Picks and Pans Review: Diana
by J. Randy Taraborrelli
Yes. She's clearly the Boss. (Sorry, Springsteen and Jagger fans—Diana Ross claimed the title long before Bruce was a big name anywhere except in New Jersey and before Mick ever thought of going solo.) In Diana, you'll see and read—mostly see—why the singer-actress continues to fascinate her public more than 20 years after launching her career. The singer's rise from a poor, skinny girl in Detroit's Brewster projects to a skinny but rich woman living the life of high glitz is effectively chronicled in more than 125 photographs. They show how she evolved from a nondescript teenager to the remarkable symbol of elegance she has become. The text, by a sappily star-struck entertainment writer who refers to Ross as "my star," is much less enlightening. The book is crammed with trivia. For example, a hospital clerical error changed her name from Diane. Taraborrelli traces the Supremes' breakup, the sad life of Florence Ballard, the original Supreme who died from a blood clot in an artery in 1976, and the making of Ross' films, Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany and The Wiz. But his account of the Broadway show Dreamgirls, the mere mention of which, the author says, "ruffles Diana's feathers," does not note that she sang a song from the show at her 1983 Central Park concert. There is little that is authorized about this biography. Taraborrelli never interviewed Ross; all her quotes are taken from previously published articles. Even at that distance he manages to gush all over her. (Dolphin, $29.95)
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