Craig Zadan & Neil Meron on Whitney Houston's Death 'Heartbroken'

Singer Whitney Houston died tonight at age 48, and has been reaching out to those in the theatrical community who worked with the talented star. In 1997, she starred in the made-for-television remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. In addition to co-producing, Houston starred in the movie as the Fairy Godmother along with Brandy, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters. An estimated 60 million viewers tuned into the special giving ABC its highest TV ratings in 16 years. The movie received seven Emmy nominations including Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy, while winning Outstanding Art Direction in a Variety, Musical or Comedy Special.

We reached out to producer Craig Zadan and he tells that "Neil (Meron) and I worked closely with Whitney on the TV production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and the movie was a magical experience. We had a reunion with Whitney last year in Atlanta and she seemed to be in a great place emotionally and we subsequently began developing a new film for her which we had hoped to do later this year. It's such a tragedy and we're so heartbroken at this terrible loss, both personally and professionally. We will miss her a lot."

A rep for singer Whitney Houston announced tonight to the Associated Press that Houston died this afternoon at age 48. The singer died in her room at the Beverly Hilton hotel, where she was for Clive Davis' Grammy Awards party. No cause of death has yet been revealed. 

With over 170 million combined album, singles and videos sold worldwide during her career with Arista Records, Whitney Houston had established a benchmark for superstardom. 

Houston just recenty filmed the remake of the 1976 film 'Sparkle' playing the role of Jordin Sparks's mother in the film, which will feature the original score from composer Curtis Mayfield. Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil served as writer and director.  SPARKLE is currently set to be released in theaters on August 24th by Sony Pictures. The drama is directed by Salim Akil and written by Mara Brock Akil.  It stars Jordin SparksWhitney HoustonDerek Luke, Mike Epps, Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick and Cee-Lo Green.

Houston's career has consisted of record-setting achievements in music: the only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits ("Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know," "Greatest Love Of All," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional," and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"); the first female artist to enter the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 (her second album, Whitney, 1987); and the only artist with seven consecutive multi-platinum albums (Whitney Houston, Whitney, I'm Your Baby Tonight, The Bodyguard, Waiting To Exhale, and The Preacher's Wife soundtracks, and My Love Is Your Love).

In fact, The Bodyguard soundtrack is one of the top 10 biggest-selling albums of all-time (at 17x-platinum in the U.S. alone), and Whitney's career-defining version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" is the biggest-selling U.S. single of all-time (at 4x-platinum).

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