Tina Turner, Music Icon And Mad Max Star, Dead At 83

Tina Turner passed away at the age of 83 following years of declining health.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Tina Turner passed away today at the age of 83 (via The Guardian), and the world has lost one of its greatest musicians, icons, and a symbol of hope for anyone that has to deal with domestic abuse. Turner’s career started in the 50s and officially ended in 2009, though her music is going to last forever. In addition to her timeless ballads and incredible pop hits, she also had a memorable role as the villainous Aunty Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, contributing “We Don’t Need Another Hero” to the film’s soundtrack, making it the only Mad Max film to have a soundtrack reach the top spot on the Billboard charts.

Raised in the deep south, Tina Turner met Ike Turner in 1955 when she was 17, after grabbing a microphone at the night club and impressing the guitarist with her rendition of B.B. King. That was the start of what would be a successful partnership but a horrible marriage, as Ike would frequently beat his wife. Desperate to hold onto the most success he would ever have in his miserable life, Ike withheld all of Tina’s royalties, forcing her to work as a cleaning lady years after “Proud Mary” was the biggest song in the country.

Undeterred, Tina Turner reinvented herself, and the 1980s belonged to her, earning the title “The Queen of Rock’n’Roll.” Private Dancer, her most successful album of all time, came out in 1984, going Platinum five times over, and the second single, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” became her only song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. That year, Turner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrating a successful music career, even though the best was yet to come.

Tina Turner’s iconic look in the music video for “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

In 1988, Tina Turner played a concert on her world tour in Rio Di Janeiro and earned a spot in the record books. 180,000 screaming fans attended the concert at the Maracana Stadium, which was a world record for the largest concert by a solo artist, male or female. The closest an English-language artist has come to matching Turner’s feat in recent years is Ed Sheeran, bringing in 110,000 for a concert in Melbourne, Australia.

A few years before the record-setting concert, Tina Turner dominated the box office alongside Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, portraying the intelligent, crafty, and oddly sympathetic villain for the third film in the post-apocalyptic trilogy. The part was written by George Miller with Turner in mind, but he had no idea if she would accept the role. Thankfully, she did, adding to her already illustrious career.

Tina Turner fought her way out of hell with Ike Turner to conquer the world of music, leaving a lasting legacy on pop culture, and her influence can be seen today in even the most recent generation of singers, including pop stars Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, and Selena Gomez. At one point, considered the hardest-working woman in show business, Turner was famous for leaving it all on the stage. Now that she’s achieved Nirvana, she’s left a vast catalog of hits for the world to enjoy for every generation to come.