Denise 'Vanity' Matthews dead at 57: Pop singer, actress, and Prince protege dies
Denise Matthews, the former pop star and actress better known by her stage name, Vanity, died Monday. She was 57.
Born in Canada, Matthews was a protege of Prince and the lead singer of the vixenish trio Vanity 6, whose biggest song was the synthy 1982 single “Nasty Girl.” She left the group after one album to pursue a solo career, recording the LPs Wild Animal and Skin on Skin.
She also dabbled in acting, with roles in such films as The Last Dragon, 52 Pick-Up, and Action Jackson. Her TV credits included Miami Vice and Highlander.
Matthews struggled with drug abuse for years before getting clean and becoming a born-again Christian in the 1990s. She published an autobiography, Blame It on Vanity, and dedicated herself to evangelism. Health problems long plagued her, and last year she set up a crowdfunding page to help cover her medical costs.
Among those who paid tribute to Matthews after her passing were fellow artists Sheila E., Questlove, and MC Hammer. “She absolutely loved God unto salvation,” the latter wrote on Twitter. “Rest in his glory.”