Young R&B star Aaliyah
was poised to become a dual threat in both the recording and film industries when her life was tragically cut short in an airplane accident in August 2001.
She was born Aaliyah Haughton on January 16, 1979, in Brooklyn and moved to Detroit when she was five. By the time she turned nine, Aaliyah
was performing publicly, even turning in a five-day stint at age 11 in Las Vegas with Gladys Knight, her uncle's ex-wife. Four years later, under the tutelage of R. Kelly, she recorded and released her first album, Age Ain't Nothin' but a Number. During this time, rumors surfaced that the pair married despite their significant age difference (and Aaliyah
's status as a minor), but neither party confirmed or denied them, although the music magazine Vibe printed what appeared to be a marriage certificate showing it to be true.
quickly ended the marriage and moved on to work with producers Missy Elliot and Timbaland, who helped get some of her work onto soundtracks -- including her hit single "Are You That Somebody?" from the Dr. Doolittle soundtrack. Her work on soundtracks -- including Anastasia and Next Friday -- led to an interest in film. She composed songs and made her acting debut in 2000's Romeo Must Die. The film was a financial success, raking in 55.9 million dollars in the U.S., despite receiving lukewarm reviews.
As for Aaliyah
, many reviewers overlooked her performance to comment on Jet Li's first American leading role, but those who didn't gave her more-than-passable marks. This attention helped her win parts in the Anne Rice vampire tale The Queen of the Damned -- which turned out to be her second and final film appearance (with the film still in post-production at the time of her death) -- and in The Matrix: Reloaded (the first sequel to the 1999 blockbuster The Matrix), which was only one month away from beginning principal photography when her fatal accident occurred.
and eight other people were killed on August 25, 2001, when their chartered plane crashed shortly after takeoff. The group was returning to the United States from the Bahamas after having shot a music video for a song from her third album. An investigation into the incident revealed that the plane had been severely overloaded with luggage, thus causing what appears to have been an entirely avoidable and unmistakably tragic accident. ~ Stephanie M. Kuenn, Rovi
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Both on record and on the silver screen, Aaliyah had shown more promise than many performers twice her age. Sadly, her life and career were both cut tragically short when she was killed in a 2001 plane crash at the age of 22. This unauthorized documentary from Leftfield Media attempts to recount the young singer and actress' life by assembling a number of exclusive interviews with those who knew Aaliyah best. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
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The second and third novels in author Anne Rice's popular book series The Vampire Chronicles provide the inspiration for this horror sequel starring ill-fated actress and recording artist Aaliyah, who was killed in an airplane crash before the film's release. Stuart Townsend is the vampire Lestat, who has awakened from a century-long slumber and turned his considerable energy to rock music. His vampirism identity mistaken for a gothic hard rock publicity stunt along the lines of Kiss or Marilyn Manson, he quickly becomes a pop music sensation. Lestat's powerful music reaches the ear of the slumbering Akasha (Aaliyah), the millennia-old "queen of the vampires" who was the first immortal bloodsucker. Akasha is soon free and embarking on a quest to seize control of the world with Lestat at her side. In the meantime, Lestat becomes an object of fascination for Jesse Reeves (Marguerite Moreau), member of a secret order studying the supernatural called the Talamasca, and a band of ancient vampires come together in an effort to stop Akasha, even though her destruction could potentially cause their own deaths. Queen of the Damned co-stars Lena Olin and Vincent Perez. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
- Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend, (more)
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William Shakespeare's streak as the hottest storyteller in Hollywood continues with this modern-dress variation on Romeo and Juliet. In this loose adaptation, Hang Sing (Jet Li) is a former police officer from Hong Kong who comes to the United States following the death of his brother, the leader of an Asian crime ring. Hang Sing discovers that his brother had become involved in a turf battle with an African-American gang, led by Isaak (Delroy Lindo). But his blood lust begins to subside when he falls in love with Isaak's daughter Trish (Aaliyah) and finds himself torn between his affection for her and his desire for justice against the men who killed his brother. Romeo Must Die was the directorial debut of noted cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak; the supporting cast includes Russell Wong and Isaiah Washington. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
- Aaliyah, Anthony Anderson, (more)