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Born on August 2nd 1959 in Santa Monica, California, Patricia Kotero got into show business at an early age. She was a Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader, and Miss San Pedro. Her beauty was getting her noticed - Jaime Fernández cast her in the Mexican film La Mafia de la frontera in 1979. After that, she did a few other movies, and guest appearances on television in shows such as CHiPS.
Patricia joined Prince's entourage after the departure of Vanity (nee Denise Matthews). Vanity was lead singer of the Prince created girl group Vanity 6, and Prince's girlfriend. Another actress/singer was required to take Vanity's place in the band and the film Purple Rain, which was already in pre-production. Prince gave her the stage name Apollonia, and she stepped into Vanity's newly vacated high heels, taking to the studio, set and stage with Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie. The original band lineup was already famous for appearing on stage in lingerie only, and this dubious tradition was continued with Apollonia's mouthwatering proportions taking centre stage.
Purple Rain was an enormous hit, launching Prince into super stardom, and Apollonia attained overnight stardom by association. The newly renamed Apollonia 6 released one album in October 1984 and released the single Sex Shooter. The album's credits include Kotero, Bennett and Moonsie along with a producer named Jamie Starr. In reality, the non-singing parts were done by Prince's band The Revolution (particularly Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman and Sheila E) with Prince as producer.
Sessions for this album originally included a version of the Prince compositions Manic Monday, The Glamorous Life and Take Me With U. But it seems that Prince was already losing interest in the Apollonia 6 project and therefore removed these tracks shortly before the album's release. Manic Monday would end up with The Bangles; The Glamorous Life was released on the debut album of drummer Sheila E; Take Me With U (the duet between Apollonia and Prince) ended up on Prince's own Purple Rain soundtrack album instead. Given the chart placing of all three of these songs, it seems that Prince was indeed removing his A-list material from the Apollonia 6 camp. To this day Take Me With U is Apollonia's highest charting single, reaching #25 on the Top-40 chart in the U.S. The music business being the fickle thing that it is, Vanity 6's track Nasty Girl became a big hit second time around for Inaya Day in 2004.
Perhaps sensing the way the wind was blowing, Apollonia left the Prince camp in 1985 (at the height of the Purple Reign) to pursue a role on television in Falcon Crest. Her character actually shared Kotero's stage name of "Apollonia", and she even performed several solo songs, none of which would later be released (one of the songs, which was often played and referred to on the show was a title called "Red Light Romeo," which was written by US songwriter Jon Lind who had penned the US No 1 hit "Crazy For You" for Madonna). Kotero stayed on the show for 10 consecutive weeks, playing the girlfriend of teenage heartthrob Lorenzo Lamas.
In 1988 Kotero returned to the music scene, releasing her first solo album, simply titled Apollonia (Warner Bros. Records). Containing high energy dance music, three singles were released from the album: Since I Fell For You, The Same Dream and Mismatch. In 1989, she was arrested for attempting to buy marijuana. She claimed that she was getting it as part of her research for a film role.
Shortly after appearing in three B-movies, Apollonia disappeared under the radar for nearly five years. In the mid-90's she slowly returned into the show business and did guest appearances on the US TV shows Sliders (with Jerry O'Connell) and Air America (starring Lorenzo Lamas with whom she had previously appeared in Falcon Crest). She can often be seen on film premieres and media events in California, and has appeared on stage with other Prince alumni as part of the 2003 Family Jamm concert.
The golden age of the 1980s:
Into the 1990s and 2000s:
As Patty Kotero:
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