Claim to fame: singer (The Temptations)
DOB: October 12, 1942
Date of death: February 23, 1995
Diabetes type: unknown
Melvin Franklin was born David Melvin English on October 12, 1942 in Montgomery, Alabama, where he grew up with his mother and stepfather. His stepfather was a minister who had him singing in the church choir by the age of three. The family moved to Detroit, Michigan when Melvin was nine. It was here that he began participating in a number of local singing groups.
David English eventually took on his mother’s maiden name and became Melvin Franklin. In March of 1961, Melvin’s group, The Elgins, signed with Motown Records under a new name: The Temptations. His deep vocals became the group’s signature trademark, and produced a number of hits, including “I Truly, Truly Believe,” “The Prophet,” and “Ol’ Man River.” Melvin was awarded the yearly Motown Spirit Award on numerous occasions. Melvin was the uncle of another famous Motown artist, Rick James.
In the early 1980s, Melvin developed diabetes as a result of his constant use of cortisone due to rheumatoid arthritis. He was also diagnosed with a kind of flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis. On February 17, 1995, Melvin Franklin went into a coma after a series of seizures, and never recovered. He died of a brain seizure on February 23, 1995 at the age of fifty-two. Melvin Franklin left behind not only a family of four children and his wife, Kimberly English, but also an unforgettable and stunning music career.