Tina Turner

1.- Margaret Avery, The Colour Purple1985.    It was inevitable that Steven Spielberg would go to Tina Turner with the script. There was a perfect part for her – jazz singer Shug Avery, described by Chicago critic Roger Ebert as  a pathetic, alcoholic juke-joint singer… who has been ravaged by life yet still has an indestructible beauty.”  She becomes “the prime mover in Celie’s eventual triumph.” Even though Shug’s lesbianism  with Whoopie’s Celie is toned dpwn from Alice Walker’s novel (which Spielberg later regretted doing), Tina passed on the role. So did five other top chanteueses: Lola Falana (First Lady of Las Vegas), Phyllis Hyman (The Sophisticated Lady), Chaka Khan (The Queen of Funk), Patti LaBelle (Godmother of Soul) and Diana Ross (of The Suptremes).  They knew the book, they knew  the sex scenes and were not sure they wanted to go there… As for the violence,  Tina, for one, had suffered far too much of that in her own life.   “Her story was too close to my own.”    As told later (similarly toned own) in her 1992 biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It., starring Angela Bassett as Tina. 

 2.- Whoopi Goldberg, Fatal Beauty, 1987.    As if to underline how few of her films were ever planned with Whoopi in mind (including her Oscar-winning Ghost), this one was first aimed at Tina… or Cher!

3.-Patricia Belcher, Jeepers Creepers, 2000.    Tina and Debbi Morgan were short-listed for Jezelle Gay Hartman.  It’s a tragedy  that Tina, the undoubted Queen of Rock ‘n’ Soul, made three films only. Tommy, 1974.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1977, and as the unforgettable Aunt Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, 1984. Could, should have been more. However, director Vincente Minnelli’s plans for Tina heading a 1974 Bessie Smith biopic never happened – and Tina refused a role in Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise, in 1990. And yet for all that, she remains, forever and always… better than all the  rest.



 “How do we say farewell to a woman who owned her pain and trauma and used it as a means to help change the world? Through her courage in telling her story, her commitment to stay the course in her life, no matter the sacrifice, and her determination to carve out a space in rock and roll for herself and for others who look like her, Tina Turner showed others who lived in fear what a beautiful future filled with love, compassion and freedom should look like. Her final words to me – for me –  were, ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina and showed her to the world.’ I shall hold these words close to my heart for the rest of my days.” – Angela Bassett who headed Tina’s  biopic, What’s Love Got to Do With It, 1992.

“In addition to being a once-in-a-generation talent that changed American music forever,Tina’s personal strength was remarkable. Overcoming adversity, and even abuse, she built a career for the ages and a life and legacy that were entirely hers. – US President Joe Biden.

 “Tina Turner was raw. She was powerful. She was unstoppable. And she was unapologetically herself – speaking and singing her truth through joy and pain; triumph and tragedy.” – former US president Barack Obama.

“I’m so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend Tina Turner… truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her. “ –  Mick Jagger

“Tina Turner was an icon, whom we loved for her voice, her dancing, and her spirit…  let’s also reflect on her resilience, and think about all the greatness that can follow our darkest days. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Tina. You’re simply the best.”- Forest Whitaker.

“My beloved queen. I love you endlessly. I’m so grateful for your inspiration, and all the ways you have paved the way. You are strength and resilience. You are the epitome of power and passion. We are all so fortunate to have witnessed your kindness and beautiful spirit that will forever remain. Thank you for all you have done.” – Beyoncé


 Birth year: 1939Death year: 2023Other name: Casting Calls:  1