Richard Marx

On this date in 1963, singer/songwriter Richard Noel Marx was born in Chicago to Ruth (née Guildoo), a singer, and Richard Henry “Dick” Marx, a jazz musician of German-Jewish descent who wrote advertising jingles and music for movies. His son started singing in some of the jingles at age 5, sometimes with his mother. Products included Peter Pan peanut butter, Nestlé Crunch candy, Ken-L Ration dog food, Arm & Hammer baking soda and many others.

When he was 17, a tape of his songs came to the attention of singer/music producer Lionel Richie, who convinced him to move to Los Angeles, where he worked as a background vocalist and started writing songs for other artists and then for himself. His 1987 debut album “Richard Marx” yielded four hit singles and went triple platinum. 

“Right Here Waiting” from 1989’s “Repeat Offender” album was Marx’s first No. 1 hit on the U.S. adult contemporary chart and his first big hit outside North America. He has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and as of this writing in 2022 is the only male artist whose first seven singles reached the Top 5 on the Billboard charts.

He has written a No. 1 single in each of the last four decades, an accomplishment achieved previously only by Michael Jackson. His memoir “Stories to Tell,” which included a soundtrack, was released in 2021. “Songwriter,” his 13th studio album, debuted in 2022.

Marx married actress Cynthia Rhodes, who appeared in “Staying Alive,” “Flashdance” and “Dirty Dancing,” in 1989. They had three sons: Brandon (b. 1990), Lucas (b. 1992) and Jesse (b. 1994). They divorced in 2014 and Marx married former MTV VJ Daisy Fuentes the next year in Aspen, Colo.

His charitable causes have included the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, ASPCA, Humane Society, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, for which his foundation events have raised over $4 million.

Tweeting at @richardmarx, he wrote: “So … there’s an invisible man in the sky watching everything we do and ‘protecting us’ but also keeping mass murderers alive and healthy while letting sweet innocent 3 year olds die painful agonizing deaths? Yeah, no. I don’t buy that. But you can.” (Twitter, March 23, 2019)

At Huffington Post on July 4, 2014, he wrote, “I’m a spiritual man but I’m not religious. I’m not really connected to any major organized religion and I think that’s okay.” 

PHOTO: Marx in 2016; Casino Regina photo under CC 4.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation