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Little Richard (born Richard Wayne Penniman) lost his battle to bone cancer at age 87 on May 9, 2020. His death certainly was not taken lightly, and friends like Demi Moore, Paul McCartney, and Michelle Obama took to social media to mourn and honor the legendary artist. Moore shared a black and white throwback photo from her wedding to Bruce Willis with the caption: “Remembering #LittleRichard today… Bruce and I were so lucky and honored to have him officiate our wedding back in 1987 — thankful for the memories. Rest easy.”
While Demi Moore and Bruce Willis are both well known for their renowned roles on the big screen, as well as some controversial decisions, Little Richard is famed for his musical talents and signature songs like “Tutti Frutti.” Despite his moniker, there is nothing little about the Macon, Ga. native. The 5’10 musician was quite the BIG superstar, influencing countless artists and entertaining the masses for seven decades. In the latter half of his career, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990, and received a total of five Grammys in his lifetime.
Surprisingly, in addition to breaking musical barriers and trailblazing rock and roll, he found the time to officiate the weddings of other celebrities. Demi Moore and Bruce Willis isn’t the only lucky couple to have been matrimonially blessed by the “Get Down With It” singer — keep scrolling to find out who else got bestowed with the honor.
Little Richard brought 'joy' to Tom Petty's wedding
Before Tom Petty died of cardiac arrest due to an accidental opioid overdose in 2017, he lived out a rich and successful career, as well as two long-term marriages. After a 22-year-long marriage to Jane Benyo, he re-connected with long-time friend Dana York, who reportedly encouraged him to get help for his addiction issues, according to the Daily Mail.
The twosome first married in Las Vegas and later held a second ceremony on June 3, 2001, attended by family and friends. Little Richard was the officiator, and Tom Petty’s Twitter account shared a photo reminiscing on the lovely event. “Little Richard is worshipped by anyone who loves rock and roll,” it read. “He officiated Tom’s wedding to Dana York and having him there that day filled him and everyone in attendance with joy, awe and delight. He will be sorely missed by the music community.”
Cyndi Lauper had a lot of love for Little Richard
Cyndi Lauper had a horrible time living on her own… until she met and married partner David Thornton, that is. The two met while rehearsing on a movie set and instantly felt a connection just after a couple of weeks. “Two weeks after we’d really gotten together, he was talking about marriage,” she told The Independent. ‘What do you think about someone who talks about marriage so soon?’ she added. However, before making any hasty decisions, the two decided to get to know each other more and eventually married six years later in 1991 and, of course, had Little Richard make it official.
Upon Penniman’s death, the “Time After Time” singer kept him in her prayers and tweeted, “So sad Little Richard passed away. He married my husband and I. He was really one of the truly great rock and roll singers and one of the rock and roll pioneers. He will be missed.”
Steven Van Zandt was 'honored' to have Little Richard officiate
Steven Van Zandt is also a big-time rockstar who similarly goes by the name ‘Little Steven,” along with “Miami Steve.” After years of rocking out and mingling while single, the E Street Band member eventually met his soulmate, Maureen Santoro, at age 32. On Dec. 31, 1982, Van Zandt suited up with his signature bandanna and had the highest of priests and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, Little Richard, marry him off in a ceremony held in New York City.
The couple doesn’t have any children together, but Van Zandt spends a lot of time with children via his Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to bring popular music programs back into schools and teaches children the history of rock.
Music is such an important aspect of the guitarist’s life, and on the day of Little Richard’s death, the artist tweeted about how lucky and honored he was to know the musical champion. “RIP Little Richard. The man who invented It. Elvis popularized it. Chuck Berry was the storyteller. Richard embodied the Spirit of RocknRoll. Maureen and I were so honored being the first marriage he conducted. Were lucky to know him. He lives forever in the Underground Garage,” he said.
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