Just a few months after Nicholas Ashford's sudden death, his widow and music partner Valerie Simpson will celebrate his life and legacy at a star-studded gala in Chicago. The event, called "An Evening With Valerie Simpson," will be aired on PBS as part of The HistoryMakers annual spotlight on African-American leaders.
The husband-and-wife duo, known worldwide as Ashford & Simpson, had a prolific run as producers/songwriters for Motown Records starting in the 1950s. They worked with some of the most famous musical acts in the world (Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight, to name a few), and wrote numerous hits, including the classic, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." The couple soon started singing themselves, and toured profilically well into the 1980s.
The couple married in 1974 and raised two daughters. Ashford passed away on August 22, 2011 from complications of throat cancer.
(Photo: Paul Abell/PictureGroup)