150 Newsmakers: 50: Diana Ross, Motown superstar


Our staff amassed a list of the 150 Michiganians who most affected the news, history and our lives − for better or worse − in the 150 years of The Detroit News, ranked from 150 to 1 (Read the FAQ on our selection process here). Here are our picks, one a day through our birthday on Aug. 23.

50: Diana Ross, Motown superstar 1944-present

Motown diva Diana Ross brings her 'More Today Than Yesterday' tour to the Fox Theatre. May 29, 2010, Detroit, Mi.

Diana Ross became a singing sensation as the lead member of the vocal group The Supremes, the most successful Motown ensemble during the 1960s and among the best-selling all-female acts ever. She left The Supremes in 1970 for a solo career that debuted with the iconic hit “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough.” She was a superstar pioneer, mounting elaborate concert performances  that included singing and dancing for her world tours. Ross, born in Detroit, attended Cass Tech high school, where at age 15 she formed the musical group the Primettes with Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. Her neighbor, singer Smokey Robinson,  got the group an audition with Motown, and they were signed by Berry Gordy in in 1961. Ross is also an accomplished actress and received a special Tony award. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 with the Supremes and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

▶ About The News:About The News: 150 Detroit News facts in 150 days

51: Philip Hart, U.S. senator (1912-1976)

Former U.S Sen. Philip Hart in 1969.

Phil Hart served as Michigan senator from 1959 until his death from cancer in 1976. Hart was born in Pennsylvania and came to Detroit on his marriage to Jane Briggs, daughter of former Detroit TIgers owner Walter Briggs and an aviator who became the first female helicopter pilot in Michigan. Hart, who was awarded the Bronze Star in World War II, practiced law in Detroit and became active in Democratic politics. In 1958 he defeated Republican incumbent Charles Potter to win his first Senate term. As a senator, he was a champion of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights act, and a steadfast advocate for the common man. Hart was the lead sponsor of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended discrimination in immigration quotas.His integrity and commitment earned him the moniker “Conscience of the Senate.” Hart’s colleagues honored him by naming a Senate office building in his honor.

52: Eminem, rapper, Oscar winner (1972-present)

Eminem performs during the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
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