01 May Diana Ross ~ A Talented Woman, Admired and Celebrated
Diana Ross ~ A Talented Woman, Admired and Celebrated
Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944) is an American singer, actress, record producer, philanthropist, trend-setter, designer and more. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown’s most successful act, and are the best charting girl group in US history, as well as one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. The group released a record-setting twelve number-one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, including “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love”, “Come See About Me”, “Stop! In the Name of Love”, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, “Love Child”, and “Someday We’ll Be Together”.
Following her departure from the Supremes in 1970, Ross released her eponymous debut solo album that same year, which contained the Top 20 Pop hit “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and the number-one Pop hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. She later released the album “Touch Me in the Morning” in 1973; its title track reached number 1, as her second solo No. 1 hit. That same year, her album “Lady Sings the Blues”, which was the original soundtrack of her film based on the life of jazz singer Billie Holiday, went to no. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, selling more than 300,000 copies within its first 8 days of release.
By 1976, the Mahogany soundtrack included her third number-one hit, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)”. Her eponymous 1976 album included her fourth number-one hit, “Love Hangover”. In 1979, Ross released the album The Boss.
Her 1980 semi-eponymous album “Diana” reached number 2 on the US Billboard albums chart, and spawned the number-one hit “Upside Down”, and the Top 5 international hit “I’m Coming Out”. Ross’ final single with Motown during her initial run with the company achieved her sixth and final US numberone Pop hit, the duet “Endless Love”, composed for Brooke Shields’ film of the same name, by and performed with Commodores front man, Lionel Richie. Ross and Richie performed the song on the telecast for the 54th Academy Awards, where the song was nominated in the category of “Best Song”. The success of the single launched Richie’s successful solo career.
Ross’ venture into acting, resulted in a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award-nominated performance for her performance in the film Lady Sings the Blues (1972). She also starred in two other feature films, Mahogany (1975) and The Wiz (1978), later acting in the television films Out of Darkness (1994), for which she also was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and Double Platinum (1999).
Ross was named the “Female Entertainer of the Century” by Billboard magazine. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared 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.
In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as member of the Supremes, alongside Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. She received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
She is a 12-time Grammy nominee, never earning a competitive honor, but later became the recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. In December 2016, Billboard magazine named her the 50th most successful dance artist of all time. In Billboard magazine’s Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists chart, she ranked 16th as the lead singer of the Supremes and 26th as a solo artist. In December 2018, Diana Ross consolidated her status as a dance diva by ranking #3 in the Billboard Dance Club Songs Artists year-end chart.
Ross began negotiations to leave Motown at the end of 1980. After over 20 years with the label, Ross received $250,000 as severance. RCA Records offered Ross a $20 million, seven-year recording contract, which gave her complete production control of her albums. Allegedly, before signing onto the label, Ross asked Berry Gordy if he could match RCA’s offer. Gordy stated that doing so was “impossible”. Ross then signed with RCA on May 20, 1981. At the time, Ross’ was music history’s most expensive recording deal.
In 1988, Ross chose to not renew her RCA contract, and 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 the Elder Abuse HOTLINE 1-800-677-1116 sale of the company, Ross was asked to return to the Motown label with the condition that she have shares in the company as a part-owner. Ross accepted the offer.
Ross has been married twice and has five children. In 1965, Ross became romantically involved with Motown CEO Berry Gordy. The relationship lasted several years, resulting 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, who raised Rhonda as his own daughter, despite knowing her true paternity. Ross told Rhonda that Gordy was her biological father when Rhonda was 13 years old. Beforehand, Rhonda referred to Gordy as “Uncle B.B.”
Ross has two daughters with Silberstein, Tracee Joy and Chudney Lane Silberstein, born in 1972 and 1975, respectively. Ross and Silberstein divorced in 1977, and Ross moved to New York City in the early 1980s, after living in Los Angeles since Motown relocated to the area in the early 1970s.
Ross met her second husband, Norwegian shipping magnate Arne Næss Jr., in 1985, and married him the following year. She became stepmother to his three elder children; Katinka, Christoffer, and folk singer Leona Naess. They have two sons together: Ross Arne (born in 1987) and Evan Olav (born in 1988). Ross and Næss divorced in 2000, after press reports revealed that Naess had fathered a child with another woman in Norway. Ross considers Næss the love of her life. Næss fell to his death in a South African mountain climbing accident in 2004. Ross remains close with her three exstepchildren.
Ross has five grandchildren: grandsons Raif-Henok (born in 2009 to Ross’s daughter Rhonda) and Leif (born on June 5, 2016) and Idingo born 2017, to Ross’ son Ross Næss and granddaughters Callaway Lane (born in 2012 to Ross’s daughter Chudney) and Jagger Snow (born in 2015 to Ross’s son Evan). In 2014, singer Ashlee Simpson became Ross’s daughter-in-law, through her marriage to Ross’s son Evan.
In February 2016, Ross resumed her “In the Name of Love” Tour, which began in 2013. On November 22, 2016, Ross was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
On June 30, 2017, Ross headlined the Essence Festival, held annually in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the first time. Daughter Rhonda Ross-Kendrick performed as her mother’s opening act.
On November 19, 2017, Ross received the American Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross performed several of her hits, ending with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, during which she brought all of her grandchildren onstage. Her eldest grandson, eight-year-old Raif-Henok Emmanuel Kendrick, son of Rhonda Ross-Kendrick and husband, Rodney, performed an impromptu dance behind Ross, which gained attention. Ross was then joined onstage by all of her children, their spouses, first ex-husband Robert Ellis, Smokey Robinson (who Diana Ross brought Ross to Motown) and Motown founder, Berry Gordy.
In December 2017, Ross appeared on HSN (the Home Shopping Network) to promote her first fragrance, Diamond Diana. The fragrance sold out within hours. Ross made several hour-long appearances on the network, and also released a tie-in CD retrospective collection of her music entitled Diamond Diana. Diamond Diana peaked at number six on the Billboard R&B Albums chartand number five on its Top Album Sales chart. The CD’s first single release, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough 2017″, remixed by Eric Kupper, reached number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
On February 8, 2018, Ross began a new mini-residency at The Wynn Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. On August 4, 2018, Ross scored another No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Top Dance Chart with “I’m Coming Out/Upside Down 2018″ She performed a song from a to be released compilation Christmas album at Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving parade November 22, 2018
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