Donny Edward Hathaway

Donny Edward Hathaway

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 13 Jan 1979 (aged 33)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Bel-Nor, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Plot Section 6, Lot 486, Grave 3
Memorial ID 6404772 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Singer, Composer. Born in Chicago, Hathaway spent most of his childhood in St. Louis. He lived in the projects with his grandmother Martha Pitts. He began singing professionally as Donny Pitts and was known as the the nation's youngest Gospel singer. In addition to his singing ability, Donny also played the ukulele and the piano at Vashon High School. He earned a scholarship to Howard University, where he met both his wife Eulaulah and singer Roberta Flack. He worked as a producer and arranger for artists such as Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers. After serving as the band director the Impressions, he recorded the single "I Thank You" for Curtis Mayfield's label and sang backup with the Mayfield Singers. His first single "The Ghetto, Part 1" reached #23 on the charts. He joined the Rick Powell Trio and left college after three years. After recording several more singles and an album, Donny recorded "You've Got a Friend" with Roberta Flack. Their single "Where Is the Love?" reached #5 on the charts & earned them a Grammy Award. He sang the theme song for the television program "Maude" and was hired by Quincy Jones to score the soundtrack for the 1972 film "Come Back Charleston Blue." In 1973, reportedly suffering from periods of depression, his partnership with Flack deteriorated and Hathaway faded into relative obscurity. Five years later, he recorded "The Closer I Get to You" with Flack. This was their bigest hit & reached #2 on the charts as well as earned them another Grammy nomination. Hathaway had dinner with his manager at Flack's New York apartment on January 13, 1979. Afterwards, he returned to his room at the Essex House. A few hours later, his manager was notified that Donny's body had been found on the ground beneath his 15th-story window. The hotel room was locked from the inside and there was no sign of foul play. The window's glass had been removed and laid on the bed. It appeared that he had jumped or fallen to his death. The New York City coroner ruled the death a suicide, but Hathaway's friends refused to accept that ruling. The Reverend Jesse Jackson conducted Hathaway's funeral, which was attended by many notable people including Roberta Flack and Stevie Wonder.

Bio by: Connie Nisinger

Family Members




How famous was Donny Edward Hathaway?

Current rating:

175 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Connie Nisinger
  • Added: 9 May 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6404772
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Donny Edward Hathaway (1 Oct 1945–13 Jan 1979), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6404772, citing Lake Charles Park Cemetery, Bel-Nor, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .