80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter
The most glamorous and memorable moments from a storied history.
The ever-present turbulence in the life of Amy Winehouse, who died July 23 at 27, was spotlighted with the Grammys in February 2008. It was the awards' 50th anniversary, the show was loaded with legendary performers, and the young British singer with six nominations was a favorite to win big. But then came a visa problem. She'd left rehab in mid-January and seemed to have smooth sailing toward a triumphant night at Staples Center in Los Angeles. But three weeks before the show, a video surfaced online of her purportedly smoking crack cocaine. That was too much for the U. S. embassy in London, and her visa request was denied. There was scrambling to have her perform via satellite before the Department of Homeland Security issued a waiver that would allow her to attend. "We just kind of kept the faith," says show producer Ken Ehrlich. "It wasn't like people were saying, 'She's going to come,' or, 'She's not going to come.' Nobody knew." The visa seemed to ensure Winehouse's attendance, but she opted to remain in London -- and back came the satellite idea. "We took what we could get, which was this remote," says Ehrlich. "And it turned out to be a pretty amazing performance." Winehouse won five awards that night, including record and song of the year for "Rehab." The Hollywood Reporter said the show's theme was "the melding of eras" and that Winehouse had been "crowned as the new queen of pop present."