Diana Ross (born Diana Ernestine Earle Ross; March 26, 1944) is an American singer and actress. During the 1960s, she helped shape the Motown Sound as lead singer of The Supremes, before leaving the group for a solo career on January 14, 1970. Since the beginning of her career with The Supremes and as a solo artist, Ross has sold more than 100 million records.
During the 1970s and through the mid 1980s, Ross was among the most successful female artists, crossing over into film, television and Broadway. She received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her 1972 role as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues. She won a Golden Globe award for Lady Sings the Blues. She won American Music Awards, garnered twelve Grammy Award nominations, and won a Tony Award for her one-woman show, An Evening with Diana Ross, in 1977.
In 1976, Billboard magazine named her the "Female Entertainer of the Century." In 1993, the Guinness Book Of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history with a total of eighteen American number-one singles: twelve as lead singer of The Supremes and six as a soloist. Ross was the first female solo artist to score six number-ones. This feat puts her in a tie for fifth place among solo female artists with the most No. 1s on the Hot 100. She 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. In December 2007, she received a John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Honors Award.
Including her work with The Supremes, Ross has recorded 61 studio albums. Ross is a soprano.
Early life and career
Diana Ross, the daughter of a former United States Army soldier from Bluefield, West Virginia and a schoolteacher from Bessemer, Alabama, was born at Hutzel Women's Hospital, in Detroit, Michigan. Her parents intended to name her "Diane", but a clerical error on her birth certificate recorded her as Diana Ross. After living at 635 Belmont Avenue in Detroit's North End for several years, Ross's family settled on St. Antoinne Street in the Brewster-Douglass housing projects on her fourteenth birthday in 1958. Ross aspired to be a fashion designer, and studied design and seamstress skills while attending Cass Technical High School in Downtown Detroit. She was subsequently voted Best Dressed Girl in her senior year. She graduated in 1962.
In 1959, Ross was brought to the attention of Milton Jenkins, the manager of the local doo-wop group The Primes, by friend Mary Wilson. Reportedly, Primes member Paul Williams convinced Jenkins to enlist Ross in the sister group The Primettes, which included Wilson, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown. Ross, Wilson and Ballard each sang lead during live performances and in 1960, the group signed with Lupine Records where the label issued the Ross-led single "Tears of Sorrow" b/w the Wilson-led "Pretty Baby".
The Supremes (1959?1970)
Main article: The Supremes
The Supremes in 1965. Left to right: Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross.
In 1961, having already replaced McGlown with Barbara Martin, the quartet auditioned for and eventually signed with Motown Records under their new moniker, The Supremes.
Following Martin's exit in 1962, the group remained a trio. In 1963, Motown CEO Berry Gordy made Ross the lead singer of the group, as he felt the group could "cross over" to the pop charts with Ross's unique vocal quality. After The Supremes hit number one with "Where Did Our Love Go", the group found 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 40.
After deciding to remove Florence Ballard from the group in July 1967, Gordy chose Cindy Birdsong, a member of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, as her replacement. Shortly thereafter, he changed the group's name to Diana Ross & the Supremes to build name recognition prior to the planned future departure of Ross as a solo performer. Previously, Berry Gordy had changed the names of both Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and Martha Reeves & the Vandellas for similar reasons.
Recording a total of 12 number-one singles, The Supremes became the most successful American vocal group of the 1960s, and, after The Beatles, the second most successful group worldwide.
Leaving the Supremes
Motown initially conceived of a solo career for Ross 1966, but, did not act on this until 1968. Television specials such as TCB (1968) and G.I.T. on Broadway (1969) were designed to spotlight Diana Ross as a star in her own right, and much of the later Ross-led Supremes material was recorded by Ross with session singers The Andantes, not Wilson and Birdsong, on backing vocals.
By the summer of 1969, Ross began her first solo recordings. In November of the same year, three years after it was first rumored, Billboard magazine confirmed Ross's departure from the group to begin her solo career. That same year, Ross introduced Motown's newest act, The Jackson 5, to national audiences at the Hollywood Palace.
Ross began her solo sessions with a number of producers, including Bones Howe and Johnny Bristol. Her first track with Bristol, "Someday We'll Be Together", was tagged as a potential solo single, but it instead was issued as the final Diana Ross & the Supremes release. "Someday We'll Be Together" was the 12th and the final number-one hit for the Supremes and the last American number-one hit of the 1960s. Ross made her final appearance with the Supremes at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas on January 14, 1970.
Early solo career
Ross' first solo LP, Diana Ross, featured her first solo number-one hit, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
After a half-year of recording material with various producers, Ross settled with the production team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, the creative force behind Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's hit duets and Diana Ross & the Supremes' "Some Things You Never Get Used To". Ashford and Simpson helmed most of Ross's first album, Diana Ross, and continued to write and produce for her for the next decade.
In May 1970, Diana Ross was released on Motown. The first single, the gospel-influenced "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)", peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album's second single, a fully rearranged cover of Gaye and Terrell's 1967 hit, and another Ashford & Simpson composition, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", was an international hit, and gave Ross her first #1 pop single and gold record award as a solo artist. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.
In 1971, Motown released Ross's second album Everything Is Everything, which produced Ross's first UK number one solo single, "I'm Still Waiting". Several months later, Ross released Surrender, which included the top 20 pop hit, "Remember Me". That year, she hosted her first solo TV special, Diana!, featuring guest appearances by The Jackson 5, Bill Cosby and Danny Thomas.
By then, Motown Records had relocated to Hollywood. Berry Gordy decided it was time the company ventured again into new territory, so he focused much of his attention on developing a motion picture company and making Ross a movie star.
Lady Sings the Blues
In late 1971, Motown announced that Diana Ross was going to portray jazz icon Billie Holiday in a Motown-produced biographical film loosely based on Holiday's autobiography Lady Sings the Blues (1956) written by Holiday and William Dufty. Immediately, critics ridiculed Ross's casting in the role. Ross and Holiday were considered to be "miles apart" in vocal styling and appearance. Undaunted, Ross immersed herself in Holiday's music and life story. Ross actually knew little about Holiday and wasn't a big fan of jazz in general. Instead of imitating Holiday's voice, Ross focused on Holiday's vocal phrasing.
Opening in October 1972, Lady Sings the Blues was a phenomenal success, and Ross's performance drew universal favorable reviews. The movie co-starred Brian's Song star Billy Dee Williams, who played Holiday's lover, Louis McKay. The cast also included comedian Richard Pryor, who played the "Piano Man". In 1973, Ross was nominated for both the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for "Best Actress". Winning a Golden Globe for Best Newcomer, Ross lost the Best Actress Oscar to her friend Liza Minnelli for her role in Cabaret. The soundtrack album for Lady Sings the Blues reached number one on the Billboard 200 for two weeks and shipped 300,000 copies during its first eight days of release. Reportedly, after several of the soundtrack's recording sessions, many of the musicians (some of whom played with Billie Holiday) spontaneously erupted into applause, in praise of Ross's performances. The double-pocket custom label record is one of Diana's best-selling albums of all time, with total sales to date of nearly 2 million US units.
Ross' second self-titled release, Diana Ross (1976), featured the #1 hits "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" and the Grammy-nominated "Love Hangover".
Continued success in music and film
In 1972, shortly after filming Lady Sings the Blues, Ross recorded an all-jazz album titled Blue, which was shelved by Motown Records staff, who wanted Ross to return to pop music. The following year, Ross responded with Touch Me in the Morning. The title track became Ross's second US number-one hit. Later in 1973, Ross and label mate Marvin Gaye released their successful duets album, Diana & Marvin, which included the top-twenty US hit, "My Mistake (Was to Love You)" and the top-five UK hit cover of The Stylistics' "You Are Everything".
In 1975, Ross again co-starred with Billy Dee Williams in the Motown film Mahogany. 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".
Ross hit the top spot on the pop charts twice in 1976 with "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)", and the disco single "Love Hangover". A third single release, "I Thought It Took A Little Time", also was a sizable hit from that album. The success of these singles made her 1976 album, Diana Ross, her fourth LP to reach the Top 10. In 1977, her Broadway one-woman show earned her a special Tony Award. That same show was televised as a special on NBC and later released as An Evening with Diana Ross.
That same year, Motown acquired the film rights to the popular Broadway play The Wiz, an African-American reinterpretation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Although teenage Stephanie Mills, a veteran of the play, was originally cast as Dorothy, Diana Ross convinced Universal Pictures producer Rob Cohen to have Ross cast as Dorothy. As a result, the eleven-year old protagonist of the story became a shy twenty-four year old schoolteacher from Harlem, New York. Among Ross' costars in the film were Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross (no relation), and her former label mate and prot?g? Michael Jackson from the Jackson 5. Upon its October 1978 release, the film adaptation of The Wiz was a costly commercial and critical failure, and was Ross's final film for Motown. The accompanying Quincy Jones produced soundtrack album, however, sold over 850,000 copies. However, since its initial release, the film has become a cult classic and, in 2008, was re-released in an Anniversary Edition DVD set.
Diana Ross' landmark 1980 album, diana, was her final LP for Motown Records before leaving for RCA the following year.
In 1979, Ross reunited with Nicholas Ashford & Valerie Simpson for the album The Boss, which became Ross's first recognized gold-certified album (Motown sales records before 1979 were not audited by the RIAA, and therefore none of Motown's pre-1979 releases was awarded certification). That album became Diana Ross' best-selling album since her disco success four years earlier, and set the stage for her biggest-selling Motown album of all time. It was no mistake that the writing team of Ashford & Simpson was brought in, as they were a top-selling disco act themselves during this period, having had three gold-selling albums in a row to their credit. Two disco hits, "The Boss" and "No One Gets The Prize", and lesser-known but as important single, "It's My House" made the 1979 release a quick gold seller. In 1980, Ross released her first RIAA platinum-certified disc, "diana", produced by Chic's front men Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. The album included two of Ross's most successful solo hits, her fifth number-one single, "Upside Down", and the Top 5 single "I'm Coming Out". diana was the singer's most successful studio album to date, peaking at number two on the Billboard Album Chart chart for three weeks and selling over a million copies in the United States with close to three million sales globally.
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 "Endless Love" single became her final hit on Motown Records, and the Number One Record of the year. Feeling that Motown, and in particular Gordy, were keeping her from freely expressing herself and not according her financial parity, Ross left Motown, signing a $20 million contract with RCA Records in the US and Canada and Capitol/EMI elsewhere, ending her twenty-year tenure with the label. At the time, the Ross-RCA deal was the most money ever paid to a recording artist. When the duet with Lionel Richie "Endless Love" hit number one in 1981, Ross became the first female artist in music history to have six singles at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. That single, the last of her Motown career up to that time, was her first (and to date, only) platinum single, selling in excess of two million copies.
1980s and 1990s
Why Do Fools Fall in Love was Ross' debut LP for Ross Records distributed by RCA Records.
Diana Ross's RCA Records debut, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, was issued in October of 1981. The album yielded Top 10 hits including the title track "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", a remake of the 1956 Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers classic of the same name, and the single "Mirror Mirror". A third single, "Work That Body", missed the US Top 40 but hit the Top Ten in the UK.
In 1983, Ross reunited with former Supremes Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong for the television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. The three performed their 1969 number-one hit "Someday We'll Be Together", although alleged onstage altercations between Ross and Wilson became an issue during and after the taping of the special. A four-song Supremes set was planned but Ross, suffering from the flu, declined to rehearse with "The Girls" and stated that they would have to be happy just doing "Someday We'll Be Together". Before the special was filmed later that evening, Wilson allegedly planned with Birdsong to take a step forward every time Ross did the same. This frustrated 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. 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 some elbowing to get Wilson out of the spotlight."
Later that year, Ross held a concert in Central Park, the proceeds of which were to go towards building a playground in the singer's name. Fifteen minutes into the concert, which was being filmed for Showtime cable television and televised worldwide, a torrential downpour began. As she urged the crowd of over 800,000 to safely exit the venue, Ross announced that she would continue the performance the next day. Her actions drew praise from the mainstream press. That next day, over 500,000 people came back for one of the largest free concerts in the park's history. However, the second show generated controversy. During and after the concert, groups of young men began a rampage through Central Park, assaulting and robbing more than one hundred people. Some of the victims of the attacks subsequently filed law suits against New York City for failing to provide adequate security at the concert. The suits were eventually settled at a cost of millions of dollars. The funds for the playground were to be derived from sales of different items at the concert, however, any and all profits earned from the first concert were spent on the second. When the mainstream media discovered the exorbitant costs of the two concerts, Diana Ross faced criticism and poor publicity. Although representatives of Diana Ross originally refused to pay anything for the proposed playground, citing a lack of revenue from the concert, the Diana Ross Playground was finally built three years later, with Ross personally paying the $250,000 costs.
Other hit singles recorded by Ross for RCA included the Top 10 Grammy-nominated "Muscles" (1982), "So Close" (1983), "Pieces of Ice" (1983), "All of You" (1984), the no. 1 dance hit "Swept Away" (1984), the no. 1 R&B Marvin Gaye tribute "Missing You" (1985), "Eaten Alive" (1985) and the UK #1 single, "Chain Reaction", which was Diana's final appearance on the Hot 100 (1986). Ross also sang on the 1985 worldwide #1 "We Are The World". Albums during this period included the gold-certified release, All The Great Hits, Silk Electric (also Gold-certified), Diana Ross Anthology and Swept Away which sold over 900,000 copies in the US by the time it was taken out of print. It was the last top forty charted album in Ross' career for over two decades. While Ross continued to have success overseas as the 1980s continued, she was struggling on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart. The 1987 album Red Hot Rhythm & Blues was a critical and commercial failure, selling less than 300,000 copies in the United States. "If We Hold On Together", the theme to the Don Bluth animated film "The Land Before Time" in 1988 was a # 1 single in Japan, later making the UK Top 20 in 1992. In 1989, after leaving RCA, Diana Ross returned to Motown, where she was now both a part-owner and a recording artist.
In 1989, Diana Ross released her first Motown album in eight years, the Nile Rodgers-produced Workin' Overtime. Despite a #3 R&B hit with the title track, the album failed to find a pop audience in America - selling only slightly over 100,000 copies. Subsequent follow-up albums such as 1991's The Force Behind the Power, 1995's Take Me Higher and 1999's Every Day is a New Day produced similar disappointing results in the US. Her last major R&B hit single was "No Matter What You Do", a duet with Al B. Sure!, which peaked at #4 in early 1991. She continued having minor R&B chart entries throughout the 1990's with only the title track of her album Take Me Higher making the 'Bubbling Under The Hot 100' chart at #114.
Ross co-starred with R&B singer Brandy in the ABC television movie Double Platinum in 1999.
Ross had success with her latter-day Motown albums and singles in the United Kingdom and Europe, however, scoring Top 10 UK hits with "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" (1991), "One Shining Moment" (1992), and "Not Over You Yet" (1999). Additionally, "Force Behind The Power", "Heart (Don't Change My Mind)" (1992), "Your Love" (1994), "The Best Years of My Life" (1994), "Take Me Higher" (1995), "Gone" (1995), "I Will Survive" (1996) and "In the Ones You Love" (1996) all reached either the UK Top 20 or Top 40, proving that while her domestic chart performance waned, she was still a viable recording artist internationally. Ross headlined the 1991 UK Royal Variety Performance and was a halftime performer at Super Bowl XXX in 1996. She also performed in London, England in 1995, delivering an outstanding set at Wembley Stadium as the pre-game attraction in the opening game of the Rugby League world cup between Great Britain and Australia. Having announced to the capacity crowd that "I love the game of Rugby League", Ross is known to be a major fan of the game, with a particular fondness for the Yorkshire team Batley. 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. Fellow Michigan singer Madonna would eventually succeed Ross as the most successful female artist in the UK.
Diana Ross returned to acting in the ABC telefilm, Out of Darkness (1994), in which she played a woman suffering from schizophrenia. Ross drew critical acclaim for her acting, and scored her third Golden Globe nomination. In 1999, Ross co-starred with young R&B singer Brandy for the ABC television movie Double Platinum playing a singer who neglected her daughter while concentrating on her career.
Diana Ross was a presenter at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards, held that September. She shocked TV viewers when she touched rapper Lil' Kim's exposed, pasty-covered breast, reportedly amazed at the young rapper's brashness. A month after the Lil Kim incident, authorities at London's Heathrow Airport detained Ross for assaulting a female security guard. The singer claimed that she had felt "violated as a woman" by the body search that she was subjected to. In retaliation, she was alleged to have fondled the bust of the female airport security guard. The singer was detained but later released.
In 2000, Ross announced a Supremes reunion tour, again with former group-mates Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong, entitled Return to Love. Wilson and Birdsong declined the tour because of a reported difference in pay offered to each member: as performer and producer, Ross was offered $15 million while Wilson was offered $2 million (later increased to $3 million by Ross herself) and Birdsong, $1 million. They were replaced by latter-day Supremes Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne, both of whom were members of the group after Diana Ross's departure. Despite a respectable opening in Philadelphia and sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden in New York (ironically, the final show they would play), the Return to Love tour was canceled after nine dates because of slow ticket sales, most of which cost double, and in some cases, triple what is charged for Diana Ross (as a solo performer) tickets.
In December 2002, Ross was arrested in Tucson, Arizona for drunk driving. She pleaded "no contest", and later served a two-day jail sentence near her home in Greenwich, Connecticut. Following the arrest and jail sentence, Ross stayed out of the public eye during much of the following year, and would not return to touring again until 2004.
Wikinews has related news: Kennedy Center names 2007 honors recipients
Following successful European and American tours in 2004, Diana Ross returned to the Billboard music charts with a two duets in 2005. "I've Got a Crush on You", recorded with Rod Stewart for his album The Great American Songbook, reached #19 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart. The second, recorded with Westlife, was a remake of Ross' 1991 #2 UK single, "When You Tell Me You Love Me", and reached #2 in the UK, just as the original had, and #1 in Ireland.
In June 2006, Motown released the shelved Blue album, which peaked at #2 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart. Ross' new studio album, I Love You, was released worldwide on October 2, 2006 and January 16, 2007, in North America, on the Manhattan Records/EMI label. The new album earned the coveted Hot Shot Debut by Billboard magazine when it debuted at #32 on Billboard's Hot100 pop albums chart and #16 on its R&B chart, making it Ross's first top forty US pop album since 1984's Swept Away. Since its release in 2007, EMI Inside reports that I Love You has sold more than 622,000 copies world-wide.
Diana Ross is applauded by her fellow Kennedy Center honorees as she is recognized for her career achievements by then-President George W. Bush in the East Room of the White House Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007, during the Kennedy Center Gala Reception. From left are singer-songwriter Brian Wilson; filmmaker Martin Scorsese; comedian, actor and author Steve Martin and pianist Leon Fleisher.
In January 2007, Ross appeared on a number of TV shows across the U.S. to promote her new album and began touring in the spring. She appeared on American Idol as a mentor to the contestants Ross's United States "I Love You" tour garnered positive reviews, as did her European tour of the same year.
At the 2007 BET Awards, Ross was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by singer Alicia Keys and her five children. Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu and Chaka Khan performed a tribute to Ross, covering several of her hits. During her acceptance speech, she lambasted the declining level of professional standards among the current generation's musicians, as well as their over-abundant use of vulgarity and profanity to garner press attention and record sales. Later that year, the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors committee, which recognizes career excellence, cultural influence and contributions to American culture, named Diana Ross as one of its honorees. Past honoree and fellow Motown alumni Smokey Robinson and actor Terence Howard spoke on her behalf at the official ceremony that December, and singers Ciara, Vanessa L. Williams, Yolanda Adams and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks performed musical tributes.
In February 2008, Diana Ross was guest speaker at the Houston-based Brilliant Lecture series, at The Hobby Center, Houston. The lectures are designed to present prolific and influential characters to speak about their life and inspirations. During her lecture Ross stated that it is "unlikely" that she would undertake any further movie projects.
In May 2008, Diana headlined at New York's Radio City Music Hall at the 'Divas with Heart' event, which also featured fellow R&B legends Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan and Patti LaBelle. The following month she was a headliner at the City Stages music festival in Birmingham, AL, next to The Flaming Lips. The New York Times said about the duo, "the most incongruous headliners at an outdoor urban concert series, with the once-in-a-lifetime-at-most combination of Diana Ross and the Flaming Lips. Something for everyone, surely." She performed at two major events in the UK in July 2008: the famous Liverpool Pops Festival and the National Trust Summer Festival at Petworth House, West Sussex.
Diana's 1970 album Everything Is Everything was released in the United States for the first time on CD on April 18, 2008, as an expanded edition with bonus tracks and alternate versions of the songs. On December 9, 2008, the expanded edition of her third solo album, Surrender, was released.
In early December 2008, Motown announced the result of an international poll of the greatest Motown recordings. The winner, worldwide, was Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" while Ross' version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was No. 2. This track was the top choice by British voters. The poll determined the track listing for a Motown fiftieth anniversary album to be released in December. A significant number of Supremes and Diana Ross songs finished in the top 50 of the poll, requiring the elimination of some of these songs from the final track listing to prevent an unbalanced track selection.
On October 16-18, 2009, Diana Ross is scheduled to headline the annual Dutch concert event, "Symphonica in Rosso", in the 29,000-seat Gelredome Stadium, in Arnhem, The Netherlands. She is to be accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra.
Diana was the second of six children born to a Baptist family by Fred Ross (July 4, 1920 - November 21, 2007) and Ernestine Ross (January 27, 1916 - October 9, 1984) in Detroit's Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects. During Diana's later teenage years, her parents separated. Ernestine and Fred were divorced in 1973. Diana's mother later married John Jordan in 1977 but Fred Ross never remarried. Her older sister, Barbara, became a doctor. In 1993, when Dr. Ross-Lee was appointed Dean of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, she became the first African American woman to administer a medical school in the United States. Younger sister, Rita, became a teacher. Brothers Arthur and Chico Ross followed their sister into the recording industry and entertainment business respectively.
Diana Ross attended Detroit's Cass Technical High School, graduating in January, 1962, at the age of seventeen, one semester before the rest of her classmates.
Diana is the mother of five children. Ross married music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein in January 1971. Daughter Rhonda Suzanne Silberstein was born on August 8, 1971. Rhonda's biological father is Berry Gordy. She is now married. Her married name is Rhonda Ross Kendrick. Ross and Silberstein had two daughters: Tracee Joy Silberstein, born October 29, 1972, now known as Tracee Ellis Ross and Chutney Lane Silberstein, born November 4, 1975, now known as Chudney Ross. Ross and Robert Silberstein divorced in March, 1977.
In January, 1986, she married Norwegian shipping magnate Arne N?ss Jr.. Their sons are Ross Arne N?ss (born , 1987) and Evan Olav N?ss (born , 1988), now known as Evan Ross. After being separated for several years Ross and N?ss were officially divorced in late 2000. N?ss was killed in a mountain-climbing accident in South Africa in 2004.
Rhonda and Tracee graduated from Brown University, and Chutney from Georgetown University. All have followed their mother to show business. Rhonda gained success as an actress in television movies and daytime soap operas. Tracee was a co-star of the hit UPN sitcom Girlfriends. Chudney is active in behind-the-scenes work and is also a model. Son Ross currently attends New York's Marist College where he is a ski club member, and has not followed his siblings into show business. Youngest son Evan opted to pursue an acting career rather than attend college.
Diana?s brother, Arthur "T-Boy" Ross, was a songwriter for Motown; he co-wrote, ?I Want You?, which was recorded by Marvin Gaye. Arthur and his wife, Patricia Ann Robinson, were murdered in April 1996. They were discovered, bound and gagged, after next door neighbors contacted police regarding a foul odor coming from a run-down house in Oak Park, Michigan, an impoverished suburb bordering Detroit, Michigan. Police estimated that the bodies had been there for several days. The Ross family posted a $25,000 reward for any information related to the murders, but to date, the crime is unsolved. Diana Ross covered the song ?I Want You? on her 2007 album I Love You.
Ross was a close friend and long time mentor of Michael Jackson; she co-starred with him in the 1978 film version of the Broadway musical, The Wiz (a remake of The Wizard of Oz). Jackson once publicly stated he was in love with Ross and wanted to marry her. After Jackson's sudden death on June 25, 2009, Ross was named in his will as the custodian of his children in the event of the death of his mother, Katherine Jackson. Ross was invited to speak at the memorial held in Los Angeles on Tuesday July 7, 2009, but Ross declined via a letter read by Smokey Robinson at the ceremony. Like Jackson's other close friends, Elizabeth Taylor, Quincy Jones, & Liza Minnelli, Ross stated that she wanted to grieve in private.
In popular culture
Ross was portrayed by actress Samantha Kaine in the 2004 VH1 film Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story, a biopic about Michael Jackson.
She was also portrayed by actress Holly Robinson-Peete in the 1992 television mini-series The Jacksons: An American Dream.
In the 2006 film Dreamgirls, Beyonce Knowles' character Deena Jones was based on Ross.
Further information: Diana Ross discography
Top Ten singles
The following singles reached the Top Ten on either the United States Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart or the United Kingdom UK Singles chart.
1970: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (US #1, UK #6)
1970: "Remember Me" (UK #7)
1971: "I'm Still Waiting" (UK #1)
1971: "Surrender" (UK #10)
1973: "Touch Me in the Morning"(US #1, UK #9)
1973: "All Of My Life" (UK #9)
1974: "You Are Everything" (with Marvin Gaye) (UK #5)
1975: "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" (US #1, UK #5)
1976: "Love Hangover" (US #1, UK #10)
1980: "Upside Down" (US #1, UK #2)
1980: "I'm Coming Out" (US #5)
1980: "My Old Piano" (UK #5)
1980: "It's My Turn" (US #9)
1981: "Endless Love" (with Lionel Richie) (US #1, UK #7)
1981: "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" (US #7, UK #4)
1982: "Mirror Mirror" (US #8)
1982: "Work That Body" (UK #7)
1982: "Muscles" (US #10)
1985: "Missing You" (US #10)
1986: "Chain Reaction" (UK #1)
1991: "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" (UK #2)
1992: "One Shining Moment" (UK #10)
1999: "Not Over You Yet" (UK #9)
2005: "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" (with Westlife) (UK #2)
Top Ten albums
The following albums reached the Top Ten on either the United States albums chart...including the R & B charts or the United Kingdom pop albums chart.
1970: Diana Ross (US #1 R&B)
1971: I'm Still Waiting (a/k/a Surrender) (UK #10)
1973: Lady Sings the Blues (US #1)
1973: Touch Me in the Morning (US #5; UK #7)
1973: Diana & Marvin (with Marvin Gaye) (UK #6)
1976: Diana Ross (US #5; UK #4)
1976: Greatest Hits 2 (UK #2)
1979: 20 Golden Greats (UK #2)
1980: diana (US #2)
1981: Endless Love (US #9)
1982: Love Songs (UK #5)
1983: Portrait (UK #8)
1993: One Woman: The Ultimate Collection (UK #1)
1995: Take Me Higher (UK #10)
The T.A.M.I. Show (1964) (w/ The Supremes)
Beach Ball (1965) (w/ The Supremes)
Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
The Wiz (1978)
Double Platinum (1999)
The Making and Meaning of We Are Family (2002) (documentary)
T.C.B. (1968) (w/ The Supremes)
G.I.T. on Broadway (1969) (w/ The Supremes)
The Big Event: An Evening with Diana Ross (1977)
Diana Ross in Concert! (1979)
Standing Room Only: Diana Ross (1981)
Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever (1983)
For One And For All - Diana Ross Live! in Central Park (1983)
Diana Ross: Red Hot Rhythm and Blues (1987)
Diana Ross: Workin' Overtime (1989)
Diana Ross Live! The Lady Sings... Jazz & Blues: Stolen Moments (1992)
Out of Darkness (1994)
Super Bowl XXX (1996)
Double Platinum (1999)
VH1 Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross (2000)
Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope (2005)
BET Awards 2007 (2007)
The Kennedy Center Honors (2007)
Nobel Peace Prize Concert (2008)
(A scrapbook-style collection of photographs)
List of best selling music artists
List of number-one hits (United States)
List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (U.S.)
List of number-one dance hits (United States)
List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart