Denise Gordy: ‘Secret’ mother of Marvin Gaye’s son who excelled on TV

Denise Gordy: 'Secret' mother of Marvin Gaye's son who excelled on TV

Denise Gordy graced television screens, particularly in the US,  in the late 1990s. She quickly became a fan favourite and continues to serve as an inspiration to new actors in the television industry.

She followed in the footsteps of more experienced members of her family, which is recognised for attaining commercial excellence in the entertainment industry. She is, however, more prominent for birthing into the world the offspring of a superstar.

So, who is Denise Gordy, the entertainer who helped save her aunt’s face and that of the famous Gaye family?

Denise Gordy biography

Denise Georgette Gordy was born on November 11, 1949, in Detroit, situated in the US state of Michigan. She is the daughter of George and Rosemary Gordy. She is also a niece of Motown Records founder, Berry Gordy, and she is one of several Gordy siblings, including Patrice and George Gordy, Jr. Anna Gordy Gaye was her aunt. 

Gordy was born into a family of entertainers, almost every member of her family tree was in one way or the other involved in show business. The Gordy family is a famous African-American family notable for being in the entertainment industry.

Gordy has two children: Marvin Gaye III and actress Bianca Lawson. Two years after her marriage to Richard Lawson, her mother, Rosemary, died in 1980. Furthermore, in 2011, her father passed away in his sleep at the age of 85.

Denise Gordy, Bianca Lawson and Richard Lawson
Denise Gordy, Bianca Lawson and Richard Lawson


As earlier mentioned, Gordy comes from a family heavily entrenched in the entertainment business. It is, therefore, not surprising where she drew her inspiration and tailored her career path subsequently. She is a former film and television actress and singer.

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Gordy made her acting debut in 1972 while she was in her early 20s, starring in the Lady Sings The Blues, a biopic that was centred around the life of legendary Jazz songstress, Billie Holiday. Gordy showcased her vocal dexterity, performing as a chorister and dancer at a nightclub. 

Her next movie role came two years after;  this time, she appeared in the movie Black Fist, an obscure 1974 blaxploitation film about a streetfighter who goes to work for a white gangster and a corrupt cop. Gordy also contributed vocals to the soundtrack CD for Black Fist, which was once known as Bogard, and recorded the song Let’s Do It Again for the film.

Her next acting gig was an uncredited feature in the Motown-produced comedy movie, Mahogany, which starred singer Diana Ross as its lead. The movie was directed by her uncle and founder of Motown, Berry Gordy, and released under Motown’s production.

Concerning television, she made her first appearance in 1976 on an episode of Starsky and Hutch, where she played the role of a prostitute. She also played a minor role in the ABC series, Charlie’s Angels in the same year. As the year 1977 rolled in, Gordy bagged a role in the movie, Scott Joplin.

She made an impressive run of TV appearances in the 1980s, starring on several shows, including Naked Essence, Enos, at Ease, That’s a Life and ABC’s Fantasy Island. Gordy is noted for her performances in the 80s films: My Man Adam, which was released in 1985, and Before School Girls, released in 1986.

As her acting career went on into the 1990s, she appeared in the 1991 movie, Toy Soldiers, which was her last acting project. Gordy retired from acting quite early due to intolerable stress and downs in her personal life. 

Denise Gordy and Debbie Joyce
Denise Gordy and Debbie Joyce

Denise Gordy net worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth, the estimated net worth of Gordy is $10 million. Her career as an actress is reported to have raked in sufficient income for her. 

Denise Gordy and Richard Lawson

Gordy got married to Richard Lawson on December 31, 1978. Before pursuing a career in acting, Lawson served in the military, participating in the Vietnam War.

Lawson is also an established actor and appeared in several movies and  TV series since the 1970s. His marriage to Gordy produced one daughter, actress Bianca Lawson, born in 1979. 

Gordy and Lawson would later come to a divorce in 1989, after 11 years of marriage.

After his divorce, Lawson had a son named Ricky Lawson, born in 1992. On March 22, 1992, Lawson survived the USAir Flight 405 plane crash, after take-off from LaGuardia Airport, in Queens, New York City.

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He is currently married to fashion designer Tina Lawson, the mother to Beyoncé and Solange Knowles.

Denise Gordy’s son

Marvin Gaye III

Gordy gave birth at the age of 16 in 1966 to Marvin Gaye III, the son of the late American singer and songwriter, Marvin Gaye. Her aunt, the late Anna Gordy Gaye, was unable to conceive and convinced her niece to bear a child for her.

While Gordy was pregnant, Gaye staged a pregnancy and convinced the public that she was heavy with a child. Following Marvin Gaye III’s birth, Gaye adopted the child as hers. It was not until 1998 that Gordy publicly declared that she was Gaye’s biological mother.


Gordy is a native of Detroit, Michigan state in the United States of America. She is of African-American origin. 

Instagram page

Gordy has no active Instagram handle. She is a grandmother and prefers to live a quiet life away from social media.

Marvin Gaye and Denise Gordy’s relationship

Back in the day, the story of Gordy and the late, iconic musician, Marvin Gaye, was rather controversial. Although she was not married to Gaye, she gave birth to the musician’s first son, Marvin Gaye III. The singer’s wife, Anna Gaye, who was Gordy’s aunt, consented to the plan because she was unable to conceive. 

It was a well-orchestrated plan, as Anna Gaye even flaunted a fake baby bump weeks before Gordy gave birth to Marvin Gaye III. Marvin and Anna Gaye claimed to be the child’s biological parents, and the public was kept in the dark for a long time.

However, Gordy and Marvin Gaye were not known to have an illicit affair after the birth of Marvin Gaye III.


From becoming a mother at a young age to moving on to excel in the movie world and having a daughter who follows in her legacy, Denise Gordy is a proud mother and grandmother who has proven that against all shortcomings, making the best of bad situations can never go wrong.

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