Are Any Of The Original Temptations Still Alive?


10 Answers

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Otis williams is the last remaining ORIGINAL TEMPTATION left. Dennis Edwards is alive but he was a replacement for David remaining.
Michael Regenauer Profile
I know that Otis Williams is still with the group. Paul Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks,
Melvin Franklin have passed away. It's been a long time since Smokey Robinson led the group
but they have done quite well over the last 40+years.
thanked the writer.
nettie commented
Dennis Edwards one of the original temptations is still alive as of Sept 2008..during a interview regarding the temptations all others are deceased....hope this helps you....
carol washington
carol washington commented
Smokey robinson wrote for the group and many others. He was lead singer for the miracles.
Keith Jackson Profile
Keith Jackson answered
Just Otis Williams and David Ruffin's replacement, Dennis Edwards, who sang lead on the group's 1970 hit "Ball Of Confusion(That's What The World Is Today)" The rest are all dead!
Gregg DesElms Profile
Gregg DesElms answered
This is an old question, so I don't know why I'm bothering to answer it, except that some of the other answers I'm reading here are a little superficial or frivolous...

...and I'd simply like to finally just get this question answered both thoroughly and correctly as of December 2010, to wit:

The original Temptations were formed in 1960 as "The Elgins," which group name was the same as another group already on the Motown label, hence the subsequent name change to "The Temptations."

The five absolutely original members were from two groups already in existence, one called "The Primes," and the other called "The Distants." 

From "The Primes" came first tenor (and falsetto) Eddie Kendricks, and second tenor (and sometimes baritone) Paul Williams.

From "The Distants" came the other three members:  Second tenor Otis Williams, first tenor Elbridge "Al" Bryant, and bass Melvin Franklin.

Paul and Otis Williams were not, contrary to what many believed at the time, related.  They simply shared a common last name.

Elbridge "Al" Bryant died on October 26, 1975, at age 36.

Melvin Franklin died on February 23, 1995, at age 52.

Eddie Kendricks died on October 5, 1992, also at age 52.

Paul Williams died on August 17, 1973, at the age of 34.

Otis Williams still lives, and is 69 years old at this writing.  Nicknamed "Big Daddy," he is the only original and founding member of "The Temptations" who is still alive; and he still performs with the current incarnation of the group.

Back in... Let me think... I believe it was the summer of 1989, about six months after The Temptations were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and a couple years after the release of their album "Together Again," I happened to be staying in the little (now torn-down) hotel owned and operated by Johns Hopkins University Hospitals, at the edge of its campus in Baltimore.  I was a "regular," there because one of my clients (Radiology Magazine) had an editorial office in the building right across the parking lot from the hotel; and though I lived in Chicago at the time, I was there a lot in those days working on the manuscript tracking software that I had written for the magazine (and its sister publication "Radiographics," headquartered 30 miles away in Washington, DC), and doing other IT work there.

Because I was there so often, and stayed several days at a time whenever I was there, I was often allowed to stay in one of the little hotel's large suites for the price of a regular room as long as I agreed not to require maid service each day, and as long as no one else needed the suite.  I would set-up my computers and work in the suite's roominess and comfort rather than tie-up any desks in Radiology's small offices; and then I'd go into said offices late in the afternoons and work late into the night installing, testing and tweaking on the actual computer network what I had written, or making hardware/system changes, etc.

On that summer 1989 visit, the hotel manager visited me in my suite on my third or fouth day there and told me that they would have to move me to a regular room (and that I would be given said room for less than half the normal rate to compensate me for my inconvenience).  When I asked why I was being moved I was told that it was because "The Temptations" (or at least the version of the group which existed at that time) were coming to town, and the the suite was needed for them... That, in fact, they were renting two of the suites, plus a couple of regular rooms.

I was surprised, frankly, that The Temptations would stay in a place like that.  Don't get me wrong, it was quite nice for such a small hotel, tut it was actually more like a luxury motel, if such a thing can be imagined.  It was really mostly only used to house the families who came from out of town to visit patients in the hospital, or to house visiting physicians and students who needed a place to stay for a couple weeks or a month or whatever.  At any given moment, only a tiny handful of rooms were ever rented to the general public.  So it just seemed odd to me that of all the hotels -- some of them very, very nice -- in Baltimore, The Temptations would choose that one... I mean, other than I'm sure it was compartively inexpensive, considering the actually fairly nice (for the money) accommodations.

After asking if there wasn't another suite in the hotel that they could use (and being told that the one I was in was the biggest and nicest), I agreed to move and promptly did.  A couple hours later, when I realized that I had left a large black canvas carrying case with some cables and things in it slid under one of the beds, I went back to the suite and found housekeeping cleaning it in preparation for the arrival of The Temptations; and, indeed, my bag was still under the bed, and I took it and thanked the maids for their understanding...

...and as I headed toward the open door to the suite, The Temptations arrived, and I got to meet them (and so did the maid, the older of which got all giggly).  It was impossible not to explain who I was and what I was doing there without telling of how I was bumped from the suite (and assuring them that I didn't mnd), which, to my astonishment, made Mr. Williams feel bad...

...and so next thing you know, I was being invited to the suite later that evening for a few beers and little just hanging out (which I did, but only for an hour or so); and I was also offered a free ticket and backstage pass to the next evening's concert (which I couldn't attend because by the next afternoon I needed to be in Washington, DC working on the software and system at the Radiographics offices for two days, and then back for a meeting in Chicago right after that).

I nevertheless found the five of them (and their entourage all assembled in the suite for beers and a sort of minor party that night) to be a remarkably friendly and down-to-earth bunch of, interestingly, all guys (not a woman among 'em).  They were visibly tired, though.  Touring, one of them said -- twice, and with lament -- "is a pretty rough life."  I'm not sure how many of them actually wanted to be there, to be candid.

I forget, now, where they were performing the following evening, but I remember thinking at the time that it wasn't a very big venue.  Still, it was respectable, and according to the newspapers two days later, it was a sell-out, enthusiastic and appreciative crowd.  And, what the heck... I got a cool story from it all that I've told several times throughout my life since then.

It was, in any case, a real treat, for me, which punctuated what would otherwise have been a very routine and mundane working trip that I had made so many times, by then, that I was kinda' sick of it.  But not that time!

Hope that helps.

Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA
gregg at greggdeselms dot com
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Otis is the one in the group that is still alive.I know because he lives not too for  from my old house

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