Debby Boone is a singer, actress, and author, best known for her song ‘You Light Up My Life’ which peaked at number one on ‘Billboard Hot 100’ music chart for ten straight weeks. The song became the biggest hit at the time of its release, earning Boone her first ‘Grammy Award.’ She went on to win two more ‘Grammy Awards’ in the early-1980s. She has performed in many musical theater productions, such as ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,’ ‘South Pacific,’ ‘The King and I,’ and ‘Camelot.’ She has also appeared in television movies and series including the popular science fiction drama series ‘Baywatch Nights.’ As an author, Boone has written several children’s books by collaborating with her husband Gabriel Ferrer.
Childhood & Early Life
Debby Boone was born Deborah Anne Boone on September 22, 1956, in Hackensack, New Jersey, USA, to Shirley Foley Boone and Charles Eugene ‘Pat’ Boone. Born into a family of musicians, Boone was exposed to music at a young age. She spent her childhood with her sisters Cherry, Laury, and Lindy.
She embarked on a concert tour at the age of 14 along with her parents and sisters. After starting their music career by recording songs with their parents under the moniker ‘The Pat Boone Family,’ Boone and her sisters went on to record their own songs. Although they primarily recorded gospel music, they also came up with singles for record labels, such as ‘Motown Records’ and ‘Curb Records.’
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Debby Boone released her first solo song ‘You Light Up My Life’ in 1977. The song went on to become the biggest hit of the 70s, earning her ‘American Music Award’ for ‘Favorite Pop Single’ and ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best New Artist.’ It also earned her ‘Grammy’ nominations for ‘Record of the Year’ and ‘Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female.’
When ‘You Light Up My Life’ peaked at number one on ‘Billboard Hot 100,’ Boone released her debut solo album with ‘You Light Up My Life’ as its title track. The album and the single were certified platinum by ‘Recording Industry Association of America’ (RIAA). The album increased Boone’s popularity, earning her opportunities to appear in television shows and films. In 1978, she was cast to play Della in a TV movie titled ‘The Gift of the Magi.’
Boone struggled to replicate her initial success as her subsequent songs failed to impress music lovers. She then decided to focus on country music and released her first country song ‘In Memory of Your Love’ in 1978. The following year, she released a cover version of Connie Francis’ ‘My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own’ which became a success. In 1979, she released her eponymous album which had songs like ‘Girl Don't Come,’ ‘Choosey Beggar,’ and ‘My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own.’
In 1980, she released her next album ‘Love Has No Reason.’ The album’s hit single ‘Are You on the Road to Lovin' Me Again’ peaked at number one on ‘Billboard Country’ chart. Two other songs titled ‘Take It Like a Woman’ and ‘Free to Be Lonely Again’ peaked at number 44 and 14 respectively. In the same year, Boone turned her attention towards contemporary Christian music. Her first song in the genre titled ‘With My Song’ won her the ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Inspirational Performance’ and ‘Dove Award’ for ‘Best Album by a Secular Artist.’
Boone made her stage debut in 1981 when she played a part in a musical titled ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.’ She went on to perform as a stage musical actress in several regional theater productions throughout the 80s. In 1984, she played Clarissa Hope in a television movie titled ‘Sins of the Past.’ After releasing her 1989 album ‘Home For Christmas,’ Boone stopped recording albums to spend more time with her family. However, she continued appearing in stage plays and television series.
In 1990, she played the lead role of Maria in a musical titled ‘The Sound of Music.’ She had earlier played the role while touring in the late-1980s. In 1995, she played Lorraine in the popular television series ‘Baywatch Nights.’ The following year, she played Rizzo in the Broadway revival of ‘Grease’ at the ‘Eugene O'Neill Theatre.’
In 1997, she played Sarah in one of the episodes of the popular television sitcom ‘Step by Step.’ In the same year, she also played Jane in Henri Charr-directed action-adventure drama film ‘Hollywood Safari.’ In 1999, she played Beth Taylor in Sean McNamara-directed adventure-comedy film ‘Treehouse Hostage.’ In the same year, she also played Beth in a TV movie titled ‘Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story.’
Boone revived her singing career in 2005 when she released her album ‘Reflections of Rosemary’ under ‘Concord Records.’ The album, which was a tribute to her mother-in-law Rosemary Clooney, received favorable reviews from critics. ‘Reflections of Rosemary’ houses 14 tracks including popular songs like ‘Blue Skies,’ ‘The Best Is Yet to Come,’ ‘It Might as Well Be Spring,’ and ‘Time After Time.’
She returned to the Broadway stage in 2011 when she performed in the musical ‘Things Can't Always Be Awesome’ at the ‘Gramercy Theater.’ In the same year, she released an album titled ‘Swing This’ which celebrates the swing music of the 1960s. After releasing the album, she embarked on a concert tour across the United States.
Apart from singing and acting, Boone has also authored many books by collaborating with Gabriel Ferrer. After publishing her autobiography ‘Debby Boone So Far’ in 1981, she released her first children’s book ‘Bedtime Hugs for Little Ones’ in 1988. The following year, her third book ‘Tomorrow Is a Brand New Day’ was published. In 1991, a book titled ‘The Snow Angel’ was published. She came up with her fifth book ‘Welcome to This World’ in 1996 and then published her sixth book ‘Counting Blessings’ in 1998.
Family & Personal Life
Debby Boone’s maternal grandfather Red Foley was a musician and TV personality. He was one of the biggest stars of country music for more than two decades. Her father Pat Boone is a popular singer, composer, actor, and writer. In the late 1950s, he was rated the second-biggest charting artist behind Elvis Presley.
Boone dated Gabriel Ferrer before marrying him on September 1, 1979. Ferrer was born to Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney who were known for their acting skills. Despite belonging to a family of actors, Ferrer chose not to become an actor. He currently works as a priest in the ‘Episcopal Church.’ Boone lives along with her husband in Los Angeles, California.