Happy Birthday to Diana Ross, who turns 69 today (March 26th)!!! Ross was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and joined the R&B trio the Primettes in 1959. At the time the Primettes were made up of Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and original member Barbara Martin. After signing to Motown records in 1960, the group changed their name to the Supremes.
Starting in 1964 with "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes," the Supremes scored 33 Top 40 singles, including 12 Number One pop hits. "Someday We'll Be Together" was the group's final Number One, after which Ross left to begin a solo career, which earned her an additional 27 Top 40 hits, including 1970's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," her first solo Number One.
Ross also reached the top of the charts with "Touch Me In The Morning" (1973), "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" (1975), "Love Hangover" (1976), "Upside Down" (1980), and "Endless Love" -- her 1981 duet with Lionel Richie.
She has also had a career as an actress, earning an Academy Award best actress nomination for her role as singer Billie Holiday in Lady Sings The Blues. Her other films included Mahogany, and The Wiz.
Donny Osmond recalled watching Ross whip her band into shape during a mid-'70s soundcheck: "There's a reason why they call her 'The Boss.' In Vegas, I can't remember if I was following her at Caesars or she was following us at Caesars. She was doing rehearsals during the day of our closing night and man she ruled with an iron fist. And you just didn't get in her way. But in a way, I admired it because she commanded the stage. She knew what she wanted (and) nobody would cross her."
Ross says that it took her years to finally become in charge of her career: "Y'know you learn from mistakes. You learn what you have to offer and you try to give that back. And it gives you a little bit of ownership in that way. When you have a little ownership in executive producing, you have more of a voice in how certain things are done. Not that much, but you have somewhat of a voice, and it took me a long time to get to be an executive producer."
She says that despite her many years in the spotlight, she's still a family-oriented person: "Y'know, that's really who I am. I'm in show business, and I know people have a lot of images of what, y'know, all the possibilities of show business are, but I'm a . . . I'm a family-oriented person."
In December 2007 Ross was among the Kennedy Center Honorees, which also included Brian Wilson, Martin Scorsese, Steve Martin, and pianist Leon Fleischer.
Ross' last studio album -- 2007's I Love You -- peaked at Number 32 on the Billboard 200 charts and featured covers of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," Harry Nilsson's "Remember," Bill Withers' "Lovely Day," Heatwave's "Always And Forever," the Drifters' "This Magic Moment," the Beatles' "I Will," Spiral Staircase's "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday," and Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful," among others.
Diana Ross tour dates (subject to change):
August 3 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
August 9 - Boston, MA - Citi PAC Wang Theatre
November 2 - Houston, Texas - Houston Children's Charity Gala at Hyatt Regency Houston
Photo Courtesy of PRPhotos.com