Diana Ross Marks 25th Career Year
Celebrates with world tour and a TV special on HBO
DIANA ROSS is spending her 25th year in show business on a world tour. ``So far, we've been to 26 countries,'' she notes in an interview. ``When we wrap the concerts in the US, then it's Australia and Japan. The tour winds down the end of this year.'' Ms. Ross sang to an SRO crowd in London's Wembley Stadium, and HBO taped the event. The result - ``HBO World Stage: Diana Ross Working Overtime'' - premi`eres Saturday (10-11 p.m.) and plays throughout the month on the cable network.Skip to next paragraph
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Her tour has been sold out in every stadium and amphitheater, and Ross is loving it.
``I was away for 18 months to have two babies,'' she says with a smile, ``and suddenly there I was - planning this tour, designing my own gowns, selecting songs, and nervously hoping audiences would find me singing better, looking better, entertaining better than ever.''
Her worries were groundless. After 55 albums, an Oscar nomination for ``Lady Sings the Blues,'' and countless Platinum hits, Ross still works with the drive and energy of an Olympian. Her two new records, ``Working Overtime'' and ``Paradise'' make clear that her star quality hasn't diminished.
What has changed is her private life. Almost four years ago, she and her three daughters were vacationing in Bermuda, when the children met two girls their ages and a boy. They turned out to be the children of Norwegian shipping tycoon Arne Naess. On that vacation, Ross and Naess became friends. Five months later, they were married in a civil ceremony in New York.
Ross really had wanted a big wedding with all her friends attending. So the following February, they were remarried in Switzerland. It was a fantasy ceremony: The Norwegian Silver Boys Choir sang; the happy couple cut a chocolate wedding cake; and Stevie Wonder entertained at the reception.
``Life with Arne is so different,'' Ross says. ``He's a mountain climber, a skier, sailor. He can do any sport like a professional. Since meeting him, I've had adventures people do not know about. I never thought this little Detroit girl would ever go to Nepal, climb the Himalayas, or be in the bush country in Africa. In show business, you can get all wrapped up in glitz and glamour. Arne balances my life. These outdoor adventures, which he's constantly introducing to me, make me feel connected with real things.''
TODAY Ross looks back on the first 25 years of her career, and says, ``Life has never been horizontal for me. There are always big leaps, up and down. Whatever happened, always the music was there.
``When we were just kids,'' she continues, speaking of Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and herself, ``we were turned down by Motown, but we just hung around, watched, and made pests of ourselves until they let us record.
``A big turning point was when they named us the Supremes. We had seven No. 1 singles in a row. Going solo was another big step for me. Leaving Motown was another. And now, today, going back to Motown as a part owner of the company is a quantum leap.''
There are some things that haven't changed about Ross, though. She is still slim as a clarinet, determined as a Marine, and as well turned out as a cover girl.