August 9th, 2012
01:58 PM ET
Whitney Houston's life was heartbreakingly short, but it was filled with achievements. On what would have been her 49th birthday today, we can see how much she accomplished in her lifetime.
The Newark, New Jersey native provided a soundtrack to our lives in the late '80s, racking up seven consecutive No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Those tracks included hits like ...
... 1985's "Saving All My Love For You":
... 1986's "How Will I Know":
... 1987's "I Want to Dance With Somebody":
... and 1988's "So Emotional":
Not to mention, she inspired thousands of singers with her recording of "I Will Always Love You," which spent 14 weeks at No. 1 after its release in 1992. The soundtrack on which the single appeared, "The Bodyguard," was also a smash, spending 20 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
"The Bodyguard" soundtrack also won the Album of the Year Grammy in 1993, one of six that Houston earned throughout her career. ("I Will Always Love You" also picked up a Grammy at the same ceremony for Record of the Year.)
But while her music is a lasting part of our memories, so are her movie roles, particularly her turn in 1992's "The Bodyguard"; 1995's "Waiting to Exhale"; 1996's "The Preacher' s Wife"; and 1997's "Cinderella."
Idolator found Houston's film and TV career to be "surprisingly ... small" for a woman "with such charisma, beauty and confidence on-screen."
Perhaps that would've changed had she lived. When Houston died at 48 in February, her latest film project, "Sparkle," was being produced for an August 17 release. The cast has talked extensively about what a positive presence she was on the set, and how she brought so much to the film, both personally and professionally.
The film's star, Jordin Sparks, recounted on CNN Thursday morning that just as Houston thought she was the perfect fit for the movie, the feeling was mutual:
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