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Diana Ross Biography


Home > Music > R > Ross, Diana > Biography


Birth Name: Diana Ernestine Earle Ross
Born: 1944/03/26
Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Years Active: 1959-present
Genres: Pop, R&B, Soul, Disco, Jazz


Diana Ross (born Diana Ernestine Earle Ross, March 26, 1944) is an American singer and actress. Ross served as lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that included successful ventures into film and Broadway. She received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her 1972 role as Billie Holiday in “Lady Sings the Blues,” for which she won a Golden Globe award. She won awards at the 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.

During the mid-1960s, The Supremes achieved mainstream success with Ross as lead singer. In 1967, Motown president Berry Gordy renamed the group Diana Ross & the Supremes. They were the most commercially successful of Motown's acts and are, to date, America's most successful vocal group with twelve #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

In May 1970, Ross’ debut solo album, “Diana Ross” was released on Motown. The first single, the gospel-influenced waltz, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)", peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album's second single, "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 #1 solo single, "I'm Still Waiting." Several months later, Ross released “Surrender,” which included the Top 20 pop hit, "Remember Me."

In 1973 Ross returned to number-one with the single "Touch Me in the Morning." The album of the same name became her first Top 5 charted pop release.

Later that same year, Ross and fellow Motown star Marvin Gaye released a duet album, “Diana & Marvin.” The duo scored an international hit with their cover of The Stylistics' "You Are Everything."

Ross' 1974 follow-up album, “Last Time I Saw Him,” wasn't as successful despite the success of its country-tinged title track. Two years later Ross ventured into disco with "Love Hangover,” which returned her to number-one. The self-titled parent album became another Top 5 hit and included her previous #1, the movie theme, "Do You Know Where You're Going To (Theme from Mahogany) ."

Ross' subsequent follow-ups, including “Baby It's Me” (1977) and “Ross” (1978) fell off the charts soon after they appeared. Ross did have success with her first Broadway one-woman show, “An Evening with Diana Ross.” Her performance later won her a Tony. She was featured in TV special with the same name. In 1976, Billboard magazine named her the "Female Entertainer of the Century."

Her 1979 album “The Boss” produced the hit title track and the modestly successful "It's My House." In 1980, Ross released her final contractual Motown album, “diana.” That album led to major success with "Upside Down" returning Ross to #1 on the pop charts for the first time since "Love Hangover." Its follow-up, "I'm Coming Out," was as successful and both songs found major success overseas.

In 1981 Ross recorded several songs with Lionel Richie, one of which, "Endless Love", led to the duo having an international #1 hit. Ross's RCA Records debut, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” was issued in October 1981. The album yielded three Top 10 hits including the title track "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" and the single "Mirror Mirror." A third single, "Work That Body", hit the Top Ten in the UK. That success was repeated, if only more modestly, with the 1982 album, “Silk Electric.” Ross' recording of Michael Jackson's "Muscles" gave Ross another top ten hit. Ross' 1983 album, “Ross,” failed to produce any success.

In 1984, Ross' career was revived modestly again with the release of “Swept Away.” The title track became an international hit as did the ballad, "Missing You", which was a tribute to Marvin Gaye, who had died earlier that year. Her 1985 album, “Eaten Alive,” found success overseas with the title track and "Chain Reaction," though neither of the songs found success in America. Ross' 1987 follow-up, “Red Hot Rhythm & Blues,” performed worse.

After returning to Motown, Ross' next album, “Workin' Overtime,” fared poorly. Subsequent follow-ups including “The Force Behind the Power” (1991), “Take Me Higher” (1995) and “Every Day is a New Day”(1999) failed to achieve previous successes.

In 2006 Ross released “I Love You” debuted on the Billboard 200 at 32. It's her highest charting album since “Swept Away” peaked at #26 in 1984. It also reached #16 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and #31 on the Top Internet Albums chart.

The original Supremes were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist on the chart. Ross is 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. Diana Ross has sold more than 150 million records worldwide.