Diana Ross (March 26, 1944- ) is a singer and actress who played Dorothy in the 1978 movie version of The Wiz alongside Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross (no relation). Ross first rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 60s. After leaving the group in 1970, Diana began her solo career that has included successful ventures into film and Broadway.
Ross was soon to claimed to have discovered The Jackson 5 which she didn't. But Ross would introduce the group to several public events including The Hollywood Palace though she added in "Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5", which the Jacksons' father, Joseph Jackson and Berry Gordy didn't appreciate.Diana continues to tour quite rigorously recently completing a 2013 South American tour before embarking on a multi-city U.S. late summer tour launching August 2 in Los Angeles through September 13 in Dallas. Several dates are nearing sellouts.
Even though Diana Ross was too old to play Dorothy when Motown obtained film rights to The Wiz, she landed the role after campaigning to the producer. The script had to undergo an almost complete rewrite to accommodate her. In the movie The Wiz, Dorothy is a kindergarten teacher who's in her 20's whos very shy and doesnt have any friends, all except for her dog Toto. She's living with her aunt and uncle because she's not ready to live alone. But after leaving Oz she has now changed. Unfortunately for Ross, movie critics of the '70s almost universally agreed that her performance failed to capture the youthful spunk of the original Dorothy.
While working on the movie, Ross also recorded a soundtrack titled Diana Ross Sings Songs From The Wiz, in which she sang 15 songs from the musical all by herself. However, when the movie flopped, Motown decided against releasing this record. It remained unavailable to the public until November 2015, when Motown released it online to promote NBC's The Wiz Live!
Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata has interestingly both impersonated Diana Ross, and played Dorothy - but not in the same sketch.