August 2, 2001 – Ron Townson (The Fifth Dimension) was born on January 20, 1933 in St. Louis Missouri.
He started singing at the age of 6 and was a featured soloist on various choirs throughout his years in school, touring with Wings Over Jordan for 8 years while still in school. He was also their choir director for two years. His grandmother had initially inspired him to sing and his parents arranged for him to have private singing and acting lessons. During high school, he appeared for three seasons in productions of Bloomer Girl, Annie Get Your Gun and Show Boat; he also won third place in the Missouri State trials for the Metropolitan Opera.
Later he entered Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, after which he went to L.A. touring with Dorothy Dandridge for 2 years, then took part in the Samuel Goldwyn motion picture production of Porgy & Bess and then later toured with Nat King Cole, as well as organizing and conducting his own 35 voice a cappella choir in LA.
In 1966, Ron, Billy Davis Jr, Lamonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo and Florence LaRue formed The Versatiles, but soon changed their name to “The 5th Dimension”.
After ten successful years with the 5th Dimension, Ron left the group, he made a guest appearance on the TV series Switch, cut records, performed solo, and formed his own group, Ron Townson and Wild Honey.
In 1981, he and fellow group members Joyce Wright, Michael Procter, Florence LaRue and Lamonte McLemore starred in Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin’ to excellent reviews. In 1990, the original five members of the group reunited for a New Year’s Eve performance at Donald Trump’s Atlantic City Casino. It was a huge success and they went on the road for some performances in 1991 as The Original 5th Dimension.
That year, the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1992, Townson appeared in the Warner Brothers film The Mambo Kings. Then in 1997, he left the 5th Dimension for good.
He then served on the board of directors of the Cambridge-Kilpatrick Acting School. He was honored at Lincoln University with the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award
Ron moved to Las Vegas in 1999 and died in his home there on August 2, 2001, of renal failure after a four-year battle with kidney disease. He was 68.