Paula Abdul
About Paula Abdul

Paula Julie Abdul (of Syrian-Brazilian/French-Canadian ancestry) was born on June 19th, 1962 in San Fernando, California.

The youngest of two daughters born to Harry (once a livestock trader and now owner of a sand and gravel business) and Lorraine Abdul (a former assistant to film director Billy Wilder) she was inspired at an early age by the film 'Singing In The Rain', and as a young girl her ultimate ambition was to be a successful dancer like her idol Gene Kelly.

From the age of nine she undertook dance lessons where she impressed her teachers with her natural ability to dance.

She grew up in North Hollywood, CA where she has at age seven, performed in community theater groups, spent summers touring in US theatrical productions and begun studying jazz and tap dance techniques from age ten, to win a scholarship to study under Joe Traime at the Bell Lewitzky Company.

Attending Van Nuys High School, then Cal State-Northridge College, Abdul majored in TV radio studies with hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster.

Following graduation from high school Paula appeared on the small screen when she was just sixteen years old in the 1978 movie-musical 'Junior High School'.

In the early 1980's Paula attended and successfully auditioned to cheer for the LA Lakers dance troupe, the Laker Girls. She defeated hundreds of other hopefuls to cheer for the legendary basketball team where her unique and dynamic dance style earned her the position of head choreographer, earning her $50 per game during her freshman year.

She decides to take up a full-time career in dance and has already been asked to choreograph a Jacksons/Mick Jagger video for their single "Torture." This brings Paula into the pop dance arena, where she is now asked by the head of A&M Records A&R (John McClain) to choreograph for Janet Jackson, resulting in the hugely-successful generic dance-step visuals for Janet Jackson's hits "When I Think Of You," "Nasty," and "What Have You Done For Me Lately?"

Paula quickly becomes recognized as one of the most talented up-and-coming choreographers in Hollywood and is credited with the choreography of the films 'Private School' (1983) and 'Coming To America' (1988) the smash hit comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. She also choreographed routines for the highly popular TV series 'The Tracy Ullman Show'.

Janet compliments Paula on her vocals while choreographing one of Janet's music videos and decides to make the step up from background choreography to the limelight of stardom.

She uses her money and connections to record a demo tape which ends up in the hands of record executives at Virgin Records America.

In May 1988 she recorded and released a single called "Knocked Out" which peaked at number 41 on the Hot 100. A month later on June 13th Virgin released "Forever Your Girl", Paula's debut album. Her follow up single "The Way That You Love Me" peaked at just number 88.

Despite initial poor sales, a third single "Straight Up" released in February 1989 and was proven to be Paula's breakthrough to fame and fortune.

"Straight Up," written by genius songwriter/producer Elliot Wolff shot 'straight up' to number one on the music charts.

Newfound success allowed Virgin to release the album's title track "Forever Your Girl" as a single, and that too went number one.

Paula had her third number #1 in September with the single "Cold Hearted". "The Way That You Love" peaked at number 3 in December 1989.

In February 1990 Paula had her forth #1 with "Opposites Attract" (along with MC Skat Kat). To this day Paula remains one of the few female artists to have four number ones from her debut album.

The 'Forever Your Girl' album sold over ten million copies worldwide, going multi-platinum and making Paula Abdul a household name worldwide. In May 1990, 'Shut Up And Dance', a collection of dance remixes from 'Forever Your Girl' was released as a follow up to its initial success.

Paula's second album 'Spellbound' was released in
1991, and it appeared that her success would contain where Forever Your Girl left off.

The first single from 'Spellbound', 'Rush Rush' went to #1 in May 1991 and stayed there for an incredible five weeks. Her second single 'Promise Of A New Day' also went to #1 in September. Her third single 'Blowing Kisses In The Wind' peaked at number six in February 1992, marking the down point in Paula's commercial success. However, she continued to make headlines with her highly publicized marriage to Emilo Estevez.

It was around this time when problems in Paula's personal life began to cloud her career. In 1992 she confessed to suffering from the eating disorder bulimia and checked herself into a clinic.

She divorced Emilo Estevez in May 1994, citing irreconcilable differences, although they remain friends to this day.

Her reputation was also damaged when backing vocalist Yvette Marine claimed she, and not Paula, had sung the main vocals on several tracks from the 'Forever Your Girl' album. Paula Abdul and Virgin eventually won the case.

By 1995 Paula had successfully overcome her obstacles and prepared to return to the spotlight by releasing her third album 'Head Over Heels', a bold departure from her first two albums, with a mixture of pop, soul and a little bit of hip-hop.

Unfortunately, a new generation of musicians had overtaken her, and 'Head Over Heels' peaked at just 18 on the Billboard 100.

Three singles were released from 'Head Over Heels', including 'Crazy Cool', 'My Love Is For Real' and 'Ain't Never Gonna You Up' all failed to reach the top twenty.

In October 1996 Paula engaged and married Brad Beckerman, heir to the clothing giant, Starter, in a whirlwind romance after they were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. They divorced just seventeen months later citing irreconcilable differences.

In January 1997 Paula ventured into TV, making her adult acting debut with ABC's Sunday Night Movie "Touched By Evil", the true story of woman recovering from a brutal rape.

Paula went on to make appearances on 'Spin City' and 'The Wayan Bros.' sitcoms. More recently she has appeared on NBC's 'Mr. Rock & Roll: The Allen Freed Story', the cable TV movie 'The Waiting Game', NBC's 'Saturday Night Live', ABC's 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch' and FOX TV's smash hit "American Idol."

In 1998 she released her aerobic video 'Cardio Dance', a follow up to her critically acclaimed 'Get Up and Dance' video released in 1995. She has also established her own company, Co Dance.

A starring role in the Broadway musical 'Sweet Charity' was postponed due to production problems.

In 2000 Virgin Records released a 'greatest hits' package containing all fourteen of Abdul's hits including fan favorite, "Crazy Love", a b-side found on the import version of "Head Over Heels."

Never before has there been an artist who has been equally recognized, awarded and celebrated "in front of the camera" as well as "behind the camera."

In front of the camera, Paula's extraordinary music career is exemplified by worldwide album sales exceeding 30 million records, two (2) #1 Albums, six (6) #1 Singles, a Grammy Award, seven (7) MTV Awards, two (2) Emmy Awards, two (2) People's Choice Awards, and (2) Kids Choice Awards just to name a few.

Paula has also been honored with her very own Star on Hollywood Boulevard, and was inducted into Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Hall of Fame.

She also has three long haired Chihuahuas named: Thumbelina, Tulip and Tinkerbell.



Go Back - The Official Paula Abdul Fan Site
Career Highlights

Discography: Full Length LP's

1. Forever Your Girl (1988)
2. Shut Up & Dance (1990)
3. Spellbound (1991)
4. Under My Spell 'Live in Japan' (1993)
5. Head Over Heels (1995)
6. The Greatest : Limited Edition [Japan] (1998)
7. The Greatest Hits (2000)

Discography: Singles

1. Knocked Out
2. The Way That You Love Me
3. Straight Up
4. Forever Your Girl
5. Cold Hearted
6. The Way That You Love Me (rereleased)
7. Opposites Attract
8. Rush Rush
9. The Promise of a New Day
10. Vibeology
11. Blowing Kisses In The Wind
12. Will You Marry Me?
13. My Love is For Real
14. Crazy Cool
15. Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up

Discography: Special Appearances

1. Beverly Hills 90210- The Soundtrack
2. For Our Children- The Album
3. For Our Children- The Concert (album)
4. Hot Ladies of the 80's (various)
5. RuPaul's Go-Go Box Classics (various)
6. MTV Party To Go (Volume 1)
7. Rock The First (Volume 3)
8. Rock The First (Volumes 1-6) (Box)
9. Hot Moves
10. First Generation- Virgin 25
11. Sounds Of The 90'S-Into The 90 (CD1) (2001)
12. Chart Hits Of The 80s (2001)
13. Frequency 99-Hits Of The 90'S (CD2) (2001)
14. Casey Kasem America's Top 1: 1990's Top 10
15. Rock On : Rock On-1990
16. Essential 80'S : 1985-89-Essential 80'S
17. Disco Queens-'80s (1997)
18. Shape Fitness Music : Cardio 1-Moderate Pace
19. Bad Boy Bill Presents : Vol. 1-Bangin' The Box
20. Ultra Mix
21. Rhythm + Grooves: Groove Is in the Heart

Discography: Other:

1. Co-wrote "Ooh La La La" for "Nobody's Angel" (2000)
2. Co-wrote "Spinning Around" for Kylie Minogue (1999)

Videography: Music Videos

1. Knocked Out
2. The Way That You Love Me
3. Straight Up
4. Forever Your Girl
5. Cold Hearted
6. The Way That You Love Me (rereleased)
7. Opposites Attract
8. Skat Strut
9. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah
10. Rush Rush
11. The Promise of a New Day
12. Vibeology
13. Blowing Kisses In The Wind
14. Will You Marry Me?
15. My Love is For Real
16. Crazy Cool
17. Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up

Filmography: TV/Video

1. Junior High School (1978/81)
2. Paula Abdul -Straight Up (1989)
3. Under My Spell Live in Japan (1992)
4. Captivated Video Collection 92' (1992)
5. Get Up & Dance (1995)
6. Touched By Evil (1997)
7. The Waiting Game (1998)
8. Cardio Dance (1998)
9. Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story (1999)
10. American Idol: [Season 1] (2002)
11. American Idol: [Season 2] (2003)
12. American Idol: [Season 3] (2004)
13. American Idol: [Season 4] (2005)
14. Paula Abdul: Video Hits (2005)
15. Ultimate Voice Coach (2005)

Choreography Projects: Film

1. Private School (1983)
2. Can't Buy Me Love (1987)
3. The Tracy Ullman Show (1987)
4. Running Man (1987)
5. Dragnet (1987)
6. Big (1988)
7. Coming to America (1988)
8. Bull Durham (1988)
9. She's Out of Control (1989)
10. Karate Kid III (1989)
11. The Doors (1991)
12. Jerry Maguire  (1997)
13. American Beauty  (1999)
14. Various Academy Awards Choreography Projects
15. Various American Music Awards Choreography
16. Reefer Madness (Broadway, 2000)
17. Black Knight (2001)
18. Master of Disguise (2002)

Misc. Music Videos/Collaborations:

1. The Jackson's "Torture" (1984)
2. Steve Winwood "Roll With It" (1988)
3. ZZ Top "Velcro Fly" (1986)
4. Janet Jackson "Control" (1986)
5. Janet Jackson "Nasty" (1986)
6. Janet Jackson "What Have You Done for Me Lately?"
7. Janet Jackson "When I Think of You" (1986)
8. Duran Duran ("Notorious" video)
10. Kool & the Gang
11. Jermaine Jackson
12. George Michael ("Faith" Tour)
13. Dolly Parton
14. Prince ("Batman" video)
15. The Pointer Sisters
16. Debbie Gibson ("Shake Your Love" video)
17. Aretha Franklin
18. Luther Vandross
19. Lakergirls

Special Appearances: Music

1. Garth Brooks video "We Shall Be Free".
2. Michael Jackson's music video "Liberian Girl".
3. Toto's "Till the End" music video.
4. OutKast's "Roses" music video.

Special Appearances: Television

1. The Truth About AIDS (1992)
2. For Our Children -The Concert (1993)
3. Cybill (1995)
4. The Single Guy (1995)
5. Muppets Tonight (1996)
6. Spin City (1996)
7. SNL "Paula Abdul's Cheerleading Camp" (1998)
8. Chicken Soup For The Soul (1998)
9. Co. Dance 1999 Championships
10. Sabrina, The Teenage Witch ('99)
11. Wayans Brothers (1999)
12. VH1's 100 Greatest Dance Songs (host; 2000)
14. Good Day L.A. (co-hosts occasionally 2001-current)
15. Entertainment Tonight (Idol correspondent/co-host)
15. That's So Raven (2004)
16. Less Than Perfect (2005)

Special Appearances: Film

1. The Waiting Game (1998)
2. Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story (1999)

Special Appearances: Other

1. TV Commercials for Diet Coke (1989-1990)
2. Print Advertising for LA Gear 1990
3. Print Advertising for Reebok 1990


Emmy Award:
         1989 "Best Choreography of a TV Series" on "The Tracey Ullman Show".
         1990 "Outstanding Achievement in Choreography" for "The American Music Awards"

Grammy Awards:
         1993 "Best Album Package" for "Spellbound - Compact" CD in the shape of a compact awarded to
         Art Director Melanie Nissen.
         1991 "Best Music Video - Short Form" for "Opposites Attract".

People's Choice Award:
         1991 for "Favorite Female Musical Performer."
         1990 for "Favorite Female Musical Performer."

American Music Awards:
         1992 for "Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist"
         1990 for "Favorite Dance Artist."          
         1990 for "Favorite Pop-Rock Female."
         1987 for choreography on ZZ Top's "Velcro Fly" video.

American Dance Award:
         1990 for "Choreographer of the Year."

MTV Awards:
         1989 for "Best Female Video" in "Straight Up" video.
         1989 for "Best Dance Video" in "Straight Up" video.
         1989 for "Best Choreography in a Video" "Straight Up".
         1989 for "Best Editing in a Video" in "Straight Up" video.
         1986 for "Best Choreography" in Janet Jackson's "Nasty" video.

Soul Train Awards:
         1989 for "Best Video" ("Straight Up"?)
         1989 for "Best Choreography" ("Straight Up"?)

Other Awards:
         2002 Little Scholars Lifetime Achievement Award

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