Like Diana Ross, Whitney Houston made a successful leap from singing to acting. While Ross earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in 1972’s “Lady Sings the Blues,” Houston starred in one of the most successful love stories of all time, “The Bodyguard,” co-starring Kevin Costner. Reportedly, the script had originally been written for Diana Ross and Ryan O’Neal.
Diana Ross comes to Columbus
By CHRIS BOURNEA
COLUMBUS OHIO -- Diana Ross will bring her tour to the Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St. in downtown Columbus, on Sept. 27 at 8 p.m.
With a legendary career that spans four decades, Ross is one of the few recording artists to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one as a solo artist and the other as a member of The Supremes. In December 2007, she received a prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Honors Award and in 2009 she received a Lifetime Achievement honor at the BET Awards.
Ross has undeniably blazed a trail for many of the African-American female entertainers who came after her. While there will always be one and only Diana Ross, the following is a look at some of the younger “divas” who have been influenced by her:
Whitney Houston – Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when Houston was topping the charts, comparisons to Diana Ross were inevitable. Like Ross, Houston projected an image of class and glamour and had a pop-friendly sound that had major crossover appeal.
Like Ross, Houston made a successful leap from singing to acting. While Ross earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in 1972’s “Lady Sings the Blues,” Houston starred in one of the most successful love stories of all time, “The Bodyguard,” co-starring Kevin Costner. Reportedly, the script had originally been written for Diana Ross and Ryan O’Neal.
Whether Whitney will be able to make a lasting comeback and enjoy the longevity of “Ms. Ross,” who continues to tour the world at age 67, remains to be seen.
Mariah Carey – After bursting onto the scene as a fresh-faced 20-year-old in 1990, Carey racked up a string of hits. Releasing albums back to back for nearly 20 consecutive years, Carey eventually tied Ross’ record of 18 No. 1 singles (as a solo artist and with the Supremes) in 2007 when “Touch My Body” topped the charts.
Following Ross’ lead, Carey transitioned into acting. “Glitter,” Carey’s 2001 movie debut, became an infamous flop. Carey later redeemed herself with a series of small roles in independent films, most notably as an empathetic social worker in the Academy Award-nominated drama “Precious” in 2009.
Also like Ross, Carey developed a romantic relationship with a powerful record mogul who gave her her first big break. Just as Diana Ross became the love interest of the late Motown founder Berry Gordy, Carey married Sony president Tommy Mottola, whom she divorced in 1997.
As a new mom of twins with current husband Nick Cannon, Carey is focusing on family for the time being. But it’s likely that she’ll return to singing at some point and has already carved a place in music history, just like Diana Ross.
Beyonce – The 30-year-old superstar has much in common with Diana Ross. Like Ross, Beyonce Knowles started out as the lead singer of a girl group that quickly became popular but eventually disbanded after changing members. Beyonce and her Destiny’s Child bandmates definitely owe a debt of gratitude to Diana Ross and the Supremes for paving the way.
Since branching out as a solo star, Beyonce’s star has continued to rise. Not only does she continue to top the charts, including with her new album “Four,” but she’s an in-demand actress as well. In fact, Beyonce portrayed a character based on Diana Ross in “Dreamgirls.”
Beyonce, who is expecting her first child with husband Jay-Z, will hopefully do as well at balancing her personal life with work as has Ms. Ross, who is the nurturing mother of five adult children and is now a grandmother.
For tickets and more information about Diana Ross’ upcoming show at the Ohio Theatre, visit any Ticketmaster outlet.