Sources are confirming that actress, model and singer Vanity (also known as Denise Matthews and D.D. Winters) passed away on Monday, February 15, 2016. She was only 57-years-old at the time of her death in a hospital in Fremont, Califonria. Her cause of death is attributed to kidney disorders and a condition called Sclerosis Encapsulating Peritonitis.
Having started as a pageant girl and a model in the late 1970’s, Vanity was first discovered by the legendary singer/musician Prince at the annual American Music Awards in 1980. After discovering that she could sing, Prince made sure that Vanity joined his new girl-group, not-so-coincidentally called Vanity 6, and produced their first and only album in 1982. The self titled LP was certified gold after being fueled by the #1 dance hit, “Nasty Girl.” Following the girl-group’s break-up, Vanity went on to record and release two solo LP’s, Wild Animal and Skin on Skin. Neither album was successful, but yielded two modest singles “Pretty Mess” and “Under the Influence.”
Vanity’s first big role was actually a small role in the cult classic slasher, Terror Train (1980). Also in 1980 she was the lead role in Tanya’s Island, a psychological, horror, romance thriller about a woman and her boyfriend who love yet are threatened by a giant Ape. It was basically hailed as King Kong meets Beauty and the Beast. Following these film roles, she booked guest spots on horror/scifi series such as “Friday’s Curse,” “Highlander” and “Tales from the Crypt” as well as a supporting role in scifi’s Neon City (1991).
Following a cocaine overdose in the mid-190’s, Vanity turned her life over to religion and became a Born Again Christian and turned her back on Hollywood in pursuit of The Lord. This overdose, however, had long lasting effects on her body which partially attributed to her death on February 15.
R.I.P. Vanity (Denise Matthews, D.D. Winters)
January 4, 1959 – February 15, 2016