Veteran singer was always bound for success

Coming soon is an unauthorized biography that paints Miss Diana Ross as — gasp! — ambitious. According to author Mark Ribowsky, Diana “knew she was on the fast track to stardom the day she got to Motown, and also — on the first day she knew who she wanted to sleep with to keep up the momentum. That, of course, turned out to be Berry Gordy.”

This is hilarious. OF COURSE Diana Ross knew she was going to be a star. Just like Barbra Streisand and Madonna knew they were going to be stars. But there has to be talent to back up steely-eyed bravado. Diana Ross was it. She had the look, the sound, the iron discipline. She didn’t have to sleep with anybody to get where she got.

I’ve always had a feeling that a lot of Miss Ross’ “attitude” has been defensive. She knew people thought she’d gotten her breaks because Berry was infatuated with her. The truth is, Berry Gordy fell in love with her talent. Then he fell in love with the girl.

Eventually, Diana struggled to get away from Berry and Motown, probably to prove to herself — and to others — that she could be a great star without the support of her mogul-lover. (And the secret father of her first child.) She did that.

PERSONAL P.S. I like Diana Ross. I knew her pretty well many years ago, and she was charming; not at all what her image was and came to be. And I have always admired how well she has raised her five children. Five beautiful young people, not one of whom has ever been in trouble. All seem devoted to their mother. I think it says something about the kind of person Diana is under the mask of her stardom and insecurity.

I last saw Diana at Cipriani at the Sherry Netherland Hotel in NYC, where she was at the next table giving an interview. She looked great, though she was without any makeup. “Oh, my God!” she said, laughing, “Don’t you dare write that you saw me like this!” I do dare. I saw her as — a human being. And a very nice one, too.

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At Vincent’s posh salon in the Concourse of Saks Fifth Avenue, I ran into one of the richest, most philanthropic, most attractive and prolific authors in the universe: Barbara Taylor Bradford. She is writing her 25th novel, which we’ll see in the U.S. in October. The new book is “Breaking the Rules” and Barbara has the same youthful anxieties about its success that she has had from her beginnings. This is what is so delightful about Barbara. She has sold 30 million novels worldwide and she’s worried about the latest one.

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THE CAST of “Hair” makes its national TV debut tonight on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”(Diane Paulus, the director of the Broadway revival, will also guide her players on Letterman.) Exactly 40 years ago to the day, in the same studio, the original “Hair” cast members performed on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

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