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Estelle Bennett

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Estelle Bennett

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Biography

Estelle Bennett, (July 22, 1941 – on or before February 11, 2009) was a member of the girl group The Ronettes, along with her sister Veronica Ronnie Spector (the ‘Ronnie’ of the band’s name) and cousin Nedra Talley.

After the Ronettes’ 1966 break-up, she recorded a single for Laurie Records, “The Year 2000/The Naked Boy”. She then quit the music business and had rarely been seen since. She married the group’s road manager Joe Dong, and they had a daughter, Toyin.

In 2007, when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she refused to perform with them, and spoke only a brief two sentences during her acceptance speech, “I would just like to say, thank you very much for giving us this award. I’m Estelle of the Ronettes, thank you.”

Bennett died of colon cancer aged 67 at her home in Englewood, New Jersey, where her body was discovered on February 11, 2009. A week after her death it was revealed, in an article in The New York Times, that she had suffered from mental illness in the years after the Ronettes break up and that later on she had been homeless. Fellow Ronette Nedra Talley Ross and Bennett’s daughter were interviewed for the article, though Bennett’s sister Ronnie chose not to be interviewed.

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