Diana Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. She began singing with friends as a teenager, and with two of them formed the successful 1960s trio The Supremes. Ross left for a solo career in 1969 and began appearing in films, as well. Despite personal and professional ups and downs, Ross has withstood the test of time as a performer with a career that spans more than four decades.
Singer and actress. Born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. An accomplished performer, Ross began singing in a group with friends Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Barbara Martin as a teenager. Martin eventually dropped out, but the remaining members of the group went on to become the internationally successful 1960s R&B and pop trio, the Supremes (which was later Diana Ross and the Supremes).
Signed to Motown Records by famed record producer and label founder Berry Gordy, Jr., in 1961, the Supremes scored its first number one hit with the song “Where Did Our Love Go?” (1964). In all the trio scored 12 number one hits, including “Stop! In the Name of Love” (1965) and “Someday We Will Be Together” (1969).
Ross left the Supremes for a solo career in 1969 and hit the charts the next year with the songs “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” In 1972, she branched out into acting with the Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues. While the film received mixed reviews, Ross’s performance garnered her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The soundtrack for the film was a huge success and helped spurn on new interest in Holiday. Ross went on to star in several more films, includingMahogany (1975) and The Wiz (1978).
The next decade started out on a strong note for Ross with her album Diana(1980), which contained the hits “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out.” With her new record label MCA, she recorded “Muscles” (1982), written by Michael Jackson, which did well on the charts. Later in the decade, though, her sales began to falter. Still she continued to record and perform and returned to Motown Records near the end of the 1980s. Back with the label that launched her career, she achieved some success with The Force Behind the Power(1991).
In the 1990s, Ross made several appearances on the small screen. She starred in the 1994 television movie, Out of Darkness, playing a woman with schizophrenia. Ross took on lighter fare with Double Platinum (1999), another television movie. She starred as a famous singer who had abandoned her daughter to pursue her career. Brandy, a well-known pop performer, played her daughter. Some of the songs from the project were featured on Ross’ 1999 album, Every Day Is a New Day.
Around this time, Ross experienced some personal difficulties. She got into a dispute with a security guard in 1999 at London’s Heathrow airport and a result was arrested and detained for several hours before being released. The next year she was arrested for driving under the influence and later convicted. Also in 2000, Ross launched a Supremes tour, which was highly criticized for not including original member Mary Wilson or later addition Cindy Birdsong. After experiencing some problems, the tour was eventually cancelled.
In 2007, Ross suffered a great personal loss. Her father, Fred Ross, died in November of that year. “He touched many lives and he will be truly missed,” Diana Ross said in a statement. On tour at the time, she returned home to Detroit to be with her family. A few weeks after her father’s death, Ross honored by the Kennedy Center for her contributions to the arts. Smokey Robinson and actor Terrance Howard were on hand to provide tributes to the singing superstar, and Ciara, Vanessa Williams, and Jordin Sparks paid homage to Ross in song.
Despite her personal and professional ups and downs, Ross has withstood the test of time as a performer with a career that spans more than four decades. She has won several major awards, including a Golden Globe, a Tony Award, and several American Music Awards. Ross was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as part of the Supremes. Not one to rest on her laurels, she continues to delight her fans with new recordings, such as 2006’s I Love You, a collection of love songs. She was awarded for her hard work again in 2007, when she was presented with Black Entertainment Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award and a John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Honors Award. In 2009, Ross jumped back into the limelight when pop icon Michael Jackson named the diva as an alternate guardian for his children.
Ross has been married twice: in 1971 she married music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein, and after their divorce she married Norwegian tycoon Arne Næss Jr. in 1986. She split with Næss in 1999. Diana is the mother of five children: Rhonda Suzanne Silberstein, Tracee Joy Silberstein, Chudney Lane Silberstein, Ross Arne Næss, and Evan Olav Næss.