Thomasina Winifred Montgomery
, known as Tammi Terrell
(April 29, 1945 – March 16, 1970) was an American singer-songwriter most notable for her association with Motown
and her duets with Marvin Gaye
. As a teenager she recorded for the Scepter
, Try Me
record labels. She signed with Motown in April 1965 and enjoyed modest success as a solo singer. Once she was paired with Gaye in 1967, her stardom grew, but on October 14 of that year she collapsed on stage into Gaye's arms during a performance. She was soon thereafter diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor
which eventually led to her death six weeks before her 25th birthday.
Early life and career
Tammi Terrell was born Thomasina Winifred Montgomery in Philadelphia
. Members of her family have said her parents figured their eldest child would be a son and had settled on "Thomas". After Terrell's birth, they added in "-ina". Terrell was called "Tommie" by family. Terrell has a younger sister, Ludie (born 1949). Terrell began singing in church at an early age. Terrell's mother reportedly suffered from clinical depression
. At eleven, Terrell was raped by three neighborhood boys while walking home from a neighborhood get-together. Terrell developed a rebellious, free-spirited streak and changed her name to "Tammy" after seeing the film Tammy and the Bachelor
in the summer of 1957 and hearing its theme song "Tammy". Around this time, Terrell began complaining of......