collier, Aldore (Could 25, 1987). “Marvin Gaye’s Mom Dies On Eve Of Opening Drug Middle She Based As His Memorial”. Jet.
  • Gaye, Frankie (2003). Marvin Gaye, My Brother. Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-742-0.
  • Glatt, John (April 11, 2011). For I Have Sinned: True Tales of Clergy Who Kill. Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-42992-442-9.
  • “Marvin Gaye Jr”. Kentucky New Period. June 16, 1984.
  • “Marvin Homosexual Sr. dominated match for trial in son’s dying”. The Montreal Gazette. June 13, 1984.
  • Ritz, David (July 1985). “The Final Days of Marvin Gaye”. Ebony.
  • Ritz, David (1991). Divided Soul: The Lifetime of Marvin Gaye. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81191-X.

Additional studying

  • Davis, Sharon (1991). Marvin Gaye: I Heard It By means of the Grapevine. Croydon, Surrey: Bookmarque Ltd. ISBN 1-84018-320-9.
  • Dyson, Michael Eric (2004). Mercy, Mercy Me: The Artwork, Loves, and Demons of Marvin Gaye. New York/Philadelphia: Primary Civitas. ISBN 0-465-01769-X.
  • Turner, Steve (1998). Hassle Man: The Life and Dying of Marvin Gaye. London: Michael Joseph. ISBN 0-7181-4112-1.

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