R&B singer Ray Lavender (Ray L) released news today (May 2) via his twitter page that he will be playing Sam Cooke in his upcoming biopic. Ray first broke into acting on the TV One reality show, The Ultimate Merger.
The project is still in the early stages of development, with writers working on an adaptation of Peter Guralnick’s 2005 biography “Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke,” said Jody Klein, the president of ABKCO Music & Records Inc.
ABKCO owns all the necessary master recordings and rights to make the movie.
Cooke crossed over from gospel stardom to achieve mainstream pop success with such tunes as “Chain Gang,” “Cupid,” “Good Times” and the posthumous protest anthem “A Change is Gonna Come.” Notably for the times, he owned the rights to his music through various recording and publishing entities he controlled.
Cooke was fatally shot by a motel manageress who said she feared for her life after he stormed into her office after a dispute with a woman the family man had brought back to his room.
Jody Klein’s father, Allen Klein, who died in July, managed Cooke. New York-based ABKCO, which also controls the rights to compositions by the Rolling Stones, the Who and the Kinks, is controlled by the Klein family.