By Ben Seario – NY Times

Teena Marie, a singer whose funky hits in the 1980s, like “Lovergirl”and “Square Biz,” made her one of the few white performers to consistently find success on the rhythm-and-blues charts, died on Sunday at her home in Pasadena, Calif. She was 54.

The cause was not immediately known, but The Associated Press reported that the authorities said she appeared to have died of natural causes.

Born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, Calif., on March 5, 1956, she grew up in a predominantly black area of nearby Venice, Calif., and began singing and acting while still a child. At age 8, she tap-danced for Jed Clampett on an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” under the name Tina Marie Brockert. [Read More]