January 30, 2016

RIP

René Angélil
Born: January 16, 1942, Montreal, Canada
Died: January 14, 2016, Henderson, NV












 

René Angélil, Who Discovered and Then Married Celine Dion, Dies at 73

René Angélil, the producer who discovered the singer Celine Dion at age 12 and later married her after leading her to stardom, died on Thursday at their home in Las Vegas. He was 73.
In a statement posted online, Ms. Dion said the cause was cancer. The Clark County coroner, John Fudenburg, said in a statement that Mr. Angélil died of throat cancer.
Mr. Angélil’s life and career were intertwined with those of Ms. Dion, a Grammy- and Oscar-winning vocal powerhouse known for love ballads and torch songs, notably the megahit “My Heart Will Go On,” the theme song to the movie “Titanic” and recipient of the Grammy record of the year award in 1999.
But when the two first met she was only a child. Ms. Dion’s older brother, Michel, sent Mr. Angélil a demo tape of her singing “It Was Only a Dream,” written by their mother.
“I listened to it right away, and I couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Angélil told The New York Times in 1997. “She wasn’t the cutest 12-year-old. She had a problem with her teeth, and she was very shy, but her eyes were incredible.”
Mr. Angélil was born in Montreal on Jan. 16, 1942, and became an established player in the entertainment industry in Quebec. He once sang as part of the French-Canadian pop group the Baronets and previously managed the career of another Quebecois child star, Ginette Reno, but he was soon firmly in the business of Celine Dion.
He began managing her career in 1981 and mortgaged his house to finance her debut album, which became a hit in French Canada and France.
Under his guidance, Ms. Dion became a household name in Quebec. She achieved her first taste of international fame by winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1988.
Her first American hit came two years later with the release of her first English-language album, and her celebrity was secured when she sang the title track of the 1991 Disney film “Beauty and the Beast,” which won an Academy Award in 1992.
Mr. Angélil guided her career in those years with a strong hand. The pair merged their professional and personal lives in 1994, marrying in a lavish ceremony at the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. White haired and goateed, Mr. Angélil was 26 years older than his bride.
Ms. Dion made the decision to leave recording and touring behind her in 2003 to take up a multimillion-dollar residency in a custom-built, 4,100-seat theater at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where she and Mr. Angélil, an avid gambler, put down roots. Her first show lasted five years and a second, launched in 2011, is scheduled to run until 2019.
Mr. Angélil first received a cancer diagnosis in 1999. He was successfully treated, a turn of events that he described as “a miracle” to Oprah Winfrey in 2002. Mr. Angélil and Ms. Dion’s first child, René-Charles Angélil, was born two years later, and a set of twins, Nelson and Eddy, followed in 2010.
But the cancer returned on their wedding anniversary in 2013, Ms. Dion told ABC News last year.
He began treatment again, but this time it took a painful toll. Ms. Dion said that radiation treatment had damaged his hearing and that he was eventually unable to use his mouth. She fed him through a feeding tube three times a day, she said, and took a break from show business to focus on him and their children.
“I do this myself,” she told ABC. “I feed my husband, and I feed my kids, and unfortunately I had to say, Listen, I can’t be half here and half over there, please allow me to stay home.”
She returned to the stage in August 2014 at her husband’s urging, she said. “We are creating this show together,” she told Entertainment Tonight last May. “He wants me back, he wants me strong.”
Besides Ms. Dion and their three children, Mr. Angélil is survived by a son and a daughter from two previous marriages.











~NYT

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