Donna Summer's Family: Her 32-Year-Long Marriage and Her Children
The Queen of Disco herself, Donna Summer was an amazing and iconic recording artist that dominated the late 70's. Summer earned a total of 42 hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 in her lifetime, with 14 of those reaching the top-ten. The five-time Grammy winner was a force to be reckoned with throughout her musical career.
Although we lost her at a relatively young age back in 2012, her legacy lives on through her legendary music that defined an era of counterculture and extravagance. Her legacy also lives on through the people she left behind, her daughter and husband. Here's everything you need to know about the people keeping the singer's legacy alive.
THE STORY OF LADONNA ADRIAN GAINES
The iconic singer was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1948. She began performing at church and in school productions which gained her popularity amongst her peers. By 1967, she moved to New York City and joined the band, Crow. After the band failed to secure a recording contract and dissolved, Summer auditioned for a role in the counterculture musical, Hair.
She agreed to join the traveling production when they decided to take the musical to Germany. Here, she eventually became fluent in German, singing various songs in that language. In 1968, the singer released her first single, as Donna Gaines, a German version of the title "Aquarius" from the musical.
By 1971 the singer released a second single, a remake of the Jaynetts' 1963 hit, "Sally Go 'Round the Roses", from a one-off European deal with Decca Records. In 1969, she issued the single "If You Walkin' Alone" on Philips Records. Within three years, she moved to Vienna, Austria, and joined the Vienna Volksoper.
In 1974, while working part-time as a model and back-up singer, Summer met Germany-based producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte during a recording session for Three Dog Night at Musicland Studios. The working partnership would build Summer up to fame across Europe with singles "The Hostage" and "Lady of the Night".
A year later, the partnership would lead to the creation of "Love to Love You Baby". The song's release in America would come by Neil Bogart's Casablanca Records after playing it at one of their notorious parties to rave reception. The song reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
By early 1976 the song had become a Gold single, while the album had sold over a million copies. This shot Donna Summer to superstar status, her songs would be played in Disco Clubs all over the world, and the rest, as they say, is all history. Decades and multiple hits later, Donna Summers has gone down as one of our history's greatest singers.
Throughout her career, Summers won 5 grammy awards. She had along and fruitful marriage with a fellow musician and songwriter who would help her produce more hits. Sadly in 2012, the singer died after battling lung cancer for a few years. Now here's what you need to know about the singer's family.
HER SINGER-SONGWRITER HUSBAND
Donna Summer married her fellow musician and songwriter, Bruce Sudano July 16, 1980. Sudano co-founded the late '60s pop-rock band Alive N Kickin’, which scored a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Tighter, Tighter.” He later became a member of Brooklyn Dreams in the late '70s.
While part of that band Sudano enjoyed a top 5 hit with “Heaven Knows,” a duet featuring Summer and Sudano’s bandmate Joe Esposito. In 1979, Brooklyn Dreams and Summer wrote the title track "Bad Girls" for the best selling album of Summers' career Bad Girls. Moreover, Sudano also co-wrote the songs "Lucky" and "On My Honor" with Summer.
Summer and Sudano share two children together who you'll get to know more of in a bit. After Summers untimely death in 2012, Sudano has continued to pursue his musical career as a solo artist. He made his South by Southwest debut in 2014 and even went on tour with the rock band, The Zombies.
On his wife's death, he shared: "I lost my mother several weeks before Donna." This was while he was negotiating a new publishing deal where one of his songs featured in an upcoming Fed Ex commercial. He also shared "She said, 'You’ve put you on the side for a number of years, It's time for you to be you now.'"
Recently, Sudano also helped bring to life Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. It's a musical about the life of his late wife. The show opened on Broadway in April 2018. Later that year, the musician also premiered the music video to his new song "Fobidden Fruit" which explores his life on the road as a performer and single person again.
MIMI SOMMER, THE ARTIST'S DAUGHTER
Donna Summer's eldest daughter is Natalia Pia Melanie Sommer, now known as Natalie Dohler. She was born in 1973 in Munich, Germany. She is the daughter of Summer and her first husband Helmut Sommer, an Austrian actor whom she met while touring and singing back-up in Germany.
Natalia Pia, otherwise known as Mimi, married Richard Matthew Dohler in 1995. The ceremony took place at The Roland Park Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland. She was walked down the aisle half-way by her biological father Helmut Sommer, and the rest of the way by her stepfather, Sudano, who raised her.
Mimi Dohler is now a proud mother of four. Her daughter Savanna is a model and artist who recently performed live art at Citizen 615 clothing studio in Franklin, Tennesse. Dohler is also an artist who has created her own line of handcrafted jewelry which she sells quite successfully on Etsy.
MUSIC RUNS IN THE BLOOD - AMANDA SUDANO
Donna Summer's children with Bruce Sudano have certainly gotten the performing arts knack. Their second daughter is Amanda Sudano born on August 11, 1982. While living in Nashville, Tennesse where her family moved after living in Thousand Oaks, California, she met musician and songwriter Abner Ramirez.
Together with Abner Ramirez, they formed musical duo Johnnyswim in 2005. The two married in 2009 and have been touring the united states as the musical duo since. Over the years, the duo has appeared as musical guests on shows like "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", "Conan", and "Live with Kelly and Ryan".
Amanda also received her mother's stunning looks which has lead to her having a successful career as a model as well. She is represented by the New York City-based, Bella Agency. In 2010, she was chosen to model for Louis Vuitton's Spring/Summer 2010 shoe campaign, making her the first black model to feature solely in Louis Vuitton ads.
She currently lives in Los Angeles, California. She has three children with Ramirez, a son, Joaquin, in February 2015. In 2018, she gave birth to a daughter, Luna and finally in November 2019, the couple announced on social media that Amanda had given birth to a second daughter named Paloma.
THE ACTRESS OF THE FAMILY - BROOKLYN SUDANO
Donna Summer's eldest child with her songwriting partner and husband Bruce Sudano is actress Brooklyn Sudano. At the age of 14, her family moved to Nashville, but Brooklyn and her sisters often joined their mother on tour. They even sang back up vocals for their mother at concerts and other performances.
Brooklyn studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. While studying acting, she began a successful modeling career like her sister. She signed with the Ford Modeling Agency. Sudano appeared in advertising campaigns for Clairol, Clean & Clear, and K-Mart to name a few of the brands she featured for.
Her on-screen career began, apart from being featured in her mother's music videos when she replaced Megan Good on Damon Wayan's sitcom, "My Wife and Kid's". She got her first feature film role in the film adaptation of V. C. Andrews' novel Rain. She also appeared in episodes of "CSI: NY" and "90210".
She most recognized for her role as 'Christy Epping' on "11.22.63" with James Franco, "Ballers" with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, and most recently for her recurring role on the tv series version of Liam Neeson's "Taken." On the show, she plays Asha Flynn and was featured for ten episodes.
She recently completed filming a tv movie about the legal drama inspired by former US Attorney General Eric Holder's life and career. The film is entitled "Main Justice". Sudano is currently filming drama and thriller "Last Summer". She has been married to Mike McGlaflin, since October 8, 2006. They have a daughter together.
That's everything you need to know about the late superstar, Donna Summer's three daughters and husband. Are you blown away at how much talent her children have, or did you expect it of the offsprings of such a talented woman? Let us know in the comment section. Stay tuned for more great content on your favorite celebrities, tv shows and movies here on Amomama!