Diana Ross

Diana Ross Headshot

Singer • Songwriter • Actress

Birth Date: March 26, 1944

Age: 80 years old

Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan

Partners: Gene Simmons, Berry Gordy

Children: Evan Ross, Tracee Ellis Ross

A superstar for decades, Diana Ross was raised in Detroit. In high school she studied modeling and fashion design and at age 15 she joined the Primettes, the sister act of a male group called the Primes. The Primes evolved into the Temptations, and Berry Gordy signed both groups to his fledgling Motown label.

The Temptations got successful relatively soon but the Primettes, now rechristened the Supremes, didn't do as well: They had seven consecutive flops before scoring a minor hit with "When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes," then flopped again with its followup. But Gordy was particularly invested in Ross's career, later becoming romantically interested in her as well. He made Ross the full-time lead singer, pushing the other two Supremes, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson, further into the background.

The Supremes' ninth single, 1964's "Where Did Our Love Go" was the game-changer: It hit Number One and ushered in a remarkable string of classic singles over rest of the decade, including eleven further Number Ones.  As a black female group with a sophisticated image, they appealed to middle America and subtly advanced the cause of civil rights. The records were groundbreaking as well, absorbing psychedelia on 1967's "Reflections" and addressing controversial topics on 1968-69's "Love Child" and "I'm Living in Shame" (respectively about an illegitimate child and a teenage runaway).

Tellingly the group's name was changed to "Diana Ross & the Supremes" in 1967 (at which time Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong). However success continued until 1969 when they bowed out with another classic single, "Someday We'll Be Together"-which ironically featured session singers in place of the other two Supremes. Gordy's original plan was to groom Diana Ross and the remaining Supremes as separate star vehicles; in fact the Supremes started stronger out of the gate.

"Up the Ladder to the Roof," their first with new singer Jean Terrell, charted higher than Ross's solo debut "Reach Out & Touch Somebody's Hand."  However her followup-a ballad rework of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"-went Number One while the Supremes' hits trailed off. Ross was now developing her career as an all-around entertainer, making her movie debut in 1972's Billie Holiday biopic "Lady Sings the Blues" and playing another dramatic role in 1975's "Mahogany."

However, Motown then threw its movie resources into "The Wiz" (1978), a can't-miss project that did indeed miss, losing $10 million despite Ross and Michael Jackson in starring roles. Though she did more acting over the years, she concentrated largely on music from then on. Notable later singles included 1976's disco hit "Love Hangover," 1980's "I'm Coming Out" (which her gay fanbase took as an anthem), 1981's "Endless Love" with Lionel Richie,  and 1984's "Missing You," a memorial to Marvin Gaye.

A 2000 Supremes reunion tour was less successful; due to behind-the-scenes squabbles she "reunited" only with two women who'd been Supremes after she'd left. She has toured successfully in the 2010's and began a Vegas residency in 2018.

Credits

Live From Detroit: The Concert at Michigan Central

Self
Show
2024

Live From Detroit: The Concert at Michigan Central

Self
Show
2024

The Best of The Ed Sullivan Show

Self
Show
2023

Party at the Palace

Music Performer
Special
2022

Diana Ross: Turn Up The Sunshine

Music Performer
Show
2022

Secrets Of The River Clyde

Self
Show
2021

Keith Haring: Street Art Boy

Self
Show
2020

15 Revolutionary Women in Music

Music Performer
Show
2020

What's My Name: Muhammad AliStream

Actor
Movie
2019
96%

Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration

Music Performer
Show
2019

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards

Music Performer
Show
2019

NBC's New Year's Eve

Music Performer
Show
2018

86th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center

Music Performer
Show
2018

Diana Ross Fragrance Premiere

Guest
Show
2017

2017 American Music Awards

Music Performer
Show
2017

Hit Melody Vintage

Music Performer
Show
2015

Wogan: The Best Of

Guest
Show
2015

Motown at the BBC

Self
Show
2009

Nobel Peace Prize Concert

Music Performer
Show
2008

Scandals of Ancient Egypt

Producer
Show
2008

Scandals of Ancient Egypt

Writer
Show
2008

Körslaget

Music
Show
2008

Diana Ross: Take Me Higher

Music Performer
Show
2008

Westlife feat. Diana Ross: When You Tell Me That You Love Me

Music Performer
Show
2005

An Audience With Diana Ross

Music Performer
Show
1999

Double Platinum

Actor
Olivia King
Movie
1999

Double Platinum

Executive Producer
Movie
1999

Access Hollywood

Guest
News
1996

Inside the Actors Studio

Guest
Talk
1994

Out of Darkness

Actor
Paulie Cooper
Movie
1994

Diana Ross... Red Hot Rhythm & Blues

Actor
Bertie Pickett
Show
1987

The Oprah Winfrey ShowStream

Music Performer
Talk
1986

Diana Ross & Julio Iglesia: All Of You

Music Performer
Show
1984

Diana Ross: Swept Away

Music Performer
Show
1984

Diana Ross: Muscles

Music Performer
Show
1982

Entertainment Tonight

Guest
News
1981

Diana

Actor
Special
1981

Diana Ross: Why Do Fools Fall in Love

Music Performer
Show
1981

The WizStream

Actor
Dorothy
Movie
1978

MahoganyStream

Actor
Tracy
Movie
1975
29%

Diana Ross: Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1973

Music Performer
Show
1973

Lady Sings the Blues

Actor
Billie Holliday
Movie
1972
70%

Lady Sings the Blues

Singer
Movie
1972
70%

Billie Holiday chante le blues

Actor
Movie
1972

G.I.T. on Broadway

Music Performer
Show
1969

The Bing Crosby Special

Guest
Show
1968

Gala du 2ème MIDEM

Music Performer
Show
1968

Tarzan

Guest Star
Sister Therese
Series
1966

Top of the Pops

Music Performer
Series
1964

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonStream

Guest
Talk
1962

The Ed Sullivan ShowStream

Guest
Variety Show
1948

News aboutDiana Ross