Shonka Dukureh, who made her Hollywood debut because the celebrated blues singer Big Mama Thornton in the brand new Baz Luhrmann movie, “Elvis,” was discovered useless on Thursday in Nashville. She was 44.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department confirmed the demise however didn’t present a trigger, saying solely that no foul play was evident. One of Ms. Dukureh’s two younger kids discovered her unresponsive in her bed room on Thursday morning and ran to alert a neighbor, who known as 911, the police stated.
“Elvis,” Mr. Luhrmann’s extremely anticipated film concerning the lifetime of Elvis Presley, with Austin Butler in the title function and Tom Hanks as Presley’s supervisor, Tom Parker, opened in June. Big Mama Thornton, who recorded the unique model of “Hound Dog” in 1952, a yr earlier than Presley had a success with it, was Ms. Dukureh’s first main appearing function. In Thornton, she discovered a job that melded her booming voice along with her apparently rising appearing chops.
Her rendition of “Hound Dog” particularly captivated audiences. She had been planning to launch a studio album, titled “The Lady Sings the Blues,” in response to her website.
Ms. Dukureh stated she was from Nashville “by way of Charlotte, N.C.,” the place she was born on Sept. 3, 1977. She initially deliberate to develop into a instructor and held a grasp’s diploma in training from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, in response to her web site (which says she additionally held a bachelor’s diploma in theater from Fisk University, additionally in Nashville). She as a substitute pursued the humanities. Her highly effective voice was heard on worldwide excursions with Jamie Lidell and the Royal (*44*), and was a featured vocalist on a number of albums.
Her efficiency in “Elvis” quickly earned her followers; amongst them her fellow solid members. Olivia DeJonge, who performed Priscilla Presley in the movie, told Entertainment Weekly that watching Ms. Dukureh “was a spiritual experience.”
“To watch a star essentially be born, to have something in her sort of break free, was just — it was insane to watch,” Ms. DeJonge stated.
Information on survivors was not instantly accessible.