Marvin Gaye Father

Marvin Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay Sr., was a deeply religious man and American Pentecostal minister.

Marvin Gaye was one of his generation’s most iconic and influential singers, known for his smooth and soulful voice that captivated audiences worldwide. 

However, his life was tragically cut short in 1984 when he was shot and killed by his father, Marvin Gay Sr. 

This shocking event left fans and the music industry in disbelief, and it continues to be a source of fascination and speculation today. 

This article will explore the life of Marvin Gay Sr and try to understand why he committed such a heinous act.

Marvin Gaye’s Father: Who Was Marvin Gay Sr? 

Marvin Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay Sr., was a religious man deeply devoted to his faith as an American Pentecostal minister. 

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A photograph depicting Marvin Gaye alongside his mother and father. (Source:

He married his wife, Alberta Cooper, in 1935, and the couple went on to have several children. However, despite being a father, Gay Sr. was known for his strictness and rigidity towards his children.

One of the earliest examples of his strict parenting was when he refused to raise his wife’s son, Michael, from a previous relationship. 

Instead, Gay Sr. sent Michael to live with his sister-in-law. This decision significantly impacted the family’s dynamics, as it caused a rift between Michael and his half-siblings.

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Gay Sr. and Alberta had four children: daughter Jeanne, Marvin Jr., son Frankie, and daughter Zeola. 

Marvin Gay Sr Killed His Son: What Happened?

Marvin Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay Sr., shot and killed him on April 1, 1984, at their home in the Los Angeles West Adams district.

A photograph showing Marvin Gaye Sr. during a court hearing. (Source:

The fatal shooting occurred following an altercation between Gaye’s parents, in which he attempted to intervene. During the argument, Gay Sr. retrieved a gun and shot his son twice. Marvin Gaye was taken to California Hospital Medical Center but was pronounced dead on arrival. 

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The tragic incident has since inspired many musical tributes and continues to be a significant moment in the history of music. Gaye was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery, and his ashes were later spread around the Pacific Ocean.

Why Did Marvin Gay Sr Kill His Son?

The tension between Marvin Gaye’s parents had been building up for several days before the incident that led to Gaye’s death.

It was reportedly triggered by a letter concerning an insurance policy that had gone missing. The day before the shooting, the argument had escalated to the point where it reached Gaye’s bedroom. 

When Gaye ordered his father to leave, it did not work, and he began to kick and punch him. Alberta later recounted that Gaye hit his father and gave him some hard kicks, even though she shouted for him to stop. 

Minutes after the altercation, Marvin Sr. returned to his bedroom, retrieved a .38 pistol his son had bought, pointed the gun at Gaye, and shot him directly in the heart.

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Alberta said her husband did not say anything and just pointed the gun at Marvin. Gaye screamed as he was shot, and Alberta tried to run, but he slid to the floor after the first shot.

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