Ali Ollie Woodson, lead singer of the Motown quintet the Temptations, died of cancer recently in Los Angeles. He was 58.
Woodson was born as Ollie Creggett, on Oct. 12, 1951 in Detroit. He sang with the Temptations from 1984 to 1986, and then again from 1988 until 1996, when he began performing as a solo artist. Woodson also worked closely with Aretha Franklin and Bill Pinkney of The Drifters.
Pinkney launched Woodson’s career when he put him on the road as a musician at 19 years old. The Michigan native began as a musician until Pinkney made him a vocalist for the Original Drifters in the 1970’s. Woodson succeeded as an Original Drifter but truly rose to fame with the Temptations in the early 1980’s.
When Woodson joined the Temptations, he replaced Dennis Edwards as the lead and helped bring back the group’s success with songs like “Treat Her Like a Lady,” which he co-wrote, co-produced, and sang the lead vocals on, as well as other hits such as “Sail Away” and “Lady Soul.”
Woodson officially left the group in 1996 and traveled with his own Temptation-esque group, Ali-Ollie Woodson and the Emperors of Soul.
He later tried his hand at acting with a guest appearance on the “Jamie Foxx Show” in 1997 and also appeared in a few movies.
Woodson was diagnosed with throat cancer while he was still touring with the Temptations, but had surgeries to remove it. It recurred two years later, and he was then diagnosed with leukemia in 2008.
Woodson is survived by his wife Juanita, two children A.J. and Aliah, and a granddaughter.
Services were held recently at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena.