Known for movies

Short Info

Net Worth$2 million
Date Of BirthJanuary 18, 1941
DiedJune 1, 1991, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
SpouseSandra Ruffin
MarkHis black rimmed glasses
FactJoined The Temptations in mid-January 1964, when he replaced Elbridge "Al" Bryant (aka Albridge Bryant), one of the group's three starring leads. In July 1968, he was replaced by Dennis Edwards, while he started a solo career.

David Ruffin was born on January 18, 1941, in Meridian, Mississippi. His parents, both musicians, divorced when he was young, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather. Ruffin began singing in church and local talent shows as a child. He dropped out of high school in the 11th grade to pursue a career in music.

Ruffin’s big break came when he was recruited to join The Temptations in 1964. He was the lead singer on some of the group’s most successful songs, including “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Ruffin left The Temptations in 1968 amid creative differences.

He embarked on a solo career, releasing his self-titled debut album in 1969. Ruffin scored several hit singles, including “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” and “Walk Away from Love.” His career stalled in the late 1970s, but he made a comeback in the 1980s with the album David Ruffin – The Man Who Made The Temptations Great Again.

Ruffin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Temptations in 1989. He died of a drug overdose in 1991 at the age of 50.

At the time of his death, Ruffin had a net worth of $5 million.

General Info

Full NameDavid Ruffin
Net Worth$2 million
Date Of BirthJanuary 18, 1941
DiedJune 1, 1991, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Height1.91 m


SpouseSandra Ruffin
ChildrenKimberly Ruffin, Nedra Ruffin, Cheryl Ruffin, David Ruffin Junior, My Girl, Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Papa Was a Rolling Stone
ParentsEli Ruffin, Ophelia Ruffin, My Girl, Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Papa Was a Rolling Stone
SiblingsJimmy Ruffin, Quincy B Ruffin, Rita Mae Ruffin, My Girl, Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Papa Was a Rolling Stone


NominationsGrammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals
MoviesDancin' in the Street

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1His signature move during his performances was to spin around, tossing the microphone from one hand to the other, drop to the floor with a leg split, and then rise back up.
2His black rimmed glasses
3Raspy tenor/baritone singing voice


1I don't know what kind of voice I have, I really don't. It's just about "the feeling I get for the song.
2Most of my life, I've been on my own, trying to do my thing. Everybody has to go out and face the reality of life. That's what everybody's got to do, do you own thing. Strength is your own thing.
3At the beginning of the first couple of shows by myself, I'd be singing and then make a move as if to go into the background, but there wasn't any background. In the first couple of shows, that was missed. Now when I walk on . . . I have more room to walk.
4But they're just cheating the public now. People still expect Eddie [Eddie Kendricks], Paul [Paul Williams] and me when they see The Temptations. They are the voices they know although, in all honesty, Dennis Edwards can be considered a true Temptation.
5[Talking about his three-year absence following the 1982 The Temptations reunion tour] Sometimes an artist is lost and needs to find a new direction for himself or his music.


1Ex-brother-in-law of Clara Jackson.
2Was romantically linked to Tammi Terrell.
3The Temptations were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7060 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
4One of the first Motown artists who demanded regular accounting of the group's financial status, so as to know how the money was being handled, which caused friction between him and Motown founder Berry Gordy.
5His first solo song, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)," was originally intended for The Temptations when he was still the group's front man.
6Worked up such a sweat recording the song "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" that, according to Otis Williams, his glasses were falling off his face.
7Before he was fired from The Temptations, one of his requests was that the band's name be changed to "David Ruffin & The Temptations," in light of how The Supremes had their name changed to Diana Ross & The Supremes and, similarly, how The Miracles were known as Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, placing more emphasis on the lead singers. This was reportedly one of the reasons he was eventually fired from the group.
8Angry and embittered at being fired from The Temptations, who he felt owed their success to him, he tried to sabotage the career of his replacement, Dennis Edwards, by showing up at the group's concerts and, whenever they started to perform one of the songs Ruffin himself had once sang lead on, he would jump onto the stage, steal the microphone away from Edwards and start singing, much to the embarrassment of the group but to the delight of the fans. The group later hired more security guards to keep him from entering their concerts.
9His older brother, singer Jimmy Ruffin, was offered the chance to sing with The Temptations, but he politely declined in favor of David, who went on to sing many of the classic 1960s Temptations songs, including "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," and the immortal "My Girl".
10Despite the ego and attitude problems he developed towards the end of his tenure with The Temptations -- which stayed with him for the remainder of his life despite his attempts to change -- he always remained good friends with fellow Temptations singer Eddie Kendricks, who toured with Ruffin in the 1980s.
11Is portrayed by Leon in The Temptations biographical miniseries The Temptations (1998).
12According to Otis Williams, the founder and only surviving member of The Temptations original group, Ruffin was a very funny, colorful, good-natured and hard-working man when he first joined the group, but fame gave him serious ego and attitude problems and drug addiction made him a very erratic worker, which eventually led to him being fired from the group.
13The Temptations were voted the 67th Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artists of all time by Rolling Stone.
14Member of The Temptations famous 'Classic 5' line-up.
15Joined The Temptations in mid-January 1964, when he replaced Elbridge "Al" Bryant (aka Albridge Bryant), one of the group's three starring leads. In July 1968, he was replaced by Dennis Edwards, while he started a solo career.
16Distant cousin of Melvin Franklin.
17Younger brother of Jimmy Ruffin.
18Had four children Cheryl, Nedra, David jr, and Mone.
19Favorite actor was Richard Burton.
20His father was a Baptist Minister.
21Favorite actress was Sophia Loren.
22Created the four-headed microphone.



Misfits2010TV Series performer - 1 episode
Skeppsholmen2002TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Addiction1995performer: "Addiction"


The Temptations1998TV SeriesMan in Coppa Cabana


Grammy Legends1990TV SpecialHimself (as The Temptations)
Soul Train1973-1988TV Series documentaryGuest / Himself
Dancin' in the Street1987Video documentaryHimself
Sun City: Artists United Against Apartheid1986Video documentaryHimself
Artists United Against Apartheid: Sun City1985Video shortHimself (uncredited)
MTV Video Music Awards 19851985TV SpecialHimself - Performer (as The Temptations)
Live Aid1985TV Special documentaryHimself
New American Bandstand 19651970-1975TV SeriesHimself
Della1970TV SeriesHimself
Laugh-In1968TV SeriesHimself - Guest Performer
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour1967TV SeriesHimself
The Ed Sullivan Show1967TV SeriesSinger
The Lloyd Thaxton Show1966TV SeriesHimself
It's What's Happening, Baby!1965TV SpecialHimself (as The Temptations)
Ready, Steady, Go!1965TV SeriesHimself
Thank Your Lucky Stars1965TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Unsung2012TV Series documentaryHimself
TV in Black: The First Fifty Years2004Video documentaryHimself
The Temptations1998TV SeriesMan in Coppa Cabana (as The Temptations)
Motown 40: The Music Is Forever1998TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Original Leads of the Temptations1992Video documentaryHimself
Smokey Robinson: The Quiet Legend1990TV Movie documentaryHimself
Hittimittari1985TV SeriesHimself
Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever1983TV Movie documentaryHimself (Temptations member / solo artist)
Say Brother1969TV SeriesHimself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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