Throughout his recording career, Ray Charles earned 17 GRAMMY® Awards.
He received Lifetime Achievement and the President’s Merit Award; he is one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and he is a recipient of the Presidential Medal for the Arts, France’s Legion of Honor and the Kennedy Center Honors. He also received the NAACP Image Awards’ “Hall of Fame Award” on March 6, 2004. Ray has been inducted into numerous other music Halls of Fame, including those for Jazz and Rhythm & Blues, a testament to his enormous influence. During a career that has spanned some 58 years, Charles starred on over 100 albums, many of them top sellers in a variety of musical genres and he performed in a total of more than 10,000 concerts.
Charles appeared in movies, such as “The Blues Brothers,” and starred in commercials for Coca-Cola, Diet Pepsi and California Raisins, among numerous others. In 2004, the bio-pic “Ray” was released for the world to see the historic life and times of the “Genius.” The movie garnered 6 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and Jamie Foxx took home the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Ray. Charles’ last public performance was on July 20, 2003, in Alexandria, VA.
Charles once told an interviewer from USA Today, “Music to me is just like breathing. I have to have it. It’s part of me.”