John Houston, 82, father of singer Whitney Houston and a theatrical manager since the early days of rhythm and blues, died Sunday in a New York hospital. He had been suffering from diabetes and heart disease.
Well before his daughter's rise to fame, Mr. Houston managed the career of her mother, Cissy Houston. She sang with the Sweet Inspirations, a backing vocal group to artists including Aretha Franklin.
Relations between Mr. Houston and his daughter, who has acknowledged having drug problems, took an especially awkward turn recently when his company, John Houston Entertainment LLC, sued hers for $100 million. The suit sought compensation for helping to get a marijuana charge against her dismissed and for getting her a new record contract.
Mr. Houston even made a public appeal to his daughter in an interview with the syndicated TV news magazine Celebrity Justice in December: "You get your act together, honey, and you pay me the money that you owe me."