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Tina Turner Is 74 Years Old Today. Here Are 9 'What's Love Got To Do With It' Facts You May Not Know

by Tambay A. Obenson
November 26, 2013 5:39 PM
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What's Love

Anna Mae Bullock, better known as Tina Turner, whose career spans over 50 years, is 74 years old today! So let's all say Happy Birthday to Ms Turner!

Tina Turner

Of course she was married to one Ike Turner, whom she later revealed abused her during the course of their marriage, in her autobiography, I, Tina, a book that became the basis of the 1993 film about her life, What's Love Got To Do With It - loosely based. 

And on account of today's celebration of the birthday of the star whose life is at the center of that film, I thought I'd dig up some related trivia; Yes, I'm sure some of you likely already know all of this, but for those who didn't know before today, now you do.

First, I should note that the film was a critical smash, scoring a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and earning both Angela Bassett, and co-star Laurence Fishburne, Oscar nominations (neither won). It wasn't a huge commercial success, although it did well enough, relative to budget.

And now for a few interesting Did You Knows... 

- Turner herself refused to be fully involved in the making of the film, saying publicly, "Why would I want to see Ike Turner beat me up again? I haven't dwelled on it; it's all in the past where it belongs." Although she did help Angela Bassett with her transformation into Tina Turner.

- Apparently almost every black actress in Hollywood at the time was considered for the part: Halle Berry, Whitney Houston, Robin Givens, Pam Grier, Vanessa L. Williams and Janet Jackson to name a few.

- Laurence Fishburne was said to have turned down the role of Ike Turner five times; and it was only until he learned that Angela Bassett was going to play Tina Turner, that he changed his mind.

- Charlie Murphy (Eddie's brother) is said to have auditioned for the role of Ike Turner.

Jenifer Lewis originally auditioned to play Tina Turner, but ended up playing Tina's mother in this film, even though she's only two years older than Angela Bassett, who played Tina.

- Angela Bassett was injured while filming the first spousal abuse sequence. She is said to have fallen off the back of a sofa, put her hands out to reduce the impact, and suffered a fracture on her right hand. Needless to say, she only did that stunt fall once.

- Vanessa Bell Calloway, who plays Jackie, the friend and former Ikette who shares Buddhism with Tina, was wary of chanting Buddhist words because of her strong Christian faith. Director Brian Gibson is said to have instead instructed her to mouth the words silently during taping, and then he added the words with a voice double in post-production.

- While Angela Bassett didn't actually sing Tina Turner's songs, Laurence Fishburne actually sang Ike Turner's parts.

- Ike Turner said that certain scenes of abuse depicted in the film didn't happen, as revealed in his own autobiography Taking Back My Name. Specifically, the scene where he beats and rapes Tina in their home studio, and the scene where he confronts her backstage with a handgun. But as noted earlier, the film is loosely based on Tina Turner's autobiography, meaning certain parts of it (several actually) were "fictionalized for dramatic purposes.

Happy 74th birthday Ms Turner who, just last month, filed paperwork with the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, to relinquish her United States citizenship, after she was granted Swiss citizenship earlier this year. She now calls Switzerland home - where she's lived for nearly two decades.

Here's the trailer for What's Love Got To Do With It as a reminder:

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More: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne

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  • Ray | April 30, 2014 6:41 PMReply

    According to bios on Ike Turner and Laurence Fishburne neither of them were Freemasons. So what the hell was Fishburne doing wearing a square & compasses necklace in a scene during the movie?

  • Penelope | November 27, 2013 8:02 PMReply

    Great article! You couldn't have chosen a nicer place to call home Tina!

  • AngieBNews | November 26, 2013 11:42 PMReply

    Nice article, Tambay! Happy Birthday, Ms. Tina! If I may add, Sam Jackson and Keith David also screen tested for the role of Ike Turner. Sam actually accidentally sprained Angela's wrist while acting out the first spousal abuse scene where Ike drags Tina kicking and screaming to another room.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | November 26, 2013 10:26 PMReply

    Switzerland, huh? Good for her.

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