Diana Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan, a well known singer, record producer and actress. She began singing with friends as a teenager, and with two of them forming the successful 1960s trio The Supremes. Ross left for a solo career in 1969 and began appearing in films, as well.
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 successful act and is to this day America’s most successful vocal group.
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 1972, her soundtrack to her film debut, Lady Sings the Blues, became her only number-one album, eventually selling two million copies. Ross scored her second number-one single in 1973 with the ballad, “Touch Me in the Morning”.
Later that year, Motown issued Diana & Marvin, a duet album with fellow Motown artist Marvin Gaye. The album became a hit overseas, eventually being certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry for shipments of 100,000 copies. Ross toured throughout 1973 and 1974 in North America and abroad.
In 1980, Ross issued her best-selling album to date, diana, which featured her fifth number-one hit “Upside Down” and the top ten single, “I’m Coming Out”. A year later, she scored her sixth and final number-one single in the duet ballad, “Endless Love”, featuring Lionel Richie.
As Ross planned to leave Motown, she hired an attorney who saw that Ross had only $300,000 to her name despite making millions of dollars for the label.
Her career spiked again in 1984 with the release of ‘Swept Away’ which included a tribute to Marvin Gaye entitled ‘Missing You’. Her 1986 album ‘Eaten Alive’ enjoyed success with the single ‘Chain Reaction’ but ‘The Force behind the Power’ (1991), ‘Take Me Higher’ (1995) and ‘Every Day is a New Day’ were not as successful.
In January 1986, Ross had married billionaire Norwegian shipping magnate Arne Naess and they had sons Ross in 1987 and Evan in 1988. They divorced in 2000.
In 1988, when the Supremes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ross declined to attend, leaving Wilson and Ballard’s youngest daughter, Lisa, to accept on behalf of the group.
Although Wilson’s solo records have not been successful, she continues to perform around the world. In January 1991 Wilson was injured and the youngest of her three children, Pedro Ferrer, was killed in a car accident. In the wake of that accident, she and Ross reconciled.
Ross received a 2000 Heroes Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). The award is said to be the highest distinction bestowed by the New York Chapter.