Diana Ross

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Diana Ross
Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2008 Diana Ross5.jpg
Diana Ross performing at the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo
BornDiana Ernestine Earle Ross
(1944-03-26) March 26, 1944 (age 69)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
OccupationSinger, actress, record producer
Years active1959–present
Net worthIncrease US$ 250 million (2013)
Spouse(s)Robert Silberstein (1971–77)
Arne Næss, Jr. (1986–2000)
ChildrenRhonda Ross Kendrick (b. 1971)
Tracee Ellis Ross (b. 1972)
Chudney Ross (b. 1975)
Ross Næss (b. 1987)
Evan Ross (b. 1988)
Musical career
GenresR&B, soul, disco, jazz, pop, dance
InstrumentsVocals
LabelsLu Pine, Motown, RCA Records
Associated actsThe Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie
 
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Diana Ross
Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2008 Diana Ross5.jpg
Diana Ross performing at the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo
BornDiana Ernestine Earle Ross
(1944-03-26) March 26, 1944 (age 69)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
OccupationSinger, actress, record producer
Years active1959–present
Net worthIncrease US$ 250 million (2013)
Spouse(s)Robert Silberstein (1971–77)
Arne Næss, Jr. (1986–2000)
ChildrenRhonda Ross Kendrick (b. 1971)
Tracee Ellis Ross (b. 1972)
Chudney Ross (b. 1975)
Ross Næss (b. 1987)
Evan Ross (b. 1988)
Musical career
GenresR&B, soul, disco, jazz, pop, dance
InstrumentsVocals
LabelsLu Pine, Motown, RCA Records
Associated actsThe Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie

Diana Ernestine Earle Ross (born March 26, 1944[1]) is an American singer, actress and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, she rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown's most commercially successful act and is to this day America's most successful vocal group. As part of the Supremes, Ross most notably rivalled the career of The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and their success made it possible for future African American R&B and soul acts to find mainstream success.

Following her departure from The Supremes in 1970, she released her debut solo album, Diana Ross, which contained the hits "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". Ross also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nominated performance in Lady Sings the Blues. Later starring in two other big screen films, Mahogany and the cult-classic The Wiz. Later acting included roles in the television films Out of Darkness and Double Platinum.

Beside ventures in Broadway, Ross was named the "Female Entertainer of the Century" by Billboard magazine. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles with her work with the Supremes and as a solo artist. Diana Ross has sold more than 100 million records worldwide when her releases with the Supremes and as a solo artist are tallied.

In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as member of the Supremes alongside Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson.

Early life[edit]

The Frederick Douglass housing project in Detroit where Diana spent her teenage years.

Diana Ross was born at Hutzel Women's Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on March 26, 1944.[2] The second-eldest child of Ernestine (née Moten) (January 27, 1916 – October 9, 1984), a schoolteacher, and Fred Ross, Sr. (July 4, 1920 – November 21, 2007), a former United States Army soldier, Ross would later say that she didn't see much of her father until he had returned from service following World War II. Much has been made of whether her first name ends in an "a" or an "e". According to Ross, her mother actually named her "Diane" but a clerical error resulted in her name being recorded as "Diana" on her birth certificate. She always went by "Diane" at home and at school. Her high school yearbook listed her as "Diana" and as early as 1963, when The Supremes released their first album, she was listed in the liner notes as "Diana". At The Supremes' first Copacabana engagement in 1965, she introduced herself to the audience as "Diane", but later that year she started introducing herself as "Diana", but all her intimates still call her "Diane".[3][4]

Ross' grandfather John E. Ross, a native of Gloucester County, Virginia, was born to Washington Ross and Virginia Baytop. The relatives of the Ross family of Gloucester County were considered mulatto for many generations, which suggests some European ancestry. Virginia Baytop's mother Francis "Frankey" Baytop was a former slave who had become a midwife after the American Civil War.

Ross and her family originally lived at Belmont Road in the North End section of Detroit, near Highland Park, Michigan, where she was neighbors with Smokey Robinson, who first met Ross when she was eight. On Diana's 14th birthday in 1958, the Ross family relocated to the Brewster-Douglass housing projects settling at St. Antoine Street. Unlike what would later be written about in Supremes and Diana Ross biographies, Ross and her family grew up comfortably among the street's working-class residents. By Ross' teenage years, she had aspirations of being a fashion designer, studying design, millinery, pattern-making and seamstress skills while attending Cass Technical High School, a four-year college preparatory magnet school, in downtown Detroit. Ross eventually worked at Hudson's Department Store where, it was claimed in biographies, that she was the first black employee "allowed outside the kitchen".[5] Ross graduated in January 1962, one semester earlier than her classmates.

Career[edit]

The Supremes: 1959–1970[edit]

At fifteen, Ross was brought to the attention of music impresario Milton Jenkins, manager of the local doo-wop group the Primes, by Mary Wilson. Paul Williams, then member of The Primes, convinced Jenkins to include Ross in the Primettes, considered a "sister group" of the Primes. Ross was part of a lineup that included Wilson, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown, who completed the lineup. In 1960, following their win at a singing contest in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, the group auditioned for a spot on Motown Records after Smokey Robinson introduced the young group to Berry Gordy.

The Supremes performing at the Frontier Hotel (Ross can be seen on the far right singing into the lead microphone).

Upon learning of their ages, Gordy advised them to come back after graduation. Undeterred, the quartet stayed around Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. headquarters, offering to provide extra help for Motown's recordings, often including hand-claps and background vocals. That same year, the Primettes made their first recordings for Lu Pine Records, with Ross singing lead on her and Ballard's composition, "Tears of Sorrow". During the group's early years, Ross served as the group's main hair stylist, make-up artist, seamstress and costume designer. In January 1961, after having replaced McGlown with Barbara Martin, Berry Gordy agreed to sign the young act under the condition they change their name. Each member picked out various names from friends. Eventually they settled on The Supremes, though Ross initially had apprehensions toward the name – she felt the name would mistake them for a male vocal group. But Gordy agreed with the new name and signed them on January 15 of that year. Following Martin's exit in 1962, the group remained a trio. During the group's early years, there was no designated lead vocalist for the group as they had agreed to split lead vocals between their choice of song material; Ross favoring the uptempo pop songs. That changed in 1963 when Gordy assigned Ross, who had already sung lead on the majority of their early singles, as the main lead vocalist, considering that her vocals had potential to reach Gordy's dreams of crossover success. Following this, they recorded their first hit single, "When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes", later that year, where it peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. Before this song, the Supremes were unfavorably pinned as the "no-hit Supremes". Following this, the group reached number-one with "Where Did Our Love Go" and reached unprecedented success: between August 1964 and May 1967, Ross, Wilson and Ballard sang on ten number-one hit singles, all of which also made the UK top forty. The group had also become a hit with audiences both domestically and abroad, going on to become Motown's most successful vocal act throughout the sixties.

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Diana Ross, the lead singer of the Supremes, performing "No Matter What Sign You Are", a 1969 song released by Motown.

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After a period of tension, Florence Ballard was removed from the Supremes by Gordy in July 1967 and he chose Cindy Birdsong to take her place. Gordy's decision to rename the group, Diana Ross & The Supremes, hinted that he had plans on making Ross a future solo star. Gordy initially thought of Ross leaving the Supremes for a solo career in 1966 but changed his mind when he figured the group's success was still too massive for Ross to pursue solo obligations. Ross would remain with the group until early 1970. Between their early 1968 single "Forever Came Today" and their final single, "Someday We'll Be Together", Ross would be the only Supremes member to be prominently featured on the recordings, further dissolving the group's former rapport. Gordy worked Ross diligently throughout this period and Ross chose to not eat much as the group went on countless rehearsals and recording sessions. By the time the group performed at places like The Copacabana and Coconut Grove, there were rumors that Ross had been suffering from anorexia nervosa due to her extremely skinny frame. After some performances, Ross would collapse from exhaustion, forcing Gordy to cancel or postpone several concerts until Ross felt well enough to perform again.

In 1968, Ross started performing as a solo artist mainly on television specials, including The Supremes' own specials such as TCB and G.I.T. on Broadway. In mid-1969, Gordy decided to have Ross leave the group by the end of the year and Ross began sessions for her own solo work that July. One of the first plans for Ross to establish her own solo career was to bring in a new Motown recording act. Though she herself didn't claim discovery, Motown pinned Ross as having discovered The Jackson 5. Ross would introduce the group to several public events including The Hollywood Palace though she added in "Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5", which didn't sit well with the Jacksons' father, Joseph Jackson and Gordy. In November, Ross confirmed a split from the Supremes on Billboard. Ross' presumed first solo recording, "Someday We'll Be Together", was eventually released as a Supremes recording and became the group's final number-one hit on the Hot 100. Ross made her final appearance with the Supremes at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas on January 14, 1970.

Early solo career: 1970–1981[edit]

Ross's debut solo album, Diana Ross, on Motown Records released in 1970.

After her obligations with the Supremes were fulfilled with Jean Terrell set as the Supremes' new lead vocalist, Ross signed a new contract as a solo artist in March 1970. Two months later, Motown released her eponymous solo debut, which included the hits, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," the latter song becoming her first number-one single as a solo artist on the pop and R&B charts, also becoming an international hit reaching the UK top ten, and winning Ross her first Grammy nomination. Ross followed this with a second solo album, Everything Is Everything, which was also released in 1970, and included the number-one UK ballad, "I'm Still Waiting." The album, however, failed to reach the same success as Ross' debut. Reunited with Ashford & Simpson, Ross fared better with her third album, Surrender, released in 1971, which included her hit cover of the Four Tops' "Reach Out, I'll Be There" and "Remember Me." To continue that album's momentum, Ross performed in her first solo TV special, Diana!, which was a ratings success. Due to her commitments to working on her first major film and her duet recording with Marvin Gaye, Ross only released one solo recording in 1972. She reemerged in 1973 with "Touch Me in the Morning," which became her first single to reach number-one in three years. The album of the same name became Ross's first non-soundtrack studio album to reach the top ten, peaking at No. 5. Later that year, the Diana & Marvin album, her duet album with Gaye, was released, and spawned five hit singles, including three released in the United States and two in Europe, gaining an international hit with their cover of The Stylistics' "You Are Everything." In 1973, Ross began giving out concerts overseas where she immediately sold out at every concert venue she performed at. That year, Ross became the first entertainer in Japan's history to receive an invitation to the Imperial Palace for a private audience with the Empress Nagako, wife of Emperor Hirohito.[6] Ross's next solo album, 1974's Last Time I Saw Him featured the successful title track, but it was not as successful as Touch Me in the Morning. Ross didn't have an album release in 1975, but was at work on the film Mahogany. She had an incident with Gordy on the set of the film when she struck him after the two had engaged in an argument. Ross returned on the musical scene in 1976 with another eponymous album, which saw her gain a dance audience after the release of the disco-tinged song, "Love Hangover," which returned her to number-one. Will Smith later sampled the hook of "Love Hangover" for his song "Freakin' It".

Ross's 1977 album Baby It's Me faltered on the charts. Ross decided to try her hand at Broadway and in 1977 she starred in her own one-woman show entitled An Evening with Diana Ross. Her performance resulted in her winning a Tony Award, and a television special of the Broadway show was later aired on TV. 1978 saw the release of the album Ross which didn't fare well on the charts. In 1979, Ross achieved her first gold-selling album in three years with The Boss, the first album since Surrender to be formally produced by Ashford & Simpson, who had by then left Motown to have a successful singing career. Initially, Ross had been set to work on an album with Rick James; James would later confirm that the song, "I'm a Sucker for Your Love" was originally a duet between himelf and Ross, but James changed his mind after Motown only wanted him to produce a couple of songs on her album instead of the whole project. James passed on the song and some others on Teena Marie's debut album. The recording of The Boss somewhat further deteriorated Ross's relationship with Gordy as he was not completely happy with the finished product and refused to receive credit as executive producer.

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"I'm Coming Out" was a hit single released in 1980, written and produced by Chic members Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers for her album "Diana."

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Nevertheless, the single "The Boss" gave Ross her first US Top 20 hit in three years; since 1976's "Love Hangover".

After catching the group Chic at a concert where she attended with her daughters, Ross requested from band members Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards to work with them in New York for her next album. They agreed and in 1980 Motown released Ross's album Diana. It became her highest-charting solo album and her most successful of all her solo albums. It featured the hits "Upside Down," her first song to reach number-one in four years. Other successful singles included "I'm Coming Out", its hook would later be sampled for "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems"; and "It's My Turn". This would be Ross's final studio album under her Motown contract. She would later work on four songs to complete her contractual obligations for the compilation album, To Love Again, which would be released in May 1981. Though Ross had sought to leave Motown in 1980 shortly after the release of Diana, she discovered, just as she was planning to leave Motown, that she only had up to $150,000 in her name despite helping Motown to earn millions of dollars with her recordings in the twenty years she had been signed to the label. Upon learning she was a free agent, several labels offered deals. Eventually, Ross would settle on a $20 million deal with RCA Records. Before signing, however, Berry Gordy called her begging her to not leave Motown. Ross asked if Gordy could match the $20 million that RCA had offered her. When Gordy told her that he could not match it, Ross told him she was planning to leave the company. Ross signed with RCA on May 20, 1981, and her $20 million deal in 1981 became then the most lucrative contract of any recording artist at the time. After leaving, Ross achieved her sixth and final number-one hit with Lionel Richie on the ballad "Endless Love" around the same time Ross left the label.

Film career: 1972–1999[edit]

In 1971, Diana Ross began working on her first film, Lady Sings the Blues, which was a loosely based biography on music legend Billie Holiday. Some critics lambasted the idea of the singer playing Holiday considering how "miles apart" their styles were. At one point, Ross began talking with several of Holiday's acquaintances and listened to her recordings to get into character. During an audition to acquire the role, Ross would act on cue to the film's producers's commands, helping Ross to win her part. When Berry Gordy heard Ross perform covers of Holiday's material, he felt Ross had put "a little too much" Holiday in her vocal range, advising Ross to "put a little Diana back into it."

Ross also talked with doctors at drug clinics in research of the film, as Holiday had been a known drug addict. Ross would later make a crucial decision when it came to interpreting Holiday's music: instead of flatly imitating Holiday, she only focused on Holiday's vocal phrasing. "Lady Sings the Blues" opened in theaters in October 1972, becoming a major success in Ross's career. Jazz critic Leonard Feather, a friend of Billie Holiday, praised Ross for "expertly capturing the essence of Lady Day." Ross's role in the film won her Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. Alongside Cicely Tyson, who was nominated for her role in the film, Sounder, they were the first Black actresses to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress since Dorothy Dandridge. The soundtrack to "Lady Sings the Blues" became just as successful, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 staying there for two weeks and breaking then-industry records by shipping 300,000 copies during the first eight days of its release. At nearly two million in sales, it is one of Ross's best-selling albums to date.

After the film, Ross returned to her music career, reemerging with another film in 1975 with Mahogany, her second film, in which she starred alongside Billy Dee Williams and whose costumes she designed. The story of an aspiring fashion designer who becomes a runway model and the toast of the industry, Mahogany was a troubled production from its inception. The film's original director, Tony Richardson, was fired during production, and Berry Gordy assumed the director's chair himself. In addition, Gordy and Ross clashed during filming, with Ross leaving the production before shooting was completed, forcing Gordy to use secretary Edna Anderson as a body double for Ross. While a box office success, the film was not well received by the critics: Time magazine's review of the film chastised Gordy for "squandering one of America's most natural resources: Diana Ross."[7] Diana did win the coveted French Cesar, the French equivalent for the Oscars, for her performance in "Mahogany" which gave her another global hit.

In 1977, Motown acquired the film rights to the Broadway play The Wiz, an African-American reinterpretation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The film initially was to include the stage actors who had performed on the play. However, the role of Dorothy, which had been performed onstage by Stephanie Mills, would be given to Ross after she convinced film producer Rob Cohen to cast her in the role of Dorothy. This decision eventually led to a change in the film's script in which Dorothy went from a schoolgirl to a schoolteacher. The role of the Scarecrow, also performed by someone else onstage, was eventually given to Ross's former Motown label mate, Michael Jackson. The film adaptation of The Wiz had been a $24 million production, but upon its October 1978 release, it earned only $21,049,053 at the box office.[8][9][10] Though pre-release television broadcast rights had been sold to CBS for over $10 million, the film produced a net loss of $10.4 million for Motown and Universal.[9][10] At the time, it was the most expensive film musical ever made.[11] The film's failure ended Ross's short career on the big screen and contributed to the Hollywood studios's reluctance to produce the all-black film projects which had become popular during the blaxploitation era of the early to mid-1970s for several years.[12][13][14] The Wiz was Ross's final film for Motown.

Ross had success with movie-themed songs. While her version of Holiday's "Good Morning Heartache" only performed modestly well in early 1973, her recording of "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" gave Ross her third number-one hit, in late 1975. Three years later, Ross and Michael Jackson had a modest dance hit with their recording of "Ease on Down the Road." Their second duet, actually as part of the ensemble of The Wiz, "Brand New Day," found some success overseas. Ross scored a Top 10 hit in late 1980 with the theme song to the 1980 film It's My Turn. The following year, she collaborated with former Commodores singer-songwriter Lionel Richie on the theme song for the film Endless Love. The Academy Award-nominated title single became her final hit on Motown Records, and the number one record of the year. Several years later, in 1988, Ross recorded the theme song to The Land Before Time. "If We Hold On Together" became an international hit, reaching number-one in Japan.

Ross would be given movie offers over the years, which she reportedly rejected because of either contractual obligations or fears of typecasting. Ross had campaigned to portray pioneering entertainer Josephine Baker in a feature film even during her later years in Motown. However, in 1991, the feature film turned into a TV film with Lynn Whitfield playing Baker instead of Ross. Ross was also offered a role in an early adaptation of The Bodyguard with Ryan O'Neal. However, plans for this film fell through and it was never made. Years later, the script began circulation around Hollywood again and this time a film studio gave it the green light. Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner assumed the lead roles in the 1992 film. In 1993, Ross returned to acting with a dramatic role in the television film, Out of Darkness. Ross won acclaim for her role in the TV movie and earned her third Golden Globe nomination, although she did not win. In 1999, she and Brandy Norwood co-starred in the television movie, Double Platinum, which was aired prior to the release of Ross's album, Every Day Is a New Day.

Continued solo career and development: 1981–1999[edit]

Ross in 1989

In October 1981, Ross released her first RCA album, Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The album sold over a million copies and featured hit singles such as her remake of the classic hit of the same name and "Mirror Mirror." At this same approximate time, Ross established her own production company, which she named Anaid Productions (the "Anaid" being "Diana" backwards), and also started investing in real estate, while also touring extensively in the United States and abroad. Before the release of Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Ross hosted her first TV special in four years, featuring Michael Jackson in the special. In early 1982, Ross sang the "Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XVI and appeared on the dance show Soul Train. The program devoted a full episode to her and Ross performed several songs from the Why Do Fools Fall in Love album.

In 1982, she followed up the success of Why Do Fools Fall in Love with Silk Electric, which featured a selection of Michael Jackson's authorship, composition, and music production, "Muscles," resulting in another top ten success for Ross. The album eventually went gold under the strength of that song. In 1983, Ross ventured further out of her earlier soul-based sound for a more pop rock oriented sound following the release of the Ross album. Though the album featured the hit single, "Pieces of Ice," which music video garnered heavy rotation on video channel stations, except on MTV, the Ross album failed to generate any more hits and failed to go gold, dropping out of the charts as quickly as it entered. On July 21, 1983, Ross performed a concert in Central Park for a taped Showtime special. Proceeds of the concert would be donated to build a playground in the singer's name. Midway through the beginning of the show, a torrential downpour occurred. Ross tried to keep on performing, but the severe weather required that the show be stopped. Ross urged the large crowd to exit the venue safely, promising to perform the next day.

The second concert held the very next day was without rain. The funds for the playground were to be derived from sales of different items at the concert; however, all profits earned from the first concert were spent on the second. When the mainstream media discovered the exorbitant costs of the two concerts, Ross faced criticism and poor publicity. Although her representatives originally refused to pay anything for the proposed playground, Ross herself later paid, out of pocket, the $250,000 required to build the park. The Diana Ross Playground was finally built three years later.[15] The Diana Ross Playground at 83rd and Central Park West is a beautiful assortment of wood structures and classic outdoor children's gym obstacles making it a lovely addition to the park.

In 1984, Ross's career spiked yet again with the release of the million-selling Swept Away. This featured a duet with Julio Iglesias, "All of You," which was featured on both the albums they had then released—his 1100 Bel Air Place as well as her Swept Away. It and the title selection both became international hits, as did the chart-topping ballad, "Missing You," which was a tribute to Marvin Gaye, who had died earlier that year. Her 1985 album, Eaten Alive, found major success overseas with the title track and "Chain Reaction," although neither of the songs became the best-sellers she was once accustomed to in America. Earlier in 1985, she appeared as part of the supergroup USA for Africa on the '"We Are the World"' charity single, which sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Ross's 1987 follow up to Eaten Alive, Red Hot Rhythm & Blues, found less success than the prior album. In 1988, Ross chose to not renew her RCA contract. Around this same time, Ross had been in talks with her former mentor Berry Gordy to return to Motown. When she learned of Gordy's plans to sell Motown, Ross tried advising him against the decision though he sold it to MCA Records in 1988. Following this decision, Gordy offered Ross a new contract to return to Motown with the condition that she have shares in the company as a part-owner. Ross accepted the offer.

Despite its heavy promotion, Diana's next album, Workin' Overtime, was a critical and commercial failure. Subsequent follow-ups such as The Force Behind the Power (1991), Take Me Higher (1995), and Every Day Is a New Day (1999) produced similarly disappointing sales. Ross had more success overseas with the albums than she did in America. "the Force Behind the Power" sparked an international comeback of sorts, when the album went double platinum in the U.K.[16] led by the No. 2 U.K. hit single, "When You Tell Me That You Love Me". Ross would see the album perform successfully across Europe to Japan as "The Force Behind the Power" went gold there. That single would be a lucky charm when a duet version with Irish group, Westlife also hit No. 2 in the U.K. in 2005.

Ross had success in international markets through 1994, when "One Woman", a career retrospective compilation, would become No. 1 in the U.K., selling quadruple platinum in the U.K. That album did well across Europe and in the anglosphere. She would sell aggressively in international markets from 1991-94. On January 28, 1996, Ross performed the Halftime Show at Super Bowl XXX.

In 1999, she was named the most successful female singer in the history of the United Kingdom charts, based upon a tally of her career hits. Madonna would eventually succeed Ross as the most successful female artist in the UK. Later that year, Ross presented at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards in September of the year and shocked the audience by touching rapper Lil' Kim's exposed breast, pasty-covered nipple, amazed at the young rapper's brashness.[17]

Supremes reunions, Return to Love, 2002 Solo Tour[edit]

Ross reunited with Mary Wilson first in 1976 to attend the funeral service of Florence Ballard, who had died in February of that year. In March 1983, Ross agreed to reunite with Wilson and Cindy Birdsong for the television special "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever." Before the special was taped later that evening, Wilson allegedly planned with Birdsong to take a step forward every time Ross did the same. This appeared to frustrate Ross, causing her to push Wilson's shoulder. Later, Wilson was not aware of the script set by producer Suzanne DePasse, in which Ross was to introduce Berry Gordy. Wilson took it upon herself to do so, at which point Ross pushed down Wilson's hand-held microphone, stating "It's been taken care of." Ross, then, introduced Gordy.[18][19] These incidents were excised from the final edit of the taped special, but still made their way into the news media; People magazine reported that "Ross [did] some elbowing to get Wilson out of the spotlight."[20]

In 1999, Ross and mega-tour promoter SFX (which later became LiveNation) began negotiations regarding a Supremes tour in which all living former Supremes would participate. Due to personal matters, neither Jean Terrell nor late 1970s member Susaye Greene (who was then living in London with her then-husband) participated. Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne were then touring as members of the Former Ladies of the Supremes. Mary Wilson agreed to begin negotiations, as did Cindy Birdsong. Negotiations however to have the 1967–1970 lineup of the group perform together for the first time in a concert tour since 1970 died down after Wilson failed to come to terms with SFX's offer of $4 million, while Ross had been offered, as co-producer of the tour, to split a percentage of its profits with SFX; Birdsong accepted a $1 million deal, the amount offered to all of the group's former members. Wilson eventually decided against the tour and Birdsong reluctantly dropped out, causing SFX to hire Payne and Laurence to sing with Ross on the tour. Both had scored highly on SFX's Supremes name-recognition poll. Wilson came in fourth. While Ross, Payne and Laurence had never performed together during their Supremes' tenures, Laurence and Payne would later say they got on well with Ross. The Return to Love tour launched in June, 2000, to a capacity audience in Philadelphia, PA.

In 2002, Ross entered rehabiliation in May, launched and cancelled a North America solo tour, and was arrested for a DUI in December. Ross cancelled the remaining dates of her summer concert tour of the United States and Canada two months after entering drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre Promises, in Malibu, California in May to "clear up some personal issues." No reason was given for halting the 10-city North American tour, which began in April at New York's Westbury Music Fair. The 58-year-old singer performed gigs in Boston, Massachusetts and Ontario, Canada before her spokeswoman confirmed reports she had cancelled the rest of the dates.

Later career: 2004–present[edit]

Diana Ross is applauded by her fellow Kennedy Center honorees as she is recognized for her career achievements by President George W. Bush in the East Room of the White House Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007, during the Kennedy Center Gala Reception. From left to right: singer-songwriter Brian Wilson; filmmaker Martin Scorsese; Ross; comedian, actor and author Steve Martin, and pianist Leon Fleisher.

In 2004, after spending two years away from the spotlight and after a stint in jail for committing a DUI, Ross returned to live touring, first in Europe and then in the United States all within the same year. In 2005, she participated in Rod Stewart's Thanks for the Memory: The Great American Songbook, Volume IV recording a duet version of the Gershwin standard, "I've Got a Crush on You". The song was released as promotion for the album and later reached number 19 on the Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary chart, marking her first Billboard chart entry since 2000. Ross was featured in another hit duet, this time with Westlife, on a cover of Ross' 1991 hit, "When You Tell Me You Love Me", which repeated the same chart success of the original just fourteen years before.

In June 2006, Universal released Ross' shelved 1972 Blue album. It peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's jazz albums chart. Later in 2006, Ross released her first studio album in seven years with I Love You. It would be released on EMI/Manhattan Records in the United States in January 2007.[21] EMI Inside later reported the album had sold more than 622,000 copies worldwide. Ross later ventured on a world tour to promote I Love You which garnered rave reviews. In 2007, she was honored twice, first with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BET Awards and later was one of the honorees at the Kennedy Center Honors.

In 2010, Ross embarked on her first headlining tour in three years titled the More Today Than Yesterday: The Greatest Hits Tour. She dedicated the entire concert tour to her late friend, Michael Jackson, who died in June 2009. Ross has garnered critical success as well as commercial success from the now two-year tour. In February 2012, Diana Ross received her first ever Grammy Award, for Lifetime Achievement, and announced the nominees for the Album of the Year. In May, a DVD of Ross' Central Park concert performances, For One & For All, was released and featured commentary from Steve Binder, who directed the special. On November 6, 2012, Ross performed for a crowd in India for Naomi Campbell's then billionaire boyfriend, Vladimir Doronin's at his 50th birthday, earning $500,000 for the performance. A month later, on December 9, Ross performed as the marquee and headlining performer at the White House-hosted Christmas in Washington charity concert where she performed for Barack Obama, America's first African American president, during his second term. The event was later broadcast as an annual special on TNT.

Diana continues to tour as of 2013 and recently completed a 2013 South American tour, a multi-city U.S. late summer tour which launched August 2nd in Los Angeles through September 13th in Dallas. Several dates were sellouts.

Personal life[edit]

Around 1965, Ross became romantically involved with Motown CEO Berry Gordy. The affair reportedly lasted several years and resulted in the birth of Ross' eldest child, Rhonda Suzanne Silberstein, in August 1971. Two months into her pregnancy with Rhonda, in January 1971, Ross married music executive Robert Ellis Silberstein.

With Silberstein, Ross had two daughters, Tracee Joy and Chudney Lane Silberstein, born in 1972 and 1975, respectively. Ross and Silberstein divorced in 1977 and Ross relocated to New York in the early 1980s after years living in Los Angeles.

Ross met her second husband, Norwegian billionaire shipping magnate Arne Næss, Jr. in 1985 and married him the following year, later having boys Ross Arne and Evan Olav. Even though they divorced in 2000, she still considers him the love of her life, attending his funeral and discussing with Oprah, the depth of their relationship.[22] Næss was killed in a mountain climbing accident in 2004; Ross attended his funeral.

Ross was arrested for DUI on December 30, 2002 in Tucson, Arizona.[23]

Ross is a grandmother of two: her daughter Rhonda gave birth to a son, Raif-Henok Emmanuel Kendrick in August 2009. In September 2012, daughter Chudney gave birth to daughter Calloway Lane.

Ross is formerly the owner of an island called Taino, French Polynesia.

Legacy[edit]

In 1994, The Supremes were recognized with a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7060 Hollywood Blvd.

Ross has influenced many artists including Michael Jackson[24] and Beyoncé Knowles.[25] Recording artist Kelly Rowland has also cited her as an influence. Among others who have cited her as influence are, female hip hop rapper Lil' Kim, Janet Jackson, Solange, Fergie, Leona Lewis, Rihanna, Nicole Scherzinger, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. As a member of the Supremes, Ross helped influenced other black girl groups who have succeeded the Supremes in popular music, such as The Three Degrees, The Emotions, The Pointer Sisters, En Vogue, TLC, Destiny's Child and Cleopatra.

Various works have been inspired by Ross' career and life. The character of Deena Jones in Dreamgirls was inspired by Ross herself.[26] As well, Sparkle was influenced by Ross and the supremes as the name of the group was "Sister & The Sisters", in reference to "Diana Ross & the Supremes".

Motown: The Musical is a Broadway musical that launched on April 14, 2013. It is the story of Berry Gordy's creation of Motown Records and his romance with Diana Ross.

As a member of The Supremes, her songs "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "You Can't Hurry Love" are among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[27] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994, and entered into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2004, Rolling Stone placed the group at number 96 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".[28]

As lead singer of the Supremes and as a solo artist, Ross has earned Twentyeight number-one singles. Ross is also credited for singing on the number-one single "We Are the World" as part of the USA for Africa collective. Ross was featured on The Notorious B.I.G.'s 1997 number-one hit, "Mo Money Mo Problems" as her voice from her 1980 hit, "I'm Coming Out", was sampled for the song. Billboard magazine named Ross the "female entertainer of the century" in 1976. In 1993, she earned a Guinness World Record, due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any other female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles. Ross is also one of the few recording artists to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one as a solo artist and the other as a member of The Supremes. After Diana Ross' 1983 concert in Central Park, Diana Ross Playground was named in her honor with a ground breaking opening ceremony in 1986.

The Jackson 5's debut album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, title suggested that Ross had discovered the group. as do the Ross-penned liner notes on the back album cover. Ross' "discovery" of the Jackson 5 was part of Motown Records marketing and promotions plan for the Jackson 5, however, Ross did introduce the group to the public both in concert and on television.

Solo discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Theater[edit]

Autobiographies[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Diana Ross Was Born On March 26, 1944 | Music Trivia". Musicbyday.com. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel; The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, p. 207
  3. ^ Wilson, Mary (1986). Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme. Cooper Square Press. pp. 169–170. ISBN 0-8154-1000-X. 
  4. ^ George, Nelson (1985). Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound. St. Martin's Press. pp. 80–81, 87. ISBN 0-312-01109-1. 
  5. ^ Taraborelli 2008, p. 64.
  6. ^ Jet 1973, p. 60.
  7. ^ Posner, Gerald. Motown : Music, Money, Sex, and Power, pg. 286.
  8. ^ Sharp, Kathleen (2003). Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood: Edie and Lew Wasserman and Their Entertainment Empire. Carroll & Graf Publishers. pp. 357–358. ISBN 0-7867-1220-1. 
  9. ^ a b Harpole, Charles (2003). History of the American Cinema. Simon and Schuster. pp. 64, 65, 219, 220, 290. ISBN 0-684-80463-8. 
  10. ^ a b Adrahtas, Thomas (2006). A Lifetime to Get Here: Diana Ross: The American Dreamgirl. AuthorHouse. pp. 163–167. ISBN 1-4259-7140-7. 
  11. ^ Skow, John (October 30, 1978). "Nowhere Over the Rainbow". TIME (Time Warner). Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  12. ^ Moon, Spencer; George Hill (1997). Reel Black Talk: A Sourcebook of 50 American Filmmakers. Greenwood Press. xii. ISBN 0-313-29830-0. 
  13. ^ Benshoff, Harry M.; Sean Griffin (2004). America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies. Blackwell Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 0-631-22583-8. 
  14. ^ George, Nelson (1985). Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound. St. Martin's Press. p. 193. 
  15. ^ Anderson, Susan Heller and Deirdre Carmody (September 12, 1986). "NEW YORK DAY BY DAY; Start at Ross Playground." New York Times. [1]
  16. ^ BPI 1991-U.K. Trade Magazine Music Week
  17. ^ "Diana Ross and Lil' Kim's wild VMA moment", Lisa Costantini, August 21, 2002, Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  18. ^ Wilson, Mary. Dreamgirl, My Life As A Supreme and Taraborrelli, Randy, "Call Her Miss Ross, George, Nelson " Where Did Our Love Go?, The Rise & Fall Of Motown
  19. ^ Posner, Gerald. Motown : Music, Money, Sex, and Power, pg. 308–309. and Taraborrelli, Randy, "The Unauthorized Biography of Diana Ross.
  20. ^ Wilson, Mary. Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme., pg. 1–5. Taken from Wilson, Mary and Romanowski, Patricia (1986, 1990, 2000). Dreamgirl & Supreme Faith: My Life as a Supreme. New York: Cooper Square Publishers. ISBN 0-8154-1000-X.
  21. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (2006-12-13). "New Diana Ross Album To Get U.S. Release". Billboard. 
  22. ^ Jet 2000, pp. 12.
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1197153/Michael-obsessed-Diana-Ross-mother-feared-corrupt-.html
  25. ^ this http://www.shmoop.com/if-i-were-a-boy/influences.html
  26. ^ http://oldies.about.com/b/2005/11/17/american-idols-jennifer-hudson-as-the-supremes-florence-ballard.htm
  27. ^ "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll (by artist)". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2007. Retrieved on April 27, 2007. Archived May 14, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone, Issue 946, March 24, 2004. Retrieved on July 4, 2004.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]