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The Temptations

Episode #1.1 (Season 1, Episode 1)
TV Episode | 87 min | Biography, Drama, Music

David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams and Otis Williams are five former street corner singers who managed to become Motown legends. With a sound that's doo-wop, pop and hip-hop, they are rhythm and blues royalty. ...See moreDavid Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams and Otis Williams are five former street corner singers who managed to become Motown legends. With a sound that's doo-wop, pop and hip-hop, they are rhythm and blues royalty. The Temptations had 16 #1 singles on the Billboard charts and received three Grammy Awards. But the climb to the top was plagued by competing egos andamp; repeated drug and alcohol abuse. In 1958 Detroit, Michigan, 17-year-old singer Otis Williams partners with 16-year-old Melvin Franklin to form The Siberians. They quickly come to the attention of Johnnie Mae Matthews who becomes their manager, producer and promoter. Meanwhile, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams are burning up the stages of Detroit as The Primes, who are already signed to Motown by entrepreneur/producer Berry Gordy. After Johnnie Mae drops The Siberians, and after The Primes disband, Paul, Eddie, Otis and Melvin join to become The Temptations, eventually adding David Ruffin to the group. With their first hit "The Way You Do The Things You Do," The Temptations begin touring with the Motortown Revue, doing the standard "one-nighters" andamp; living in cheap hotels. Life on the road proves to be difficult for the young men, which leads Paul into alcohol dependency andamp; Otis to infidelity. The hit "My Girl" sends the group soaring to the top of the charts, but personal demons plague each of the members. Even after "Cloud Nine" wins The Temptations their first Grammy, their personal lives continue to disintegrate. Eventually, the group is inducted into the 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,' but the group overall pays a heavy price. David Ruffin dies of a cocaine overdose; Eddie Kendricks develops lung cancer and Melvin Franklin dies from overmedication. Today, Otis Williams continues to tour with a revised lineup of The Temptations, keeping alive the hot sounds and memories of Eddie, David, Paul and Melvin. See less
Read more: Plot summary
Writers
Robert Johnson (teleplay) | Kevin Arkadie (teleplay)
Producer
Cinematographer
Casting Directors
Production Designer
Status
Edit Released
Updated Nov 1, 1998

Release date
Nov 1, 1998 (United States)

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Cast

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70 cast members
Name STARmeter Known for
Charles Malik Whitfield
Otis Williams Otis Williams   See fewer
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D.B. Woodside
Melvin Franklin Melvin Franklin   See fewer
Top 5000
Terron Brooks
Eddie Kendricks Eddie Kendricks   See fewer
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Christian Payton
Paul Williams Paul Williams   See fewer
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Leon
David Ruffin David Ruffin   See fewer
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Alan Rosenberg
Shelly Berger Shelly Berger   See fewer
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Jenifer Lewis
Mama Rose Mama Rose   See fewer
Top 5000
Gina Ravera
Josephine Josephine   See fewer
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Obba Babatundé
Berry Gordy Berry Gordy   See fewer
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Erik Michael Tristan
Smokey Robinson Smokey Robinson   See fewer
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J. August Richards
Richard Street Richard Street   See fewer
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Charles Ley
Dennis Edwards Dennis Edwards   See fewer
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Vanessa Bell Calloway
Johnnie Mae Matthews Johnnie Mae Matthews   See fewer
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Mel Jackson
Norman Whitfield Norman Whitfield   See fewer
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Vincent A. Ponder
James 'Pee-Wee' Crawford James 'Pee-Wee' Crawford   See fewer
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Chaz Lamar Shepherd
Elbridge 'Al' Bryant Elbridge 'Al' Bryant   See fewer
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Stevland Parks
Lamont, age 12 Lamont, age 12   See fewer
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Christopher Reid
Joltin' Joe Joltin' Joe   See fewer
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Chrystal Bates
Mrs. Rogers Mrs. Rogers   See fewer
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Bianca Lawson
Diana Ross Diana Ross   See fewer
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Melissa Linton
Florence Ballard (as Melissa Mercedes Cardello) Florence Ballard (as Melissa Mercedes Cardello)   See fewer
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Taifa Harris
Mary Wilson Mary Wilson   See fewer
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N'Tasha A. Pierre
Martha Reeves Martha Reeves   See fewer
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Ricky Fante
Marvin Gaye Marvin Gaye   See fewer
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Russell Clark
Cholly Atkins Cholly Atkins   See fewer
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Benjamin J. Cain Jr.
Glenn Leonard Glenn Leonard   See fewer
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Tommy Lafitte
Drug Dealer Drug Dealer   See fewer
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Lamman Rucker
Jimmy Ruffin Jimmy Ruffin   See fewer
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Nyjah Moore
Tammi Terrell Tammi Terrell   See fewer
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Danni Vasser
Actress Actress   See fewer
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Jonnie Brown
Damon Harris Damon Harris   See fewer
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Ronnie Beasley
The Voice Masters The Voice Masters   See fewer
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Ezra S. Coles
The Voice Masters The Voice Masters   See fewer
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Marcel Curges
The Cadillacs The Cadillacs   See fewer
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Anthony Dixon
The Cadillacs The Cadillacs   See fewer
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Dennis Edwards
Himself Himself   See fewer
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Melvin Franklin
Himself Himself   See fewer
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Stephanie Haff
Girl in bar Girl in bar   See fewer
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Shelly Hall
Grocery Lady Grocery Lady   See fewer
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Shelton Hall
Allan age 8 Allan age 8   See fewer
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Tony Haris
Principal Dancer Principal Dancer   See fewer
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Eric Hersh
Concert Member Concert Member   See fewer
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Amanda Iwanonkiw
Family friend Family friend   See fewer
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Jesse Iwanonkiw
FAMILY FRIEND FAMILY FRIEND   See fewer
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Stephaine Iwanonkiw
Family Friend Family Friend   See fewer
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Leonard Julien III
David Ruffin (singing voice) David Ruffin (singing voice)   See fewer
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Eddie Kendricks
Actor (archive sound) Actor (archive sound)   See fewer
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Robert Knowles
The Cadillacs The Cadillacs   See fewer
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Mandell Loman
The Voice Masters The Voice Masters   See fewer
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Tremayne McCoy
Student leaving school Student leaving school   See fewer
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Larry John Meyers
Dr. Klein Dr. Klein   See fewer
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Smokey Robinson
Himself Himself   See fewer
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Thomas Ross
The Cadillacs The Cadillacs   See fewer
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David Ruffin
Man in Coppa Cabana Man in Coppa Cabana   See fewer
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Tim Stevens
Hall of Fame Presenter Hall of Fame Presenter   See fewer
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Maurice Walker
The Voice Masters The Voice Masters   See fewer
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J.R. Whittington
The Cadillacs (as James R. Whittington) The Cadillacs (as James R. Whittington)   See fewer
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Otis Williams
Actor (archive sound) Actor (archive sound)   See fewer
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Paul Williams
Actor (archive sound) Actor (archive sound)   See fewer
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Kenny Blake
Saxophone Player (uncredited) Saxophone Player (uncredited)   See fewer
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Ratings Breakdown

9.5 / 10 | 29 votes