The original diva queen, Diana Ross just turned 73!
To look at her you would never believe it. She remains as sexy and classy as she did when she began her career in the 1960s.
Before Beyoncé, before Jennifer Lopez, before Mariah Carey, there was Diana Ross. She has inspired legions of singing divas to follow in her footsteps. Some would argue she is still superior to them all, even at her age.
So to celebrate the magnificent achievement of Ross’s 73rd birthday, we have compiled a list of facts about her career. Some of them you may even struggle to believe!
1. Diana Ross Originally wanted to be a Fashion Designer
Diana Ross originally wished to become a fashion designer. While still at school she studied courses such as seamstress skills, millinery, design, and pattern marking. She also studied cosmetology and modeling.
Ross used her skills when she started with her girl group. She designed and made all of their costumes. She also acted as the hairstylist and makeup artist.
Later she would release a film called “Mahogany” which told the story of a woman who went to Rome and rose to fame as a fashion designer.
2. Diana Ross is an Award Winning Actress
The first film Ross took part in saw her nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award. She stunned audiences with her role in “Lady Sings The Blues“, based on Billie Holliday. Holliday is one of Ross’s greatest inspirations, and she felt honored to portray her.
The next film she starred in, “Mahogany” didn’t do quite so well. However, later in 1976 stage show “An Evening with Diana Ross” toured on Broadway. It also became an Emmy Award-winning 90-minute television special.
She also received nominations for a Double Platinum and Golden Globe Award for her role in the television film “Out of Darkness“. She also appeared in “The Wiz“.
3. Diana Ross suffered Anorexia Nervosa
Ross disclosed that she had suffered from anorexia nervosa in her autobiography “Secrets of a Sparrow“. She explained how during the late 60s her manager Berry Gordy worked her very hard.
Gordy saw how lucrative her talents were, and he began to push her into the limelight as the lead singer of the Supremes. Ultimately he paved the way for her solo career.
The pressure to keep up with these demands caused Ross to develop a deadly eating disorder. Footage of the Supremes from the 60s shows how slight and ill she really was.
4. Diana Ross had a Private Audience with Japanese Royalty
Ross made history when she toured Japan in 1973. She became the first entertainer in Japanese history to receive an invitation to the Imperial Palace. Empress Nagako requested that she give her a private show.
Normally, Japanese monarchs reserve private audiences for distinguished individuals in service fields. These usually include innovative teachers, doctors, scientists and social welfare advocates.
By inviting Ross, the Japanese royal family recognized the value of distinguished individuals in the arts.
5. Diana Ross has a Guinness Book of World Records Listing
In 1993, Ross achieved a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. The organization named her within its prestigious tome for her immense international successful.
Ross had managed to total 70 hit singles between 1963 and 1993 in the United Kingdom and the United States. This was more than any other female artist had achieved in history.
She truly is the queen of all the divas with such a record!
6. Diana Ross made Michael Jackson Famous
In 1971, Ross starred in a solo television special called “Diana!“. She chose to feature the family singing group “Jackson 5“.
This propelled the group into mega stardom. And of course subsequently propelled Michael Jackson into the position of “King of Pop“.
During her 1980 live performance of “Upside Down“, she called Jackson on stage to perform with her. When she introduced him she stated how she saw her success as a tunnel for the success of others. She also referred to Jackson as “my baby”.
They also starred together in the cult film called “The Wiz“.
7. Beyoncé played her in a Movie
In 2006, Beyoncé Knowles played a character that was fairly accurately based on Diana Ross, in the film “Dreamgirls“.
The storyline was purposefully altered to avoid litigation. However, it was truly a magnificent tribute to Ross’s time with the Supremes. The clothing and the hairstyles all matched what they had worn.
Initially, Ross joked that she would only see the film if she took lawyers with her. But she laughed it off and spoke of how blessed she was to be a channel for success to future talented artists.