Status: In Development
Release Date: TBA
Studio(s): Warner Bros, De Line Pictures, Voltron Pictures
Cast: Tyreese Gibson (Teddy Pendergrass)
Details: Warner Bros Pictures has acquired the life rights of iconic Philadelphia-born R&B singer-songwriter Teddy Pendergrass, a movie project that has Fast & Furious actor Tyrese Gibson set to star in the lead role. Donald De Line will produce via his De Line Pictures studio banner, along with Lee Daniels and Gibson via his Voltron Pictures. Pendergrass’ widow, Joan Pendergrass, is an executive producer.
In the early 70s, Teddy Pendergrass rose to fame as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes before skyrocketing to stardom as a solo artist, releasing four consecutive platinum albums between 1977-1981 (then a record for an African-American R&B artist). His work included numerous hits and his massive popularity continued to escalate. By the end of the 80s, with the media calling him “The Black Elvis” — not only for his unprecedented crossover popularity, but also for the mansion similar to Elvis’ Graceland he built just outside his hometown of Philadelphia.
On March 18, 1982, while driving his Rolls Royce, Pendergrass lost control on Lincoln Drive in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, hitting a guard rail, crossing into opposing traffic and careening into two trees. He suffered a spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down. Suicidal after the accident, Pendergrass would struggle to come back from the tragedy with the help of an extraordinary psychiatrist — who was also a paraplegic — to learn how to sing all over again. For the next two decades, he would continue his successful solo career until his retirement in 2007. Pendergrass died in 2010. Source: Deadline; Photo: Black Enterprise.