Teddy Pendergrass biopic to star Tyrese Gibson in title role

Tyrese Gibson in Furs Build Series.

The late Philly R&B star Teddy Pendergrass will be played by actor and singer Tyrese Gibson in an upcoming biopic from entertainment company Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. recently acquired the rights to tell the North Philadelphia native’s life story, with Gibson’s company Voltron Pictures set to produce the film. Lee Daniels, co-creator of Fox’s nighttime soap opera “Empire” will also produce the movie with Donald De Line of De Line Pictures. Pendergrass’ wife Joan Pendergrass is also slated to executive produce the film, according to Variety.

Gibson has been known for starring in movies like “The Fast and Furious” film series and as a recording artist received a Grammy nomination for his 1998 single “Sweet Lady.”

Teddy Pendergrass won the adoration of fans in the ‘60s and ‘70s as a member of influential singing group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. It was Pendergrass’ later work as a solo artist with music label Philadelphia International that paired him with songwriting and production team Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and saw Pendergrass become a superstar. 

A 1982 car crash on Lincoln Drive rendered Pendergrass paralyzed from the waist down. Pendergrass worked hard to rehabilitate himself and eventually continued his singing career as a quadriplegic. An emotional, memorable performance at the 1985 Live Aid charity concert in Philadelphia was televised to more than one billion viewers.

Pendergrass died of respiratory complications related to cancer in 2010 and left behind a legacy that touched music lovers across generations.

Teddy Pendergrass has recently been a renewed source of public interest following the release of the Showtime documentary “Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Me.” The almost two-hour documentary combined archival audio content and video footage with interviews of friends and associates that knew Pendergrass well and explored Pendergrass’ well-documented connections to his hometown.

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