Deborah HarrySinger / Actor
Born: 1 July 1945
Birthplace: Miami, Florida
Best known as: Lead singer for the group Blondie
Deborah (Debbie) Harry is the lead singer for Blondie, the New York "new wave" band famous for the hit songs "Heart of Glass" and "Call Me." The group was formed in 1974 by Harry and her then-boyfriend, guitarist Chris Stein (b. 1950), and first included Fred Smith on bass and Billy O'Connor on drums. Prior to that Harry had recorded with a folk rock group, Wind in the Willows (1968), and performed with an all-female rock group (The Stilettoes), but she made her living doing a series of jobs, working as a waitress, secretary, bartender and, famously, Playboy Bunny (a hostess at one of Hugh Hefner's clubs). Blondie's first albums were popular in Australia and the U.K., but it was 1978's Parallel Lines that made them stars in the United States. They had hit songs like "Hanging on the Telephone" and "Heart of Glass," and their Pop-Art sensibilities and Harry's cool-blonde sex appeal made were a good fit in the early days of music videos. Harry and Blondie had more hits in the early 1980s, including "The Tide is High" and "Call Me" (the theme from the 1980 Richard Gere movie American Gigolo). She released a solo album, Koo Koo, in 1981 and boosted her celebrity with modelling, endorsements and appearances in movies and on TV, and by 1983 Blondie had dissolved. During the '80s she released Rockbird (1986) and Def, Dumb and Blonde (1989) and had hits with "In Love With Love" and "I Want That Man." She has also made many appearances in films and TV shows, notably in the movies Videodrome (1983), Hairspray (1988, directed by John Waters) and Cop Land (1997, starring Sylvester Stallone). Blondie reunites and performs on occasion, and Harry has maintained her popularity on the dance floor with re-issues and remixes of her songs. She still records and performs in a variety of media and is a fixture of New York's celebrity art world.
Extra credit: Blondie was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2006. Harry was joined by Chris Stein, keyboardist Jimmy Destri and drummer Clem Burke at the induction ceremony, which was interrupted by a spat with former members Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison.
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