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April 26, 2012 


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Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston
First Look: Whitney Houston Shines In 'Sparkle'
Posted: April 26, 2012
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Cee Lo Green, Mike Epps and Jordin Sparks help Whitney Houston return to the big screen for the last time in the girl group movie "Sparkle."

Houston served as executive producer of the movie, which had already finished filming in Detroit when she died in Beverly Hills on Feb. 11 at age 48.

A brief preview shared with theater owners Wednesday night at the CinemaCon conference in Las Vegas featured Houston's trademark dazzling smile as she danced in a living room in celebration.

The remake of the 1976 movie stars Houston as the mother of three girls who form a singing group and struggle with fame and drug addiction. The movie, scheduled for release in August, was seen as a comeback vehicle for the superstar, whose career suffered in recent years as she battled with drug and alcohol abuse.

The preview footage largely focused on Sparks, who was seen playing a piano in a modest home, glasses dangling from her nose. In later scenes, she appeared glammed up in sparkling, curve-hugging gowns. It's the American Idol winner's first notable Hollywood role.

Green also sings in the movie.

Houston labored for 12 years to get "Sparkle" on the big screen. The film marked her first return to cinema since 1996's "The Preacher's Wife." Her Hollywood debut came 20 years ago in the blockbuster movie "The Bodyguard."

Houston, a multi-platinum singer, earned her first No. 1 hit by age 22.

An autopsy showed she accidentally drowned in a hotel room bathtub on the eve of the Grammy Awards. Heart disease and cocaine use were contributing factors.

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