Quincy Jones' Life in Photos

Quincy Jones redefined the musical landscape in America and his global impact on pop culture is incalculable. In honor of his 90th birthday on March 14, 2023, look back on his incredible life and career in photos

01 of 24

Quincy Jones Is Born in Chicago

Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones/ instagram

Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born on March 14, 1933, in Chicago. He began playing the trumpet at a young age and continued his musical studies at the prestigious Schillinger House (now Berklee College of Music) in Boston, Massachusetts. At 20 years old, he toured with Lionel Hampton's band as a musician and arranger, and went on to arrange and record for music legends like Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Ray Charles.

02 of 24

Quincy Jones and His Brother

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"Me and my brother Lloyd," he captioned this adorable throwback photo from his childhood.

03 of 24

Quincy Jones' Many Accomplishments

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quincy jones/ instagram

Throughout his career, Jones has taken on the role of artist, arranger, conductor, composter, record label executive, magazine founder, TV producer and humanitarian. He's won 28 Grammy Awards and has been nominated 80 times. He's been named Commandeur de Legion d'Honneur by French president Jacques Chirac and completed the rare EGOT (winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). He holds honorary doctorates from several schools, including Howard University, the Berklee College of Music, Brandeis University, Harvard University and New York University.

04 of 24

Quincy Jones' Early Career

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Jones' talent for music was evident early, and his skill as a trumpeter got him attention from Ray Charles, who was an early collaborator. He moved out to New York City in his late teens to begin his professional music career.

"If you would've told this 14 year old Quincy (3rd from the right - in the Bumps Blackwell Band!) that he'd be nominated for his 80th Grammy at age 85, he would've told ya to go get your head checked!" Jones wrote on Instagram.

05 of 24

Jones' First Wife

quincy jones Jeri Jones

Jones married his high school sweetheart, Jeri Caldwell, in 1957, and the two had one child, daughter Jolie, before splitting up in the mid-1960s.

After her death in late 2021, Jones paid heartfelt tribute to her on his Instagram: "From moving with me to Paris in the '50s, to bootstrapping it with me during my Free & Easy tour (which was anything but free & easy!), to being an incredible mother to our sweet Jolie, she never ceased to put others before herself. She even sacrificed her status & popularity to be with me (after multiple attempts from her family, friends, high school, & college to stop her from marrying a Black man)…But she did it anyway, & for that, I am forever grateful."

06 of 24

Quincy Jones' Partnership with Frank Sinatra

Jones had been touring with big band groups for some time before he got his true big break: Arranging for Frank Sinatra after meeting him in Monaco at an event.

As he recalled to Rolling Stone: "I was living in France and one day they said, "Grace Kelly's office called, and Mr. Sinatra wants you to bring a 55-piece orchestra down to Monte Carlo for a benefit." We took a train down and at the end of the show, he said, "Great job, kid, koo-koo." I didn't hear from him for four years and then he called me and said, "Hey, Q, this is Francis, I'm in Hawaii ... Would you consider doing an album with [Count] Basie and me?" I said hell to the yeah, went over to Hawaii, and I didn't leave Frank until he left earth."

07 of 24

Quincy Jones Becomes First High-Level Black Music Executive

quincy jones, Lesley Gore
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Jones became the Vice President of Mercury Records in 1961, making him the first high-level Black executive at a major record company. Here, he's seen at a party with Mercury Records V.P. Irwin Steinberg, singer Lesley Gore and other executives in 1963.

08 of 24

Quincy Jones' Kids with His Second Wife

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Jones welcomed daughter Rachel (not pictured) with model Carol Reynolds; then after marrying model Ulla Andersson in 1967, he had two more children: son Quincy III and daughter Martina, whom he wished a happy birthday with this cute pic in 2021.

09 of 24

Quincy Jones' Health Issues

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In 1974, Jones sustained a brain aneurysm so severe that doctors thought he might not make it. He shared a photo on Instagram from a "memorial service" his friends threw (including Sidney Poitier, pictured) for him to experience while still alive.

"It didn't look like I'd make it, so my friends planned a memorial service for me at The Shrine...This picture was taken that night & I cherish it to this day. He has been there for me in the best of times & also in the darkest...That's TRUE friendship," he wrote.

Two surgeries got him to a more stable place, but he was no longer allowed to play his trumpet for fear he'd trigger another aneurysm. He told GQ he misses it "all the time ... but I can't touch it."

10 of 24

Quincy Jones' Third Wife, Peggy Lipton

Peggy Lipton
Bettmann Archive/Getty

Jones' marriage to his third wife, The Mod Squad's Peggy Lipton (pictured with him in 1980 as he got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame), was his longest-lasting, from 1974 to 1990. They had two daughters, Rashida and Kidada.

Upon her death in 2019, Jones shared a loving tribute, saying in part, "There is absolutely no combination of words that can express the sadness I feel after losing my beloved Peggy Lipton. My wife of 14 years. We shared many, many beautiful memories, and most importantly, we share two incredible daughters."

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Quincy Jones' Film Scores

Following his success in music, Jones made his move into films in the 1960s. He's scored over 50 motion pictures and television shows throughout his career, including The Pawnbroker, In Cold Blood, The Italian Job, The Out-of-Towners, the Sanford and Son theme song, Roots and The Wiz. His prolific scoring work led him to be the first person of color to be nominated for two Oscars in a single year (in 1968, he was nominated for best original song and best original score).

He also produced E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, an album and audio book composed by John Williams and narrated by Michael Jackson.

12 of 24

Quincy Jones Scores The Color Purple

Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones/ instagram

He also produced and scored the 1985 film The Color Purple, which was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg and Margaret Avery. Out of the film's 11 Oscar nominations, Jones won two: one for Best Original Score and the other for Best Original Song.

13 of 24

Quincy Jones Produces Michael Jackson's Best-Selling Albums

Quincy Jones
Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

From 1979 to 1987, Jones had produced Michael Jackson's iconic albums Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. The duo sold millions of records, earned nine No. 1 songs and Thriller became one of the best-selling albums of all time. Jones also won album of the year for Thriller and record of the year for "Beat It" at the 26th annual Grammy Awards.

14 of 24

Quincy Jones' 1986 Grammys for 'We Are the World'

Lionel Richie cover
Michael Ochs Archive/Getty

"We Are the World," which Jones produced with Michael Jackson (who cowrote the song with Lionel Richie), was a charity single to benefit humanitarian aid in Africa and the United States.The song generated $75 million for famine relief and recovery, according to USA for Africa, and became one of the best-selling singles of all time.

At the Grammys that year, the song won Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Music Video, Short Form. Jones was on hand to accept, alongside some of the 46 featured artists on the single including Dionne Warwick, Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Richie.

15 of 24

Quincy Jones Executive Produces Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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Mike Ansell/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Jones was the executive producer of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, starring a young Will Smith, in 1990 and also founded VIBE Magazine in 1992.

16 of 24

Quincy Jones Hosts Saturday Night Live

quincy jones,l orne michael
Raymond Bonar/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

The music legend hosted Saturday Night Live in 1990 with special guest appearances from Kool Moe Dee, Melle Mel and Quincy D III. Here, he discusses the show ahead of the live episode with Lorne Michaels.

17 of 24

Quincy Jones Leads Bill Clinton's Presidential Inaugural Celebration

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Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

In 1993, Jones produced the first official event for President Bill Clinton's inaugural celebration, which featured musical guests Michael Jackson, Kenny Rogers and Diana Ross.

18 of 24

Quincy Jones' Seventh Child, with Nastassja Kinski

Nastassja Kinski
Ron Galella Collection/Getty

In 1993, Jones and actress Nastassja Kinski welcomed his sixth daughter and seventh child, Kenya Kinski-Jones. The couple split several years later.

19 of 24

Quincy Jones Is Honored by the Kennedy Center

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POOL/Getty Images

The Kennedy Center Honors recognized Jones — alongside Van Cliburn, Julie Andrews, Jack Nicholson and Luciano Pavarotti — for his monumental contributions to music, film, culture and philanthropy in 2001.

20 of 24

Quincy Jones Releases His Autobiography

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Patsy Lynch/WireImage

The same year, Jones released his best-selling autobiography Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones.

21 of 24

Quincy Jones Cements His Hand and Footprints at the TCL Chinese Theater

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FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

In 2018, Jones cemented his imprint in Hollywood history during his hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theater. He became the first film composer to be awarded the honor.

22 of 24

Quincy Jones Receives the National Medal of Arts

Barack Obama
Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis/Getty

In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Jones the National Medal of Arts for "his extraordinary contributions to American music as a musician, composer, record producer, and arranger. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has mixed pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African, and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performances, movies, and television."

23 of 24

Quincy Jones Celebrates His Netflix Documentary with Daughter Rashida

Rashida Jones; Quincy Jones
Lester Cohen/Getty Images

The icon's life and achievements were chronicled and celebrated in the 2018 Netflix documentary Quincy, which was directed by his daughter, Rashida Jones.

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Quincy Jones' Children and Grandchildren

With a 70-year career under his belt, the legendary musician and producer continues to stay busy, with a new book coming out last April. But he also enjoys sharing personal glimpses at his life on his Instagram — including a warm tribute to his six daughters on International Women's Day, which he wrote as the caption on a family photo featuring his kids and grandchildren.

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