As soon as Rick James' main squeeze proved herself a great singer there was no looking back. Never to be confused with a ditzy bimbo, she quickly started writing and producing her own work. Marie weathered R&B barbarians at the gate during the 1980s but she fell victim to the diva onslaught of the '90s. This is a shame because Marie was one of the best soul singers around and could teach the current crop of young upstarts about getting funky with feeling. Sadly, on December 26, 2010, Marie was found dead in her L.A. home. She was just 54 years old.