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1. Although the lead singer for the 1970s hit-makers The Commodores made his name famous, he wasn’t the first to have it. “My dad was Lionel Richie Sr.," he told an interviewer. "And the funniest man!” he says.
2. Despite being an Oscar-winning songwriter — for the ballad "Say You, Say Me" from the 1986 film "White Nights" — he doesn’t know how to read or write music.
3. A high school tennis star, Lionel won a sports scholarship to Tuskegee University and majored in economics — but dropped out after his sophomore year.
4. In 2007, Lionel appeared as an animated version of himself on "The Simpsons."
Lionel loves being a grandpa to adopted daughter Nicole
’s two kids
, calling it “the greatest thing in the world,” and adds, “The beauty of grandchildren is Nicole takes them home!”
Lionel, shown here in 1984 with John Denver
and Placido Domingo
, considered becoming a preacher in the Episcopal Church — but decided he wasn’t “priest material.”
8. He’s an avid gardener and loves growing bougainvillea.
9. He owns a King Charles Spaniel named Napoleon and says of the pup, “He doesn’t listen to me — ever.”
10. The nasty dance-floor funk classic "Brick House" — for many, the Commodores most enduring hit — was among the few of the band's recordings on which Richie (in red) did not sing lead.