She was born Mary Christine Brockert in California in March 1956, and was a protegee of late funk legend Rick James, reports Contactmusic.com. Although she entered showbiz as a TV actor on the show 'The Beverly Hillbillies" as a child, what really gave flight to her career was her debut album 'Wild and Peaceful".
The album featured Marie's first big hit, 'I'm Just a Sucker for Your Love". Following that, she performed 'Fire and Desire" with her mentor James on his cult album Street Sounds.
Marie also made headlines in the early 1980s when she took her record label executives at Motown to court over a contract issue – a battle that ensured that it was illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material.
The record label and Marie parted company in 1990 and the singer spent over a decade behind the scenes, devoting herself to her daughter Alia Rose. Her next appearance in the spotlight came in 2004 after signing to rap label Cash Money Records' Classics spin-off label and released her comeback album, La Dona.
She ended the decade by releasing the acclaimed Congo Square on Stax/Concord Records in 2009.