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Jeffery also trained Riperton to use her full range.While studying under Jeffery, she sang operettas and show tunes, in preparation for a career in opera.
The Gems later released records under numerous names—most notably 1966's Baby I Want You by the Girls Three and 1967's My Baby's Real by the Starlets.
Jeffery was so convinced of her pupil's abilities that she strongly pushed her to further study the classics at Chicago's Junior Lyric Opera.
The young Riperton was, however, becoming interested in soul, rhythm and blues, and rock.
In 1978, she received the American Cancer Society's Courage Award, which was presented to her at the White House by President Jimmy Carter.
Riperton died of cancer on July 12, 1979 at age 31.