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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 March, 2004, 18:47 GMT
Diana Ross: Diva hits 60
Diana Ross
Diana Ross has become an icon of music

Diana Ross celebrates her 60th birthday on Friday, cementing her reputation as one of music's most enduring divas.

From her humble days in the projects of Detroit, Diana Ross rose to become the forerunner to Girl Power as a member of The Supremes.

But her rise to the top has been a turbulent one, highlighted by her recent stint in jail.

Diana Ross shot to fame as the leader of girl group The Supremes in the 1960s.

Signed to the soul label Motown, The Supremes were formed with Mary Wilson, Barbara Martin and Florence Ballard as The Primettes in 1959.

After Martin's departure, The Supremes went on to become one of the biggest groups of the decade, scoring 12 US number one hits.

In 1967, they changed their name to Diana Ross and The Supremes - leaving no doubt about who had control in the group.

After 1969's single Someday We'll Be Together, Ross left the group, embarking on a solo career.

The 1970s started in style with the release of the soul classic Ain't No Mountain High Enough, then with her starring role as Billie Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues.

Diana Ross
Diana Ross remains a household name
The 1970s also saw her duet with Marvin Gaye on an album and star in more films such as Mahogany and the musical The Wiz, also starring a young Michael Jackson.

She also created column inches thanks to her affair with Gene Simmons, the bass player from glam rock group Kiss.

In 1981, she scored the biggest hit of her career, the Lionel Richie duet Endless Love, starting a decade that saw her chart with the slick Muscles and Chain Reaction, produced by the Bee Gees.

Ross married Arne Naess, a Norwegian shipping magnate, in 1986 following rumours she was to wed Motown founder Berry Gordy.

Acrimony

Diana Ross
Ross (right) with Cindy Birdsong and Mary Wilson in 1970
And in 1994 she famously opened the football World Cup in the US, mis-kicking a penalty in front of a global television audience.

Her marriage to Naess petered out in 1999, but she attended his funeral in 2004 following his death in a mountaineering accident in South Africa.

Ross again made headlines in 1999 after allegedly assaulting a female flight attendant at London's Heathrow Airport after the attendant had tried to conduct a body search before she boarded her flight.

She returned to the US after being cautioned by police. Ross later described her experience as a "day of total humiliation".

A year later, a Supremes tour with Ross as the only original member - her relationship with the others having dissolved into acrimony - folded after disappointing ticket sales.

Jail

In 2002, Ross booked into a rehabilitation clinic in California to deal with long-running battles with drug and alcohol addiction.

And in December that year, she was arrested after a motorist reported a swerving vehicle on roads in Tucson, Arizona.

Ross was later charged with drink-driving and sentenced to 48 hours in prison, served in a police station in February 2004, where she was allegedly allowed to come and go at her will.

The judge who presided over her case took exception to this and has ordered her back to court with the threat of sending her back to prison to serve the time again.

Last year, she announced she was writing her memoirs, which would include details of her arrest and the disastrous Supremes "reunion" tour.

The book - Upside Down: Wrong Turns, Right Turns and the Road Ahead - is due out later this year.


SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Diana Ross at 60
26 Mar 04  |  In Pictures
Diana Ross disputes judge's claim
15 Mar 04  |  Entertainment
Diana Ross to publish memoirs
30 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Diana Ross arrested for drink-driving
31 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
Diana Ross checks into rehab centre
31 May 02  |  Entertainment
Supremes 'reunion' in turmoil
11 Jul 00  |  Entertainment



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