Marvin Gaye

Birth Name: Marvin Pentz Gaye, Jr.

Date of Birth: April 2, 1939

Place of Birth: Washington, D.C., U.S.

Date of Death: April 1, 1984

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American

Marvin Gaye was an American soul singer, songwriter, and musician.

He was the son of Alberta Williams (Cooper) and Marvin Pentz Gay. Marvin was married to businessperson and musician Anna Gordy Gaye, who was the sister of producer Berry Gordy; and to Janis Hunter. Among his three children are model, singer, and actress Nona Gaye, and Marvin Gaye III. Marvin III is the half-brother of actress Bianca Lawson.

Marvin’s paternal grandfather was George Gay (the son of Strawden/Strother Gay and Rebecca Hardin/Garrett or Susan Fuller). George was born in Kentucky.

Marvin’s paternal grandmother was Marnie/Mamie Mae Watkins (the daughter of Dan/Daniel Watkins and Charlotte Smith/West). Marnie was born in Kentucky. Charlotte was the daughter of Robert/Bob West and Alsie Starks.

Marvin’s maternal grandfather was named Sam or John Cooper (the son of Sally Cooper). Sam was born in North Carolina. Sally’s partner, Marvin’s great-grandfather, was said to be white. It is not clear if this is accurate.

Marvin’s maternal grandmother was named Ruth/Lucy Smith. Lucy was born in North Carolina.

Sources: Genealogies of Marvin Gaye –


Curious about ethnicity

6 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    Also, according to, his maternal grandfather was the son of an undefined “white man” and of Sally Cooper

  2. follers says:

    Ethnic, is there a picture, please? I thought I might’ve asked before and you said no, but I don’t see the question here.

  3. sadie says:

    He was an amazing singer. I loved his music. It is too bad he left this earth way way too soon. He was a sexy man. R.I.P.

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