Berry Gordy - Biography

Last Modified: Oct 7, 2022

Berry Gordy
Profession: Record executive, Producer, Songwriter
Best Known For: Motown (record label)
Salary: Under Review
Net Worth: $400 million

Personal Details

Born on : November 28, 1929 (age 93)
Birth Name /
Full Name:
Berry Gordy III
Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Horoscope: Sagittarius
Father's Name: Berry Gordy Sr.
Mother's Name: Bertha Fuller Gordy
Siblings: 8

Anna Gordy Gaye (sister)
Gewn Gordy Fuqua (sister)
Esther Gordy Edwards (sister)
Loucye Gordy Wakefield (sister)
Fuller Berry (brother)
George (brother)
Robert Gordy (brother)
James (half-brother)

High School: Northeastern Senior High School
Ethnicity: Multi-ethnic (African-American, English, Finnish)
Nationality: American


Sexual Orientation: Straight
Marital Status: Divorced

Thelma Coleman (1953-1959)
Raynoma Mayberry Liles (1960-1964)
Grace Eaton (1990-1993)

Children: 8

daughters (Hazel Joy, Kerry, Sherry, Rhonda Suzanne )
sons (Berry IV, Terry James, Kennedy William, Stefan Kendal Gordy/Redfoo)

Body Measurements

Height: 1.74 meter (5 feet 9 inch)
Weight: 78 kg (171.96 lb)
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Black
Shoe Size: N/A
Bicep Size: N/A
Chest Size: N/A
Waist Size: N/A

Table of contents [Hide]

Who is Berry Gordy?

Berry Gordy is a record executive, record producer, songwriter, film producer, and television producer by profession, and American by nationality. He is best recognized as the founder of the record label Motown.

Berry Gordy – Age, Parents, Siblings

Berry Gordy’s birth took place on November 28, 1929, in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He was born Berry Gordy III to his father Berry Gordy Sr., a plastering contractor while his mother Bertha Fuller Gordy worked as an insurance agent.

He is not the only child of his parents and had seven siblings- four sisters and three brothers. His sisters are Anna Gordy Gaye, Gwen Gordy Fuqua, Esther Gordy Edwards, Loucye Gordy Wakefield, and his brothers are Fuller Berry, George, and Robert Gordy.

Berry Gordy also has a half-brother named James.

Source: telegraph (Berry Gordy in 1950s)

Education, Ethnicity

Gordy was a student at Northeastern Senior High School. 

His ethnicity includes African-American, English, and Finnish.

Berry Gordy – Girlfriend, Wife, Children, Divorce

Gordy has been married and divorced three times and has a total of eight children. He married his girlfriend Thelma Coleman in 1953. He and his wife have three children together- Hazel Joy (born August 24, 1954), Berry IV (born October 1955), and Terry James (born August 1956). Their marriage ended in divorce in 1959.

In the spring of 1960, he married Raynoma Mayberry Liles. Their daughter Kerry Gordy had already been born on June 25, 1959, before their marriage. Just after a few years, the couple divorced in 1964.

From his relationship with Jeana Jackson, he has one daughter Sherry (born May 23, 1960) and from his mistress Margaret Norton, he has a son Kennedy William (born March 15, 1964).

His 5-year affair with Diana Ross produced their daughter Rhonda Suzanne (born August 14, 1971). 

From his affair with Nancy Leiviska, Stefan Kendal Gordy, better known by his stage name Redfoo of the LMFAO duo was born.

On July 17, 1990, Gordy married Grace Eaton. They soon divorced in 1993.

Also read: Tom Selleck - Producer, Actor of Magnum P.I. 

Source: Oprah (Berry Gordy, Diana Ross in February 2012)

Berry Gordy – Career

Before fame

Years ago Gordy tried to open his own record store which featured jazz music and 3-D glasses. But his love for music and writing songs was not enough and the store was unsuccessful.

Through family contacts, he got in touch with the owner of the Flame Show Bar Talent Club where he met Jackie Wilson. Wilson co-wrote the song, Reet Petite, with Berry Gordy’s sister Gewm and writer-producer Billy Davis.

The song was a hit and gained much success internationally, reaching the Top 10 in the UK. It did, however, top the chart in 1986.

Over the next two years, Gordy and Wilson worked together and recorded six more songs. The Gordy siblings and Davis were the writers of the song All I Could Do Was Cry for Etta James.

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Motown Record Corporation

Gordy reinvested his profits from songwriting into producing. Later on, he borrowed $800 from his family to create an R&B record company named Tamla Records. The label began recording on January 12, 1959.

But the company did not do very well in its initial days. The album Bad Girl by the Miracles did not do well when released by the Motown record label. But when Chess Records picked it up, it became a hit in 1959.

In April 1960, The Tamla and Motown labels were merged into a new company Motown Record Corporation and singed Mary Wells into the label, making her the label’s second star.

In 1972, Berry Gordy moved to Los Angeles where he produced Lady Sings the Blues followed by Mahogany in 1975 and The Last Dragon in 1985. He sold his interests in Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures on June 28, 1988, for $61 million.

Years later in 1994, he published an autobiography, To Be Loved.

Source: telegraph (Berry Gordy in his office in 1970)

Worked with

Over the years, Gordy’s record label had signed artists such as  Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Ruffin, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, the Commodores, and the Velvelettes.

He has talked about Michael Jackson and Raynoma Gordy Singleton’s death.

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Berry Gordy – Awards, Nominations

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1998, and into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2009.

Gordy was also awarded Songwriters Hall of Fame's Pioneer Award in 2013, making him the first living individual to receive the honor. In 2016, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama.

Berry Gordy – Net Worth, Salary

The net worth of Gordy is estimated to be around $400 million while the figure for his annual salary is not known.

Berry Gordy – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

Berry Gordy is absent from social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Tags : Motown The Gordy family Redfoo Diana Ross Gewn Gordy Fuqua producer Berry Gordy