Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Whitney Houston May Be Back with “The Cleaner”


At last, Whitney Houston is in an out patient rehab. The fact is, she’s needed this for some time. Last year, her Europe and Asia concert tour was a disaster. Her voice was shot, although to her credit she missed almost no dates. She was like Mark Wahlberg in “The Fighter.” She refused to give up.

But the trouble has been there for a while. Whitney arrived and performed seemingly stoned at Clive Davis’s pre Grammy party in February with her cousin, Dionne Warwick. On stage, it was obvious. Whitney wandered about and had little idea of what she was doing. Dionne was very upset. At the end of the aborted performance, Whitney just sort of fell into Clive Davis’s arms. It was terrible.

More recently I asked someone close to Whitney, who’d not been seen since Davis’s party, what was going on. The word was that Whitney’s family and friends were trying to bring her back to Warren Boyd, the drug counselor who’d worked with her before. Boyd is known as “The Cleaner,” the name of the TV show in which Benjamin Bratt played him. Boyd is famous for cleaning up Courtney Love. When he worked with Whitney a few years ago, he’d literally lived with her in Southern California. It  saved her life.

But this is now a long time ago. Back then, we all blamed Bobby Brown for Houston’s problems. But Bobby is long gone, married to someone else. I am told that Whitney and her mother, the great singer Cissy Houston, have been on the outs for months because of Whitney’s drug addiction. Whitney’s story is tragic, because she had the greatest voice of her generation, and a future full of promise. All of it has been squandered by drugs.

If you catch her appearance with Chaka Khan at a recent Prince show,(on YouTube)  you can see Whitney barely singing, handing the microphone to Chaka. She looks terrible. Maybe if Warren Boyd is back with her, there will be improvement. I’m not kidding when I say that everyone roots for Whitney Houston.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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