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Michael Jackson and Diana Ross

“Diana Ross has told me that people in show business can get hurt. I don’t see how, to tell the truth. Maybe one day I will, but I kinda doubt it”

When Hatcher later became the city’s first black mayor, he rewarded the Jacksons by spotlighting them at a 1968 civic “Soul Weekend” starring Diana Ross and the Supremes. “He won me over the first moment I saw him,” Ross told NEWSWEEK in 1970. “I saw so much of myself as a child in Michael. He was performing all the time. That’s the way I was. He could be my son.” She convinced her boss, Berry Gordy, to audition the group for his legendary Motown label.

Diana Ross makes me happy! She’s still very involved in our career and visits us whenever she can. She’s like a sister to us!

Pete Bennett, Promoter, On The Transfer From Motown to Epic, 1975, (July 2nd 2009

“Joe Jackson signed the contract to CBS, the Jacksons were threatened by their label not to go to Epic/Columbia and even Diana Ross was calling him up – calling Michael every day telling him don’t sign don’t sign, don’t go to Columbia. You’re gonna get in a lot of trouble, things like that.

Michael’s affiliation with… Diana Ross, Diana Ross was close to Michael. But Diana Ross, Michael always admired Diana Ross, he loved Diana Ross. They were very good good friends. He idolized Diana Ross. You know, for advice and things like that. I would say.”

Michael spends a great deal of time with the birds. He even draws pictures of them, at least one of which he has given to his good friend Diana Ross.

And speaking of likes, his tastes in a potential wife are succinct and to the point: “I would like for her to be nice and kind. That’s important.”

Michael is in NYC to rehearse and film his first movie The Wiz, with Diana Ross as his co-star.

Universal Pictures holds a press conference at Astoria Studios in Queens ( New York ) to announce the making of The Wiz. Michael attends the event with Diana Ross, Nipsey Russel and Ted Ross.

Motown was still searching for a house to rent for the family, so it put Joe, Jack, and the boys in temporary accommodations. I was amazed to hear those temporary accommodations happened to be the Hollywood Hills home of Diana Ross. Diana and the boys became attached immediately.

MARLON: The time spent at Diana’s was one of the best times of my life; we got to do whatever we wanted to do. Diana was a kid in some ways, too.

We’d just tear up. Boy, we had fun! Diana, Michael, and I would go swimming all day. To encourage our interest art, she bought paint supplies, including several easels that she set up in the living room.

But more often than not, our painting sessions would turn into big paint fights. We really did a number on her white shag carpet.

[...]

As “I Want You Back” was being released in October, the Jackson Five made their network TV debut on “The Hollywood Palace.” The guest host was none other than Diana Ross, making her farewell appearance with the Supremes. I watched with baited breath from my living room in Gary, with LaToya, Randy, and Janet at my side.

After she and the Supremes opened the show with a melody from the Broadway musical Hair, Diana took the microphone.

“It’s wonderful to return as your hostess,” she said, “especially tonight, when I have the pleasure of introducing a great young star who has been in the business all of his life. He has worked with his family, and when he sings and dances, he lights up the stage. Here he is, Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five!”

[...]

The kids were inside. After we got through hugging and kissing, they turned and said, “Mother, we want you to meet Diana Ross.”

Diana, who happened to be visiting, approached me.

“I’m so happy to meet you,” she said. “Your children have talked so much about you.” Then she hugged and kissed me, too.

[...]

When Diana Ross was named to play Dorothy, Michael had further incentive to land a role in the movie; he’d been in love with her ever since he and his brothers had been her houseguests. “You’re not pretty until you start looking like Diana!” he would tease LaToya and Janet.

The fact that we were still being sued by Motown at the time did make Michael wonder about his chances of winning a part in The Wiz. But with Diana’s encouragement he went ahead and auditioned in front of director Sidney Lumet for the role of the Scarecrow. To Michael’s delight, Mr. Lumet loved his audition and chose him for the part.

[...]

Diana Ross was a big support throughout the shooting. Michael referred to her as “my mama” on the set. She made a habit of checking in on him in his dressing room each morning. However, there were some moments during the dance rehearsals when Diana was probably pretty upset with Michael. Michael learned his dance moves so fast from the choreographer that he wound up unintentionally showing up everyone else, including Diana.

“Michael, wait a minute!” she’d have to tell him. “Don’t do it so fast. You’re making me look silly!”

Another, though much less serious, problem occurred during filming of the movie. In one scene the Scarecrow had to pick up Dorothy, who had fainted. Michael later recalled the rather humorous incident: “the funniest thing was a scene we were doing on the rooftop. Diana was supposed to faint, and I had to pick her up. But she was too heavy. I kept puffing away on the dialogue while I tried over and over again to lift her, until I finally made it.”

One person Michael isn’t new to is Diana Ross who plays the lead role of Dorothy. What’s it like to be working with her again?

“I love it, she’s a great lady, a special lady.”

Diana Ross, while filming The Wiz, was asked to Michael Jackson’s apartment in New York and stayed the night.

One of Diana’s assistants said he had been trying to get hold of both of them all morning as they were late for filming. He said that he eventually got hold of them on the phone and was surprised to find they were in his apartment and that she had apparently spent the night there.

When this assistant asked Michael if anything had happened between them, Michael said, “you’d have to ask her that,” and when he asked Diana, she told him he needed to ask Michael.

Later on during the shoot Diana was apparently overheard talking to some girlfriends of hers and said to one of them, “Well, I’ll tell you one thing, Michael definitely isn’t gay.”

The movie gave Michael a chance to team up with an old friend, the legendary and beautiful, Diana Ross.

“Diana looked after us a lot when we first started. She and I became good friends. I used to stay with her whenever we’d come up to New York. She got me interested in drawing and all kinds of things.

“One of the nicest things that happened on the movie set was when she brought her daughter and all her school class onto the movie set.

“We had such a great time. Even though she spent almost the entire afternoon trying to bite off the huge false nose I had to wear for the part.”

Michael’s gullibility about sex worried Colomby so much that one day he took him upstairs to one of the small, second-storey offices at Cherokee Studios for a man-to-man talk. “Michael,” he started, “you’re a young man. You’re about to get out there in the world and meet a lot of people–a lot of women. And you might run into some interesting situations. Sometimes it’s difficult for you to go to your parents or your brothers and talk about those kind of things. But I want you to know that I’m there for you. That any time you need a friend, in any kind of situation, I’ll help you.” Michael smiles. He was touched. “God, that is so sweet of you,” he said. “But I already have someone I confide in like that.” “Oh, great,” Colomby replied, mildly surprised. “Can I ask who?” “Diana Ross” Michael replied.

Michael attends the premiere & opening night party of the movie The Wiz at the Pitt’s Century Plaza Theater in Century City (Los Angeles) with the Jackson family & Diana Ross among others.

Her supporters on the set included Michael Jackson, 20, a protégé of Diana’s ever since his family Five began. “She’s so beautiful, inside and out,” he gushes, “and she can talk about anything: jewelry, hairstyles, est.” Then there was a new admirer, Wiz director Sidney Lumet, who declares that “watching Diana is like watching this supernova exploding—she’s stunning.” But, admirers aside, there’s no romance in her life. Diana hasn’t had a strong, steady pair of arms since the divorce. “I had a lovely marriage,” she says. “When you find someone that you can enjoy a lot of the same pleasures with—even if it’s sitting in front of the television late at night with a big sandwich—it’s terrific. Those pleasures I miss.”

Randy says that Michael is very excited with the Wiz. “He loved it. He knows and loves Diana and that made it so much easier for him. She’s like a sister. He loved the original film and loved the play. He saw it when he didn’t know he was going to do the movie. He saw it about thirteen times.”

On whether he has any close friends

“There are a lot of people I like, and I think they like me, but only time will tell whether our friendships are really true ones, close ones. Diana Ross and I have some deep, deep conversations at times-especially on the phone, because I’m much deeper in conversation on the phone than I am in person.”

One of Mills’ disappointments, although she’d rather not talk about it, is the fact that Diana Ross got the movie role in “Wiz,” a role that she wanted very, very badly.

“I visited the Wiz set,” Mills is saying, trying to sound cheerful and not succeeding, “and Diana asked me if I was bitter that she was there and I was just passing through,” she recollects. Ross, by innuendo, made her feel even worse. “She told me that if she didn’t get Wiz that Melba Moore or Lola Falana were next in line.”

[EXPAND Michael speaks about how he wanted copies of photos made for Diana, "Before He Was King", Todd Gray, photos taken in 1980 ]

We arranged to do this shoot of Michael in the Presidential Suite of the Peach Tree Hotel in Atlanta in the late afternoon, the time photographers call the “magic hour,” when the light casts a warm glow and the angle of the sun creates deep shadows. Throughout the session, Michael tended to look away from the camera and directly into the lens, and he only smiled once of twice during the forty-five-minute shoot. We barely spoke to one another, not wanting to break the spell. I made minimal hand gestures to direct him, and I would nod and hum approvingly when I was sure I got something special.

Later, when I showed him the proof sheets of the photo session, he ordered two large prints of every picture, which was highly unusual. Typically, if someone orders one or two pictures from a session, it’s considered a success. I was blown away. “Two of every single one? That’s about 144 prints… Michael answered, “Yes, I can count. I want one set for myself and one for Diana [Ross]. Todd, this is magic.”[/EXPAND]

Melody Maker, March 1, 1980

“Every day [Diana Ross] would stop in my room and ask me if I wanted anything. She’s a real, real mother. We met her when we auditioned for Berry Gordy at his mansion in Detroit — and it’s really a mansion. You think everything seemed big to you when you were a little kid because you were small, but we were back there on the last tour and — ooh — it’s still huge. It’s got everything — an indoor pool, a bowling alley, a gold course — and we auditioned at the pololside. Diana came over and told us how much she loved us and wanted to play a big part in our career. So she introduced us to the public. Our first hit album was called ‘Diana Ross Presentes The Jackson Five.’

When we came out with ‘Destiny,’ which was our first album writing all the songs and producing ourselves, she told us she’s proud of what we’re doing. She told me: to be with Motown or not be with Motown, she’ll always be here for us when we need her.

She checked in on me today. She’s in New York and she heard I was in hospital — I don’t know what made her think so — and I got a message that she wants me to call her. She really cares.

How much help and influence did you get from Diana Ross in those early days?

“Diana was – and still is – like a overseer for the whole group. As well as Berry Gordy – they were the two. You know, Berry has only ever managed two groups in the whole Motown history – the Supremes and the Jackson 5. But when we auditioned for Berry in Detroit, Diana came over when we were finished and she kissed and said that we were going to go a long, long way and that she wanted to be a part of it – and that’s what she did. In the things we have done together – such as “The Wiz” or the MTV specials – she been for us 100% and making sure that everything was done for us that could be done.

So she is someone very special to you?

MJ: Very!

Michael attends the American Music Awards with Diana Ross as his date for the evening.

During a Diana Ross concert in Los Angeles, Michael gets on stage to sing Upside Down with her.

CBS airs a Diana Ross’s TV Special featuring Michael. Together, they perform Rock With You & Ease On Down The Road (with Quincy Jones on the piano)

Diana, Toledo Blade – Mar 1, 1981

“It would be nice to have somebody to share my life,” says Diana, “somebody who is mine. I really don’t like transit affairs – I can’t stand that.

“I want a family relationship, but a lot of men get really scared of that. They’re afraid of getting tied up, trapped.”

Diana’s steady date and lover for the past year has been Gene Simmons for the rock group KISS. She took up with him after being introduced by Cher… soon after Cher gave him up.

But there are problems.

For one thing, Simmons won’t go out in public without a mask and, of course, he appears on stage only with full face makeup, usually with his tongue extended.

Complains Diana: “When I went to the Golden Globes, I wanted Gene to come with me, but he couldn’t go, because it’s a big deal about his face and everything.”

Keeping covered started as a gimmick for Simmons, but now, according to Diana, it has grown into much more.

“His ego has nothing to do with showing his face. He wanted very much to go with me to the American Music Awards and thought of sitting in the back, but we knew there would be problems.

“So again, that left me without a date. So I took Steve Binder (a television producer). Sometimes, Michael Jackson and I end up being dates.”

She sighs, stretching on the sofa like a cat, her slender limbs sheathed in a satin jump suit.

Alright Michael, so just what’s all this about you and Diana Ross?

He looks to the floor and flounders a bit.

“We’re just good friends.”

My Michael Jackson Encounters,

One afternoon I was backstage as Diana Ross was rehearing for a special I was assigned to. I felt someone come up from behind, and there were three black guys. It was Michael with his two brothers. I can’t tell you which of his brothers, because I was absolutely mesmerized by the quiet, unassuming Michael who greeted Diana with a hug, as I stood just ten feet away.

I couldn’t say anything to him, because I was shocked he was there. It was surprise to everyone. He turned around, and we caught one another’s eyes. He smiled. I smiled back, and just like that he was gone.

Michael attend the Academy Awards with Diana Ross and then they go to an after party where he meets and befriends actress Brooke Shields.

October, 1982

BC: You worked with Diana Ross…
MJ: Only very special people. I mean, Diana’s like a mother-lover-friend to me. She’s wonderful. I just produced and edited her next single, Muscles.
BC: Did you write the lyrics, too?
MJ: Lyrics, Music – I just finished that and it should be coming out at the end of this month.

Regarding the “mother-lover-friend” comment, in January 1977 Diana Ross gave an interview to People where she refereed to Berry Gordy as her, “father, mother, brother, sister, lover.” At the time it wasn’t public knowledge that she and Berry had had an affair together years earlier.

Moowalk re: Muscles 1982

“That song fulfilled a lifelong dream of returning some of the many favors she’s done for me. I have always loved Diana and looked up to her. Muscles, by the way, is the name of my snake.”

It includes the lyrics; “Let this be, we’ve got this thing made/Lost at sea, hide the desert/Stay with me, you won’t regret it/Take this love, so deep to swim in/Come to me, and let the love in.”

For instance in 1983 at the Los Angeles opening of the musical “Dreamgirls,” Entertainment Tonight reporter Catherine Mann waylaid Jackson at the post-show party. When Mann asked Jackson what he thought of the show, he replied: “It was the most incredible play I’ve ever seen. It’s brilliant. Everybody should see it.”

Asked how close it was to the true story of the Supremes, he said, “Boy, I’d hate to comment on that ’cause Diana Ross is a very dear friend of mine. So I better not say anything.”

Asked when he might tell Ross about the show, he said, “Actually she told me to see it for her. She did.”

But it’s Diana with whom Michael confides his “deepest, darkest secrets.”

“They have a friendship as genuine as any I’ve seen,” says Bob giraldi, director of his ‘beat it’ and ‘Billie jean’ videos in addition to Ross’ flashy video. “on set Diana would say, ‘what would Michael think of this?’ Michael would say, ‘what would Diana do with this?’”

Of course one of my best friends in the world is Diana Ross. She’s a good friend, a very dear friend. She’s the kind of person I can tell anything to- the most private of secrets! And she tells me her secrets as well. Sometimes I tell her I’m going to marry her. Our relationship goes on forever.

Diana Ross says of her good friend, “Sometimes even I’m stunned at how he can be so shy. He’ll hide, talk like this (she whispers) — then you let him on stage — and and he turns into this sexy, macho thing. I try to get him to step out socially, to get a little more out of himself. He spends too much time by himself.”

Diana Ross, Jackson’s close friend and mentor since their days together on the Motown label, then came up to present the award and Jackson blew her a kiss.

@3:05 Michael Mania TV Special, AMA 1984

Diana: “He’s a very special kid and he’s grown up. I tried to get him to take his sunglasses off, he wouldn’t. But he’s very shy you know and he’s a star.”

Branca said Jackson wanted to thank his friends and fans “for the love, flowers, telegrams and support they have been sending him… He especially wants to thank his dear friends Jane Fonda, Brooke Shields, Diana Ross, Yul Brynner, Liza Minnelli, John Travolta, Quincy Jones and Paul McCartney.”

Jet 6 Feb, 1984

During the interview, Michael made these observations about:
Diana Ross: his lasting inspiration: “To me, she is a peacock… That’s what she is. She has so many colors. She’s not only a singer. She’s a philosopher. She teaches you all kinds of things. She told me to forget about the business side of business because we’re friends and that’s what counts.”

RO/CLASS: Did the Wiz’s failure disappoint you?
Jackson: I was sorry. Sorry for Diana, me, all of us. But that seems so long ago, now.

RO/CLASS: Are you and Diana Ross still extremely close?
Jackson: Always. She’s my best friend. I love her.

“Then, of course, there was always Diana Ross, his ‘mother-lover-friend’ as he often described her. There are two persistent rumours surrounding Michael and his relationship with Diana, only one of which seems at all plausible. One is that he is none other than her son (despite the fact that they only looked alike after his nose surgery). The other is that she initiated him into manhood before he “slipped away entirely”. Whatever the truth, Michael clearly has a very strong attachment to her, and she to him, though her expressed knowledge of him isn’t as thorough or intimate as one might expect: “Michael has a lot of people around him but he’s very afraid. I don’t know why. I think it came from the early days.” Genuine ignorance of him, or polite evasion of the question?”

He’s also very close to Diana Ross but he isn’t obsessed with her.

Diana Ross says her favorite time with Jackson is their private moments.”When I’m with him, I try to give him exactly what he needs-a little peace and the feeling that he is loved and that he can trust you”, she said by the phone from New York.

”I also try not to talk about any of the things that other people would talk to him about. I bring up our little trips together or his love of art of his sketching and ask where he is with that.”

“I care for Michael but I don’t worry about him. I think sometimes that he’s got angels on his shoulders to protect him.

He spends a lot of time — too much — by himself. I try to get him out. I rented a boat and took my children and Michael on a cruise and he loved it. He has so many people around him but he’s still afraid, especially to be alone at night. I don’t know why but he’s always been very cut off and distanced. When you get to be a star from age six and never knew any normal teenage life, when you were just used to the limousines and the tour buses, I guess it is understandable.”

Michael writes the first draft of Dirty Diana in 1983, updates it in 1985 and finishes writing it in 1986.

All of Sun Valley was atwitter, having Michael Jackson amongst them for the holidays (as Diana Ross’s houseguest). Another Sun Valley duet: . Barbra Streisand and new beau, Richard Baskin.

Song written by Michael with Barry and Maurice Gibb – two of the
Bee Gees.

Originally written, and registered in March 1985, by Barry and Maurice
Gibb. Michael heard their demo and felt it needed something else;
Barry offered to share credit with Michael, if he wanted to supply what he thought was missing. Michael agreed and a second demo – recorded by Michael – was registered in July, with the note, ‘words and music in the choruses have been completely rewritten’.

Both demo versions, recorded in Los Angeles, remain unreleased.
Recorded by Diana Ross in mid 1985 in Los Angeles, with Michael and
the Gibb brothers on backing vocals, for her album of the same title,
issued in September 1985.

Produced by Michael with Barry Gibb, Karl Richardson and Albhy
Galuten. Michael was present during the recording of the instrumental
tracks, and judged whether they were suitable by dancing to them in the studio. He also supervised the mixing, settling on one that Galuten wasn’t too happy with.

A song co-written and including vocals from Michael, which includes the lyrics; “One flick of my tongue changes/The meaning of the world… Gotta do her, crawl all over me/You can rip my shirt, drag me in the dirt/I will be your slave, anything you say/I don’t ever wanna be, eaten alive.”

According to Adrian Grant’s book, Michael showed up half way through the AMA 86 ceremonies with Liz Taylor. Diana had already gotten married to Naess in a private ceremony in Oct ’85 and her public wedding in Switzerland was to be in Feb ’86. MJ apparently cancels his attendance at the public wedding at the last minute and doesn’t attend.

Michael Jackson was truly heartbroken that Diana Ross planned to marry Arne Naess, and would later say that he was particularly hurt that she hadn’t even introduced him to Arne, especially since they were already man and wife. “I was jealous because I’ve always loved Diana Ross and I always will.”

Pepsi Official Will Never Forget Evening With Mike, 1986

Michael asked if we would like a tour of the house. Bubbles went back in his cage while the rest of us began the tour with the room next to Michael’s bedroom – the Diana Ross shrine.

With a convex ceiling and white brick walls, the room looked like a wine cellar. Every square inch was covered with photos of Diana Ross from her earliest years with the Supremes. On shelves, tables and the floor were hundred of candles that Michael kept burning 24/7 to “honor his friend.” We were speechless.

Bono said that he and Michael talked about girls and family.

Sam got a surprise reaction to the the Mary Wilson book. He recalls, “Being that we were on the train for five hours, and we spent a lot of time waiting. I pulled a book out of my bag. It was the new Mary Wilson book, Dreamgirl. I asked Michael if he would write something in the book for me. When I handed the book to him he looked almost shocked. Michael said, “Are you reading this book?” He said, “I won’t read this book. Mary is so jealous of Diana. You should have seen her at the Motown 25th special…” “He just went on and on recounting, as if I were there.” Sam recalls, “So I jokingly said to him that I knew just what he was talking about, I spoke to Diana last night. She said to tell you Hi… and we both laughed about that.”

Diana Ross, who had become a second mother to Jackson, reportedly asked him to make an appearance on her TV show. He declined and the frost set in. He did not even attend her wedding to a Norwegian shipping magnate.

You’ll hit the charts just as Diana Ross and the Supremes did.” This was almost unheard of in those days, but he was right; we turned around and did just that. Three in a row.

So Diana didn’t find us first, but I don’t think we’ll ever be able to repay Diana properly for all she did for us in those days. When we finally moved to Southern California, we actually lived with Diana and stayed with her for more than a year on a part-time basis. Some of us lived with Berry Gordy and some of us with Diana, and then we would switch. She was so wonderful, mothering us and making us feel right at home. She really helped take care of us for at least a year and a half while my parents closed up the Gary house and looked for a house we could all live in here in California. It was great for us because Berry and Diana lived on the same street in Beverly Hills. We could walk up to Berry’s house and then go back to Diana’s. Most of the time I’d spend the day at Diana’s and the night at Berry’s.

This was an important period in my life because Diana loved art and encouraged me to appreciate it too. She took the time to educate me about it. We’d go out almost every day, just the two of us, and buy pencils and paint. When we weren’t drawing or painting, we’d go to museums. She introduced me to the works of the great artists like Michelangelo and Degas and that was the start of my lifelong interest in art. She really taught me a great deal. It was so new to me and exciting. It was really different from what I was used to doing, which was living and breathing music, rehearsing day in and day out. You wouldn’t think a big star like Diana would take the time to teach a kid to paint, to give him an education in art, but she did and I loved her for it. I still do. I’m crazy about her. She was my mother, my lover, and my sister all combined in one amazing person.

[...]

Once “I Want You Back” came out, everyone at Motown prepared us for success. Diana loved it and presented us at a big-name Hollywood discotheque, where she had us playing in a comfortable party atmosphere like at Berry’s. Following directly on the heels of Diana’s event came an invitation to play at the “Miss Black America” telecast. Being on the show would enable us to give people a preview of our record and our show. After we got the invitation, my brothers and I remembered our disappointment at not getting to go to New York to do our first TV show because Motown had called. Now we were going to do our first TV show and we were with Motown. Life was very good. Diana, of course, put the cherry on top. She was going to host “The Hollywood Palace,” and big Saturday night show; it would be her last appearance with the Supremes and the first major exposure for us. This meant a lot to Motown, because by then they had decided that our new album would be called “Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5.” Never before had a superstar like Diana passed the torch to a bunch of kids. Motown, Diana, and five kids from Gary, Indiana, were all pretty excited. By then “I Want You Back” had come out, and Berry was proven right again; all the stations that played Sly and the Beatles were playing us, too.

[...]

I was already a devoted fan of film and animation by the time “The Jackson Five” Saturday morning cartoon show started appearing over network television in 1971. Diana Ross had enhanced my appreciation of animation when she taught me to draw, but being a cartoon character pushed me over the brink into a full-time love of the movies and the kind of animated motion pictures pioneered by Walt Disney. I have such admiration for Mr. Disney and what he accomplished with the help of so many talented artists. When I think about the joy he and his company have brought to millions of children – and adults – the world over, I am in awe.

[...]

Motown bought The Wiz for one reason, and as far as I was concerned, it was the best reason possible: Diana Ross.

Diana was close to Berry Gordy and had her loyalties to him and to Motown, but she did not forget us just because our records now had a different label on them. We had been in touch throughout the changes, and she had even met up with us in Las Vegas, where she gave us tips during our run there. Diana was going to play Dorothy, and since it was the only part that was definitely cast, she encouraged me to audition. She also assured me that Motown would not keep me from getting a part just to spite me or my family. She would make sure of that if she had to, but she didn’t think she’d have to.

She didn’t. It was Berry Gordy who said he hoped I’d audition for The Wiz .

[...]

When we were doing The Wiz , I was being instructed in the choreography along with my characters – the Tin Man, the Lion, and Diana Ross – and they were getting mad at me. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong until Diana took me aside and told me that I was embarrassing her. I just stared at her. Embarrassing Diana Ross? Me? She said she knew I wasn’t aware of it, but I was learning the dances much too quickly. It was embarrassing for her and the others, who just couldn’t learn steps as soon as they saw the choreographer do them. She said he’d show us something and I’d just go out there and do it. When he asked the others to do it, it took them longer to learn. We laughed about it, but I tried to make the ease with which I learned my steps less obvious.

[...]

The problems on the set were really few and far between and it was great working with Diana so closely. She’s such a beautiful, talented woman. Doing this movie together was very special for me. I love her very much. I have always loved her very much.

[...]

I still enjoy seeing The Wiz and reliving the experience. I am especially fond of the scene where Diana asks, “What am I afraid of? Don’t know what I’m made of . . .” because I’ve felt that way many times, even during the good moments of my life. She sings about overcoming fear and walking straight and tall. She knows and the audience knows that no threat of danger can hold her back.

[...]

Diana’s singing and dancing and acting have stayed with me ever since. She was a perfect Dorothy. After the evil witch had been defeated, the sheer joy of our dancing took over. To dance with Diana in that movie was like an abridged version of my own story – my knock-kneed walk and “bigfoot” spin were me in my early days; our tabletop dance in the sweatshop scene was where we were right then.

[...]

[Tatum and I] developed into a real close relationship. I fell in love with her (and she with me) and we were very close for a long time. Eventually the relationship transcended into a good friendship. We still talk now and then, and I guess you’d have to say she was my first love – after Diana. When I heard Diana Ross was getting married, I was happy for her because I knew it would make her very joyous. Still, it was hard for me, because I had to walk around pretending to be overwhelmed that Diana was getting married to this man I’d never met. I wanted her to be happy, but I have to admit that I was a bit hurt and a little jealous because I’ve always loved Diana and always will. [/EXPAND]

1988

Interviewer: (Diana) Ross discovered the Jacksons when you were only 10. Are you still close?

Michael: Yes, very close. When we don’t see each other, we talk on the phone. She’s in Connecticut with her Norweigen husband, Arne Naess and their baby son a lot of the time.

Interviewer: There’s an expectation that the two of you will record together again.

Michael: I’ve written songs for Diana, but we haven’t been able to sing together for some time. We sing in spirit; we’re always together.

Interviewer: Another Disneyland is due to be built near Paris, where your friend Diana Ross has bought a home. There have been rumours you’ve considered doing the same.

Michael: Both good reasons to live there but i have no plans to move to France.

Includes the lyric, “Ain’t No Mountain I Can’t Climb, Baby”… One of Diana Ross’ biggest hits was the song, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Chico apparently developed a crush on me, leading Diana to speculate about us becoming a couple. I really liked him but thought of him more as a brother. Michael would tease, ”Guess what Diana said today:’Latoya is so right for Chico. I wish those two would get together, because he’s a little wild, He needs somebody like her.”’ Michael, a brilliant mimic, imitated Diana’s voice and manner, which was always hilarious to watch.

But all turned out fine. Michael, tit-for-tat, dandled Diana Ross on his lap before Madonna returned and joined him for a grand exit.

“Stevie has never shut me out,” she says. But Michael (Jackson)-when he wants to see me, he sees me; when he doesn’t he kind of close the door. There’s no reaching him, there’s no finding him, there’s no anything. He’s just this illusive love out there. Somebody you care about, want to protect in a strange kind of way, feeling motherly toward him, but at the same time you can’t reach him and don’t know where he is. But Stevie’s always been there for me and really special.”

KING: You had such a long relationship with Michael Jackson back when he was a young recording star. There are rumors that he changed his looks to look like you. How do you describe Michael Jackson – Diana Ross? What is that?

DIANA ROSS, SINGER: You see, we actually love each other. And he is like one of my children. When he started his career, I introduced him on their very first television show, which was the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

And then I had my own television special at that time. And I introduced them, the Jackson Five, on the television special.

And I took a special interest in him. And we were very close.

When the boys came from Indiana, they stayed with me in my house in California, and I was their house mother. And I took care of them until their parents came. So we just built a relationship in the early days.

And then he went on to have his own career, which he’s very, very talented. And he became so very, very successful. Just like skyrocketed, the whole family, actually.

KING: Are you as close now?

ROSS: Not as close now. I don’t get to see him very much. And that’s because, again, my life has just gone in a different direction. I live in Europe a lot of time with my husband.

And so it’s just that we don’t see each other half as much as I would like to see him. I did see him maybe a couple months ago and introduced him to my sons, my boys. And my little one, Evan, loves music and wants to look like Michael Jackson.

KING:
Do you think he wants to look like you? Do you buy that?

ROSS:
No, I don’t buy that at all.

G: Tell me something, you know what? you told me before that you’re the loneliest person

M: I am!

G: Then how can you be that way when there’s so many people..

M: ‘Cause I don’t love those people like that! I want to be with someone…I want to know what a relationship is all about before I die, cant you understand that girl?… I never had.. I mean I’ve been with Tate.. I’ve been, well not with.. I been with Tate..I thought I was with Diana.. it was just in my own mind..

G: You were a little boy..

M: I know, I have never had a real relationship, my brothers have been married… My brothers have had girlfriends. I really haven’t had that….

G: How long did it take you to get over Diana?

M: Years. A HELL of a long time. I just wanna know what it’s like girl, to have a real relationship with someone who doesn’t want me for me… that I dont, I don’t have to look over my shoulder all the time…

G: Who doesn’t have an ulterior motive..?

M: Yeah, that doesn’t question me. I mean (inaudible) I dont… and, and… like La Toya said in her book… she said, either I am going to have to find somebody who doesn’t know who the heck I am or deal with somebody who’s career is equally as important, or equally like mine.

G: Well, a nix to both of those.

M: What am I gonna do? I don’t want to die without knowing about… having a real relationship with a women or being involved…

[...]

M: Like living with Diane. They tell you what to say, what not to say. The lies I had to tell. Um. Diana. Diana discovered the Jacksons. That wasn’t true. She did not discover us. But it’s publicity. It’s pretend.

S- Who discovered you really?

M- Bobby Taylor and we went to a party and, uh, Gladys Knight. Diana, Diane had nothin’ to do with it.

S- I guess she was just the big name at the time huh?

Michael dedicates his single, Remember The Time to her.

“Dedicated With Love to Diana Ross”.

Michael Jackson’s Bodyguard on DWT, Bravo Magazine, (pb 93)

Michael would be nervous only when he knows in the crowd there are some of his friends. Example- in Oslo, I noticed he never grabbed his crotch, he only placed his hand on the thigh. Later, I found out that Diana Ross was with her kids watching.

Name-checked in his video for the song, “Who Is It”

Oprah: What kind of woman makes you…in the video we’re going to see later, we premier the world video, there’s a line where you talk about being quenched. So what kind of person does that for you?

Michael: [Sings] Quench my desire … Well Brooke, I’ve always liked her and when I was little I used to stay with Diana Ross, me and my brother stayed with her for years and I never said, but I always had a crush on her.

Oprah: You did?

Michael: Yes.

I have always known Michael to be a decent, sweet and loving person who wants very much to make a difference in the world by helping others, especially children. He cares about animals and nature, and he believes that with a positive attitude we can have whatever we want. He would like to produce and direct, and I believe that he will have those opportunities. Whatever he does I hope that he never stops making his beautiful music.

Michael was about eleven when we met. He was artistic, a quality that he and I shared. I remember that we used to go out to buy paints and easels and we did artwork together. He was always wonderful to be around. I am pleased that I touched him in the early days of his life, and I am sad now I don’t have time to see him more often and to know him better. Careers have a way of separating people. Whether we are together or apart, my love for him never stops. It makes me happy that at one time we were close and that he cares for me. My love for him remains very dear, and our friendship will always be very important to me.

“When the Jackson 5 first came to California, they all moved in with me. They have always been good to me. Despite the negative things that have been written about them, I knew them to be a unique family. People have picked them apart and gossiped about what they did or didn’t do, but in my eyes Michael’s mother is a very special and loving woman. The strength in those Jackson kids exists because of the strength and character of their father. Parenting is never easy. If you’re too hard, you lose the kids; if you’re too easy, you also lose them. Some fathers just have to be tough. Maybe if he hadn’t been tough, the kids would never have arrived where they are today. Maybe the Jackson children will grow up to be very fine parents as a result of their own tough upbringing. I would like very much to see Michael settle down with a family of his own.”

“It was at this meeting that they told me they were considering Michael Jackson for the role of the Scarecrow, Dorothy’s first friend along the path, who is looking for his brain, or deeper knowledge. I was enthusiastic. I thought it would be wonderful for Michael and me to work together. Michael and I were pretty close during that time. We spoke on the phone every couple of days and usually saw each other about once a week, when our careers permitted. Even though this would be Michael’s very first acting role, I told them that I considered him an ideal choice. His personality suited the role, he was a superb dancer and there was a great deal of dancing designed for this lavish musical production, and we were already very close friends.”
Quote:

“…but Michael’s makeup was a different story.It was probably the most difficult of anyone’s in the film, and it certainly took the most time to apply. I remember seeing poor little Michael, he was very young and inexperienced then, sitting there every morning for hours and hours, having his makeup painstakingly done and redone. And then there was the added difficulty of removing it every night, a process that must have been quite damaging to his skin, a possible source for the severe skin problems that he is presently experiencing and doesn’t want to speak about.”

Regis an Kathy Lee, December 1993

Q: One more movie now, The Wiz. The Wiz with the great cast, let’s see, Russel of course, Michael Jackson. Now Michael, you knew him since he was a little little boy.
DR: Yes, yes. Since he was about 8 or 9.
Q: So many people are now claiming that they discovered the Jacksons, what was your relationship with him?
DR: I think Berry Gordy discovered them at a step. I think I gave them an opportunity on my television specials to be introduced to the American audience. And they were really young then.
Q: They came and lived with you for a while too, didn’t they?
DR: I had a place in California, they were moving from their home to California, so they stayed with me for a while. Michael’s very creative. And you know, this is a family in trouble right now.
Q: Does it break your heart to see what’s happening?
DR: Yes, yes. All the support. I saw the family on television the other night and I just sat there and I just felt the pain. And I know they’re trying very hard to pull together. It’s a family in trouble and they need our prayers, for the right thing to happen really.
Q: Have you been in touch with him personally?
DR: Yes, I did. I’ve spoken to them twice.
Q: And he’s getting the help he needs you think?
DR: I hope so. I’m not sure, see, I have been away from Michael’s life for quite some time. So I don’t know all the people that he has surrounding him or what-
Q: That’s a big problem isn’t it…
DR: – Well, I heard his mother say, ‘I can sleep better at night.’ I didn’t understand what she meant then, you know through that interview the other night.

Ross flatly refused to discuss her friend Michael Jackson and his troubles. But did say:

I’m about as famous as I would like to be. I wouldn’t want to be any more famous. I wouldn’t like to be Madonna, or Michael or Whitney, because I can have a life. I can walk on the streets, I can take my kids to the school, I can drive my cars. I think they have a difficult time having a normal, balanced life.’ ‘

It’s a strange life. When I leave all of that…”She waves a hand at the racks of stage costumes, the lavish buffet, the flowers, the cases full of makeup. “I mean, when i go home and go to bed–by myself–it’s confusing.”

For some performers, that confusion can pose serious adjustment problems. This worries her about her very dear friend Michael Jackson, who missed out not only on normal teen years but on a childhood as well. He has been the featured player since he was old enough to tie his shoes, never knew the inside of a school bus, and watched cartoon shows from the back seats of limousines. He was only ten when as part of the Jackson Five he came to live in Diana’s Hollywood home once Motown moved west. By the time he was twenty-four he had written for her and produced her single, “Muscles”.

“It was weird, she says, “but I had to force him into being the dominant one when I was singing his song ‘Muscles’. One night in the studio he said, ‘I just can’t. I can’t tell you what to do.’ And I said, ‘You’re the man. You’re the boss on this one.’ I know him so well. But sometimes even I’m stunned at how he can be so shy. He’ll hide, he’ll talk like this”–she lowers her voice to a halting whisper–”then you let him onstage and he turns into this sexy, macho thing. Offstage I try to get him to step out socially, to get a little more out of himself. He spends a lot of time, to much time by himself.”

She asked him to go see Dreamgirls for her and give her a report. She tries to coax him to Connecticut for quite weekends. Once, when she was really concerned, she rented a yacht and took Michael and her daughters sailing in the Caribbean. On the boat he was like one of her children, running across the decks, playing hide-and-seek. Over dinner he was her friend and confidant.

MICHAEL JACKSON

“We don’t get to speak as often as we used to. Careers have a way of separating people. Whether we are together or apart, our friendship will always be very important to me, whatever he chooses to do with his life. I’ve always wanted to see Michael settle down with a family of his own, and now it seems that he has done that.”

Motown songbird Diana Ross brought her two youngest sons to visit ailing Michael Jackson yesterday, even as bulging plastic bags of Warner Bros. gifts and a huge statue were trundled into the star’s sickroom.

Michael makes a break in the Ghost shooting to attend the World Music Awards in. At the end of the ceremony he gets on stage to hug Diana Ross. Diana Ross sits on his lap during her performance of, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” singing the words, “If you need me/call me/no matter where you are/no matter how far,” to him.

After the show a reporter catches up and fires some quick questions at him:

“Michael, you got to see Diana again.”
MJ: (Inaudible?) I love her dearly.”

Superstar Diana Ross says she has now lost touch with Michael Jackson – who was once her young soul- mate on the legendary Motown label. Ross, a stunning 52 admits: “I care deeply about Michael as I’ve known him since he was really a child. But I never see him these days I only read what you read in the papers about him. I guess it’s true that he’s having a baby. I know he loves children.”

Diana Ross is one of the people present to induct him into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame.

Diana Ross and Arne Naess announce their separation.

Included in the Japanese release is a song entitled, “Drop The Mask,” which includes the lyrics; “I was there when it all began/ I still remember the boy within the man/ I understand what it means to run and hide/
There’s so much that we’re holding onto deep down inside.”

Diana Ross, Time, May 17, 1999

Recently Ross received a phone call from a friend–Michael Jackson–who was also working on a new album. “Late, late at night I get a call: ‘Hello, Diana?’ I said, ‘Michael, is that you?’ He said he was working on an album, and the album would be out sometime in the year 2000.”

“Dish Diva” : From judydee2 at dianarossandthesupre mes.net: My friend Joe is Diana’s greatest fan! We are traveling all the way from London to Las Vegas just to see your show on 5th August. This question is for all of you What is the furthest you would travel to see your favourite star and who would that be?

DianaAndSupremes : Diana: I don’t know how far I would travel to see a performer but I just traveled to London to see a special award for being courageous. So I think I would travel for something like that, saving someone, and other good causes. I was under a lot of pressure that day and I remember that they were giving this honor to people who have done something courageous and we make our parents, policemen that save people’s lives, teachers, as our role model. I know that my teacher, parents, sister have been my heros. I think I would travel miles to do the things that Princess Di did. Go to hospitals to give small children stuffed animals that don’t have anything. For me, I love performers, but where I’m at in my life, I want to be the voice of those people who can’t speak for themselves. I’d love to see Michael Jackson perform, but I’d rather be with a girl in a wheel chair collecting money to save other people’s life.

Michael visiting record shop, Sometime after 2000,

At one point when we had taken him down to the basement to look through all of the junk, he turned and asked me, “Do you like Diana Ross and the Supremes’ music?” I said that I did and I asked him what his favorite song was by them. He said “Stop In the Name of Love”, I think. I told him that mine was “I Hear A Symphony”, and he said that he loved that one, too. He said he thought it was a shame that their reunion tour that was supposed to happen didn’t because they couldn’t get along.

Q. Have you ever considered the possibility if Michael should die, what would happen to the children?
A. I’m sure he’s – he has a wonderful person in mind to take care of them.

(On March 22nd 2002 he drafted a will leaving his children to Diana Ross should anything happen to his mother)

Diana Ross credits herself for kick-starting Michael Jackson’s love of art – because he became her constant companion on trips to New York art galleries when he was just a boy.

Jackson and his brothers lived with Ross while she was trying to break them on TV shows and in the studio.

She says, “I got him interested in artists like Degas and Michelangelo and I bought him paints. I used to get him to draw all over my walls. He’s a great artist.”

And that wasn’t the only thing Jackson was good at: “I taught the Jackson brothers how to take care of themselves and made sure each of them had a chore to do. Michael would do the dishes.”

Is joined on stage by Diana Ross during a performance of Heal The World, during a Democratic National Committee’s Every Vote Counts Campaign Party.

Q:You played Diana Ross’s agent in Double Platinum.

A: The things she told me about Michael Jackson, I will take to my grave. It wasn’t terrible things – just a few things I didn’t know.

“Diana Ross, I loved you during the early years and I love you even more today. I love you.”

BBC News, 10 Feb, 2004

The 1970s also saw her duetting with Marvin Gaye on an album, starring in more films such as Mahogany and the musical The Wiz, also starring a young Michael Jackson – who she was rumoured to have had an affair with.

Diana Ross, November 8, 2004

She voices her support for the embattled singer, now awaiting trial on seven felony counts of child molestation:

“I know what’s going on in the media, and until they prove he’s done something wrong, I just like the fact that other performers and most artists are still supporting him and what he’s done in the music industry, because he’s done so much.

“I heard Usher on an awards show; he really gave credit to Michael, and I appreciate it so much. Michael’s music was authentic, sincere and very important.”

AK: The one thing I have found as a performer traveling around so much is that there will be times when I’m talking on the phone, talking to my friends, talking some business, and talking, and talking, and talking, then when it’s time to go onstage, my voice is tired.

DR: That’s why I write notes to people sometimes, when I just need to be quiet. There’s something you just said that made me think of Michael Jackson. I used to talk to Michael on the phone all the time. I haven’t talked to him for years now, but he always used to ask me questions about how to make this whole show-business thing work .

When asked if she was still in contact with Michael Jackson following his acquittal in his child abuse trial, Ross replied: “I am sure Michael is in a quiet place, recording music… but, no, I have not been in contact with him for some time now.”

The album cover looks like an homage to Michael’s “Invincible” cover. It also includes a cover of one of Michael’s favourite songs, “Smile.”

Where in the world was Michael Jackson?

One would think the King of Pop would have jumped at the chance to pay
tribute to Diana Ross at Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors.

But no, Ross’ onetime best buddy and costar in the movie musical The Wiz decided not to take part, according to an insider.

While I had heard rumblings that producers ditched plans for Jackson to appear because accommodating him would have been a logistical nightmare, I’m told they were willing to make it work.

Now, I’m told Jackson declined the offer to attend.

Still, Ross probably wasn’t too worried about it. Ciara, Jordin Sparks, Lyle Lovett—not to mention Ross’ five children, including Girlfriends star Tracee Ellis Ross—were all in attendance to celebrate the event.

MICHAEL JACKSON ended his life mentoring the son of the soul icon who mentored him – he was working on EVAN ROSS’ breakthrough album.

Just two hours before Jackson’s death on Thursday (25Jun09), Diana Ross’ son sat down with WENN to discuss his upcoming movie

Life Is Hot In Cracktown – but talk quickly turned to his music career.

The 20 year old admitted he was keen to complete upcoming movie projects so he could finish an album he was working on – and revealed he was working with the pop superstar and his mum.

He says, “I’m more focused on acting right now. The music will come. I just don’t want to push it. I’m writing with a lot of different people like Michael (Jackson) on this. It’s R’n'B mixed with a Prince urban vibe.

28th June, 2009

Distraught Motown queen Diana Ross yesterday paid tribute to Michael, sobbing: “I am unable to imagine this.”

The 65-year-old diva – a mentor when he was a child star and one of his closest friends – said: “I can’t stop crying. This is all too sudden and shocking.”

The ex Supremes singer starred with teen-aged Michael in a 1977 Wizard of Oz remake called The Wiz. She played Dorothy alongside his Scarecrow and it was Michael’s first collaboration with hit producer Quincy Jones. Diana added: “I am in prayer for his kids and the family.”

“I think it’s very interesting. There’s been a long, close relationship with Michael and Diana for many, many years. And I think it’s great.”

Emil Wilbekin, CNN, July, 2009

“You see skits from variety shows where they are doing Frank Sinatra songs and Casablanca,” Emil Wilbekin, managing editor of Essence.com and a founding member of Vibe magazine under Quincy Jones told CNN.

“Although she was older than Michael, they had a real connection and that connection, I think, and that friendship really moved throughout his career.”

That friendship was something of a motherly love on Ross’ part and an idolization from Jackson, according to Wilbekin. And the bond they formed could explain why Jackson chose her to care for his kids, if his mother could not, Wilbekin said.

Ross raised five children of her own who grew up to become extremely “normal and successful children of a superstar,” Wilbekin said.

“The other thing interesting about Diana and Michael’s relationship: They both were a part of groups, they both ended up eclipsing their groups, so they had a shared experience that nobody else could really realize,” he said. “I think in that they had a very special bond.”

“The point that nobody has brought up — Diana Ross happens to be a phenomenal mother. [Her kids are] kind of balanced, normal celebrity kids. And I think that’s the part people aren’t really looking at,” Wilbekin said.

While some people may have been surprised another Jackson family member didn’t follow Katherine Jackson in the will, Wilbekin said he believes that by picking Diana Ross, “he named someone who was super-responsible.”

And because Jackson’s children, have been growing up in the limelight because of their father, he may have wanted someone familiar with that, Wilbekin said.

“That just shows Michael’s foresight, his emotional wisdom and his ultimate love for his family and protecting them,” he said. “These are not normal kids, they did not live a normal life, and she totally completely understands that.”

“I am trying to find closure, I want you to know that even though I am not there at the Staples Center. I am there in my heart. I have decided to pause and be silent. This feels right for me. Michael was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my world, part of the fabric of my life in a way that I can’t seem to find words to express.

“Michael wanted me to be there for his children, and I will be there if they ever need me. I hope, today brings closure for all those who loved him. Thank you Katherine and Joe for sharing your son with the world and with me. I send my love and condolences to the Jackson family.”

He had a star quality, even as an 8-year-old. He was such a lovable individual. If you were backstage, you saw the women who happened to be on the same show, and they just kind of adopted Michael. They were always hugging and kissing and rubbing him — it went on and on, more than almost any other kid could possibly bear. I’m sure Michael got tired of it, but he never complained. They were all over him. As time went on, he sort of fell in love with Diana Ross —her music and her singing — and I think it was mutual. She fell in love with him also. He was still only 9 or 10.

Singing legend Diana Ross is slamming the rumors that she is in a feud with the Jackson family mother Katherine, and is calling the gossip that the two are at odds over custody over Michael Jackson’s children “ridiculous.” Diana was named in Jackson’s will as an alternative guardian for the children if his mother Katherine was unable to care for them. The decision was unpopular among Jackson family members who have challenged the will, which was drawn up in 2002. Jackson’s sister LaToya told reporters, “We believe there is another will which will emerge. He updated his will almost every five years, so we expect one to come from 2007. Michael always told us that he wanted his eldest sister, Rebbie Jackson, to look after the children. Rebbie had a nice family, which Michael loved. He told many family members that she was his choice.” Despite the media reports, Ross is still insisting that there is no bitterness between her and the Jackson family. A spokesperson for the star says, “Ms. Ross has deep love for the Jackson family.”

Evan Ross celebrated his 21st birthday at Guys and Dolls in Los Angeles, CA on Friday (August 28) with a Michael Jackson themed party. Evan was joined by mom and longtime friend of MJ, The Magnificent Diana Ross, and sisters Tracee Ellis Ross and Chudney. In honor of MJ, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to Michael first before singing the celebratory song to baby MJ Evan. Sources report, Ms. Ross then sang her son’s favorite MJ song to him from Jackson’s, Off The Wall album

Inside the front cover of her tour book: “My tour is dedicated to the memory of Michael Jackson. I love you Michael.”

First show:

“I’m dedicating my tour this year to my dear friend Michael Jackson, I loved him dearly. Every single word of this song is true.” She went on to perform a medley of Jackson’s hits, including the track You Are Not Alone.

When the picture of them together with his arms around her waist came up, she turned around and walked up the stairs to the top and stood in front and sang two lines from the song, “I Love You” – “I love you/And that’s all that really matters/Yes, that’s all that really matters.” Then the stage went dark.

Almost a year after Michael Jackson‘s tragic death, his three children stepped out on Wednesday night to attend Diana Ross‘ concert in Los Angeles during which the singer paid tribute to Jackson, RadarOnline.com has learned.

“The reason I did this concert for one night is to pay tribute to my friend Michael Jackson,” Diana said at the end of her performance at the Nokia theater. “His children are in the audience,” Ross said and the crowd thundered with applause for the three children. Prince, 13, Paris, 12, and Blanket, 8, were seated next to Barry Gordy, the legendary founder of Motown records.

Q.One of Michael’s strongest influences was Diana Ross, who befriended him when The Jackson 5 first joined Motown. He adored her. You worked for many years with Diana-did she ever talk about Michael?

A.I did most of Diana’s photography for about a ten-year period, before the Thriller video was made. She would periodically speak of Michael in a very warm way. She had real admiration and affection for him -her eyes would light up every time that she spoke of him.

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