CLEVELAND - People near and far are remembering their favorite Whitney Houston moments. On Facebook, we asked you what your favorite memory was of the legendary diva. The two main responses: Houston's rendition of the National Anthem during Super Bowl XXV and her role with Kevin Costner in "The Bodyguard."
Felicia Mamrak left this comment on our Facebook page about her most memorable moment of the superstar:
"Whitney Houston singing the National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl is definitely the most memorable thing about her for me. I remember Frank Gifford said it was the most electric moment he had ever seen in sports."
Who could disagree? Many believe Houston's version of the National Anthem remains untouched today.
Houston's film career was short -- just three big-screen releases in her lifetime. But it resulted in one of the few romantic smash hits ever to star a black actress. Our Facebook friend Laura Cowan said her favorite memory of Houston was watching her in "The Bodyguard."
"I didn't think at first her and Kevin Costner would pull it off. They're so different in so many ways. But watching the movie, it proved me wrong. Their chemistry was astounding. What a mix. I wanted to see a part 2, (now that will never happen). Whitney was beautiful and talented (singing) and (acting). She was indeed a PHENOMENAL WOMAN!"
Featuring Houston as a pop star and Kevin Costner as the protector who falls for her, 1992's "The Bodyguard" pulled in a whopping $121.9 million domestically and was No. 7 on that year's hit list, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com. Factoring in ticket-price inflation, that's the equivalent of a $230 million blockbuster in today's dollars. And worldwide, "The Bodyguard" was a $400 million success.
"Most of the African-American women who have been big at the box office have been in comedies. Generally, you think of Whoopi Goldberg and you think of Queen Latifah, you think comedy," said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "Whitney Houston, she really carried the mantle of being the romantic lead very well."
When she made "The Bodyguard," her big-screen acting debut, Houston was at her peak, seven years after her phenomenal rise to stardom with her debut album. Hollywood seemed like another natural arena for her to conquer, and she put her magnificent voice to great use for the movie's most memorable tune, Houston's Grammy-winning cover of the little-known Dolly Parton song "I Will Always Love You."
Critics called "The Bodyguard" melodramatic mush, finding the romance between a pop diva and an ex-Secret Service agent silly.
Audiences couldn't resist, though, drawn by the chemistry between Houston and Costner, who was at the peak of his own popularity, fresh off the Academy Awards triumph of his 1990 hit "Dances with Wolves."
Three years after "The Bodyguard," Houston returned to the screen alongside Angela Bassett and Gregory Hines in the ensemble romance "Waiting to Exhale," a solid hit with $67 million domestically.
In 1996, Houston paired with Denzel Washington for the romantic romp "The Preacher's Wife," an update of Cary Grant's "The Bishop's Wife." "The Preacher's Wife" did modest business, with $48.1 million domestically.
It was the last-starring role for Houston, whose career faltered in the late 1990s.
Houston had a big-screen comeback in the works with a supporting role in "Sparkle," due out this summer. A remake of the 1976 tale, the movie features Houston as the mother of a Supremes-like threesome of sisters that climbs to stardom.
Romantic drama success such as Houston's in "The Bodyguard" has been elusive for black actresses. Supremes leader Diana Ross managed hits with
the Billie Holiday story "Lady Sings the Blues" and her romantic drama "Mahogany."
Investigators worked Sunday to piece together what killed the 48-year-old who had a long, tragic decline from drug use, erratic behavior and other problems in her personal life.
Houston's body arrived at a Los Angeles morgue early Sunday, hours after Houston had been found dead in a hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where she was preparing for a pre-Grammy gala. Officials did not say when an autopsy would occur, but any cause of death determination will likely be delayed while they await toxicology results.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.