David Bowie facts: Songs, marriages, children, eye colour and tragic death of the rock 'n' roll icon

21 March 2022, 11:25 | Updated: 5 October 2023, 12:28

David Bowie
David Bowie. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

David Bowie was a true icon of music and pop culture, from his Ziggy Stardust beginnings to his Blackstar goodbye.

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He was a leading individual in the music industry for decades, and is now regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.

David Bowie was particularly known for his groundbreaking material during the 1970s, and he was known by his near-constant reinvention and visual projects. He sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

In the UK alone, he scored 11 number one albums (so far), and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Among his most famous songs include 'Space Oddity', 'Starman', 'Ashes to Ashes', 'Fame', 'Changes', 'Heroes', 'Let's Dance' and 'Under Pressure' with Queen.

David Bowie - Let's Dance (Official Video)

He even made a name for himself in Hollywood, appearing in films such as Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, Labyrinth and The Prestige among others.

Bowie's final live performance was at a charity event in 2006, and following a return to form with two highly-praised albums, he passed away in 2016, aged 69.

  1. Where was David Bowie born and who were his parents?

    David Bowie was born on January 8, 1947.

    Real name David Robert Jones, David was born in Brixton, London.

    Read more: 10 inspirational quotes from David Bowie

    His mother, Margaret Mary 'Peggy' (née Burns, 1913-2001), was born at Shorncliffe Army Camp near Cheriton, Kent. She worked as a waitress at a cinema in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

    His father, Haywood Stenton 'John' Jones (1912-1969), was from Doncaster, Yorkshire, and worked as a promotions officer for the children's charity Barnardo's.

    In 1953, David moved with his family to Bickley and then Bromley Common, before settling in Sundridge Park in 1955.

  2. Who was David Bowie's wife and how many children did he have?

    David Bowie and Angie in 1976
    David Bowie and Angie in 1976. Picture: Getty
    David Bowie with son Duncan Jones in 2009
    David Bowie with son Duncan Jones in 2009. Picture: Getty

    David Bowie married his first wife, Mary Angela Barnett, aka Angie Bowie, in 1970, and they had an open marriage.

    Angela later said: "We got married so that I could [get a permit to] work. I didn't think it would last and David said, before we got married, 'I'm not really in love with you' and I thought that's probably a good thing."

    Their son Duncan was born in 1971, and was at first known as Zowie. Bowie and Angela divorced in 1980, and he received custody of their son.

    David Bowie with wife Iman in 2009
    David Bowie with wife Iman in 2009. Picture: Getty
    David Bowie's daughter Lexi Jones pays tribute to late father on what would have been his 74th birthday.
    David Bowie's daughter Lexi Jones pays tribute to late father on what would have been his 74th birthday. Picture: Instagram / @_p0odle_

    Duncan Jones is now a famous film director, best known for directing the films Moon (2009), Source Code (2011) and Warcraft (2016).

    In 1992, Bowie married Somali-American model Iman in a private ceremony in Lausanne.

    They had one daughter, Alexandria 'Lexi' Zahra Jones, born in August 2000.

  3. When did David Bowie pass away?

    David Bowie Tribute Grows At Brixton Mural Two Weeks After Death
    David Bowie Tribute Grows At Brixton Mural Two Weeks After Death. Picture: Getty

    On January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, David Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment.

    Bowie had been diagnosed 18 months earlier, but had not gone public with his illness.

    The singer had insisted that he did not want a funeral, and he was cremated in New Jersey on January 12.

    As stated in his will, his ashes were scattered in a Buddhist ceremony in Bali, Indonesia.