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Although the name on her birth certificate was Diana, her parents christened her “Diane,” and her family and friends called her Diane for the first two decades of her life. After Ross became a professional singer with the Supremes, she went by the name “Diana.”
On January 14, 1970, Diana Ross gave her final concert with the Supremes at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.
She is the mother of the actress/singer Rhonda Ross Kendrick (her first child), actress Tracee Ellis Ross (her second child), and TV producer Chudney Ross (her third child). She had Rhonda with Motown founder Berry Gordy, and her other two daughters with then-husband Robert Silberstein. She also had two sons with her second husband, Arne Naess Jr.: Ross and Evan. The latter is an actor/musician who performs under the name Evan Ross.
In 1972, 2 years after going solo, she made her film debut as Billie Holiday in the biopic Lady Sings the Blues. She received an Oscar nomination for her performance, and the film soundtrack went to US #1.
In the ’70s, she appeared in 2 more films: Mahogany(1975; playing Tracy Chambers/Mahogany) and The Wiz(1978; playing Dorothy). After a while, it was obvious that her music career would always be stronger than her acting career. In 1994, she branched away from music for a while to play a mentally ill drug addict in the telefilm Out of Darkness.
On December 30, 2002 in Tucson, Arizona, she was pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence. She was charged with three misdemeanor DUIs.
In 2016, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Ross was nominated several times for Grammy awards but her only wins were in association with the 1985 charity single “We Are The World,” which took home Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
She was close friends with her former Motown labelmate Michael Jackson. The pair starred in The Wiz together and recorded the duet “Ease On Down The Road” for the movie. Jackson also wrote and produced Ross’ Top 10 hit “Muscles” in 1982.
Their relationship spawned a bizarre tabloid rumor claiming Jackson was really the secret love child of Ross and Smokey Robinson. Jackson actually wanted Ross to be mother to his own kids: when he died in 2009, his will stated Ross as a secondary guardian for his three children in the event that his mother, Katherine Jackson, died first.
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