Picks and Pans Review: Call Her Miss Ross
When Taraborrelli wrote about Diana Ross in his fawning 1985 book, Diana, he called her "my star." She must not have sent the guy a thank-you note. In this book, an often bitchy unauthorized bio, Taraborrelli writes like a man scorned.
Once the Supremes fan-club president, Taraborrelli writes about the singer's tantrums, excesses (such as buying an airplane seat for one of her gowns), alleged husband-robbing (Smokey Robinson, for instance), stormy romances (Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., Ryan O'Neal) and lifelong failure to get close to family and friends. Servants as well as friends and business associates, Taraborrelli says, must refer to her as "Miss Ross."
Ex-Ross associates are quoted even though, the author says, Ross insists most of her employees sign a "secrecy agreement" forbidding them to discuss her.
Some of Taraborrelli's "facts" might be questioned—he says, for instance, that Michael Jackson once insisted to a chauffeur that he be called "Miss Ross" while driving around Beverly Hills. But Taraborrelli lists an extensive number of sources, and says he did 403 interviews for the book. He is best at providing a behind-the-scenes look at the Motown "family," suggesting that infighting, possible mob involvement, backstabbing and egos out of control were the norm.
Since Ross has yet to write her own book, her side remains untold. One thing is sure: She won't be sending Taraborrelli any thank-you notes this time either. (Birch Lane, $21.95)