Name:
Diana Ross
Birth Date:
March 26, 1944
Birth Place:
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Height:
5' 4½''
Nationality:
American
Famous for:
Lead singer for The Supremes (1964-1970)
Profession:
Actress, Singer
Education:
Cass Technical High School, Detroit, Michigan (graduated in 1962)
BIOGRAPHY
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Lady Sings the Blues

Background:

“My life has often been described as ‘from rags to riches,’ but in fact, the Ross’s were never raggedy.” Diana Ross

Singer/actress Diana Ross (born Diane Ernestine Earle Ross) surprised many with her strong screen performance as jazz legend Billie Holiday in the biopic Lady Sings the Blues (1972), in which she picked up a Golden Globe Award, as well as an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Film Award nomination. She later won a Special Tony Award for her performance in a 1977 Broadway one-woman show and presented a Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of schizophrenic Paulie Cooper in the TV drama Out of Darkness (1994).

As an international singer, Ross embarked on her career with the singing trio The Supremes. They were famous for such hits as “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Love Child” (1968) and the single “Someday We’ll Be Together” (1969). Landing a solo career, she broke the charts with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1970), “I’m Still Waiting” (1971), “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” (1976), “Endless Love” (1981) and “When You Tell Me You Love Me” (1991, remade in 2005 with Westlife). In 1988, Ross was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For her charitable efforts, Ross joined the board of directors of the nationwide educational assistance program “A Better Chance” and is a spokesperson for National Children’s Day. In 2002, the singer made headlines for assaulting an airport security guard. She was also arrested for DUI in 2002 and 2004.

Among her romantic affairs, Ross was famous for being the partner of Motown chief Berry Gordy Jr. and the mother of his daughter Rhonda. She also had a relationship with Eddie Kendricks of The Temptations, radio DJ Eddie Brasco, actor Ryan O'Neal and rocker Gene Simmons of KISS. She has been married twice, once to Robert Ellis Silberstein (1971-1977, has 2 children) and once to tycoon Arne Næss Jr. (October 1985-February 2000, has 2 children).


The Primette

Childhood and Family:

Diane Ernestine Earle Ross was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 26, 1944, but later spent her teenage years in the Brewster-Douglas housing project. The second eldest of six children to Fred and Ernestine Ross, Diana is the sister of songwriter Arthur “T-Boy” Ross and dancer Wilbert “Chico” Ross, who later worked for her.

At age fourteen, Diana began her music career with Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown as the doo-wop quartet the “Primettes.” In 1961, the group signed to Motown Records as the trio “The Supremes” following Betty’s resignation.

Diana was formerly married to music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein (1971-1977, has 2 children) before tying the knot with Norwegian tycoon Arne Næss Jr. (October 1985-February 2000, has 2 children). She also has a daughter named Rhonda Suzanne Silberstein from her relationship with Berry Gordy Jr.


Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Career:

Diana Ross, along with The Supremes, eventually scored their first hit with the composition “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes.” Between 1964 and 1967, The Supremes topped the Billboard 100 chart with the singles “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”

Later, focusing on Ross’ potential, Motown’s Berry Gordy Jr. replaced Florence Ballard with Cindy Birdsong (of Patti LaBelle & the Blue Belles) and changed the group’s name to “Diana Ross & the Supremes.” However, the musical act only had one No.1 hit with “Love Child” (1968). Also in 1968, Ross could be seen as Sister Therese, alongside her Supremes mates, in an episode of “Tarzan.” The band’s single “Someday We’ll Be Together” (1969) marked Ross’ departure from the Supremes.

In May 1970, Ross’ self-titled debut album was released by Motown Records and spawned the 20th Billboard Hot 100 hit single “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which was the cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s hit. It was quickly followed by her next albums, the failed Everything is Everything (1971, featured “Remember Me”) and Surrender (1971, had a success with “I’m Still Waiting”). On screen, Ross performed with the Jackson 5 and Bill Cosby in her special TV program Diana (1971) and guest starred as Tracy Hendricks in the sitcom “Make Room for Granddaddy” (1971).

Ross was widely applauded after portraying jazz singer Billie Holiday in the biopic Lady Sings the Blues (1972), alongside Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor. Besides enjoying box office success, the star won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Female Newcomer and collected an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Film award nomination. Continuing her musical journey, Ross topped the US charts with “Touch Me in the Morning” (1973), as well as gained Top 10 spots in the UK with “All Of My Life” (1973) and “You Are Everything” (1974, duet with Marvin Gaye).

Ross again teamed up with actor Billy Dee Williams in the drama Mahogany (1975), in which she starred as wannabe designer Tracy/Mahogany. Her acting performance only received lukewarm response, but her singing the “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” (1976) put her back on the top of the US charts. The same year, Ross ruled the charts with the disco single “Love Hangover,” from her 1976 album.

After accepting a Special Tony award for her performance in a 1977 Broadway one-woman show, Ross failed at her effort to play Dorothy in The Wiz (1978) and the short film Wiz on Down the Road (1978). Subsequent to the gold album The Boss (1979), the singer had her first platinum album with Diana (1980, spawned “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out”) and scored mild success with the titular theme song for It’s My Turn (1980). The collaboration with Lionel Richie in “Endless Love” (1981, for the movie with the same title) became her last single with Motown Records.

Briefly moving to RCA Records, Ross sold the platinum recording Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1981) and produced such hit singles as “Muscles” (1982), “Swept Away” (1984), “Missing You” (1984) and the UK No.1 “Chain Reaction” (1986). She then returned to Motown and released the albums Workin’ Overtime (1989), The Force Behind the Power (1991), Take Me Higher (1995) and Every Day is a New Day (1999), all of which did not gain rewarding results.

Meanwhile, Ross drew critical acclaim for her acting as schizophrenic Paulie Cooper in the TV drama Out of Darkness (1994), where she earned a Golden Globe nomination. The next four years, she costarred with singer Brandy Norwood in Double Platinum (1999, TV).

In 2005, the artist returned to the charts with her duet with Rod Stewart in “I Got a Crush on You” (for his album The Great American Songbook). She also sang a duet with Irish boy band Westlife in the remake of her 1991 single “When You Tell Me You Love Me.” Recently, Ross launched a new studio album of classic rock and soul standards titled I Love You, on October 7, 2006. In North America, the recording will be released on January 23, 2007.


Awards:

  • Tony: Special Tony, 1977
  • Golden Globe: Most Promising Newcomer – Female, Lady Sings the Blues, 1973
     
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