Diana Ross

  1. Jane Seymour, Live And Let Die, 1973.
  2. Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974.    Diana had the script. Director Francis Coppola told her to see Mean Streets and sign up its maker, Martin Scorsese. She never made the film; Scorsese did, his one andonly film that is not ruled by guys(wise or otherwise).
  3. Barbara Streisand, A Star Is Born, 1976.     Then  again –  after Cher, Liza Minnelli,  Helen Reddy – which hot singer hadn’t been in  the 70s’ mix. 
  4. Barbra Streisand, The Main Event, 1978. Ross left the project after her fling with intended co-star Ryan O’Neal fling was flung. And producer Jon Peters persuaded La Barb, who stayed in his bed, to take over… Rumours insisted La Barb and O’Neal had been lovers earlier in the 70s.  
  5. Brooke Adams, Cuba, 1979.  Adams had a small part in Sean Connery’s previous gig, The Great Train Robbery. Now she was his co-star. All in one year…  Thew good thinking from director Richard Lester came to naught.  Like the film.  “A patchwork,” Sean complained to me in Deauville, France.  “Lester hadn’t done his homework.”
  6. Margaret Avery, The Colour Purple, 1985.    It was inevitable that Steven Spielberg would go to Tina Turner with the script. There was a perfect part for her – jazz singer Shug Avery, described by Chicago critic Roger Ebert as  a pathetic, alcoholic juke-joint singer… who has been ravaged by life yet still has an indestructible beauty.”  She becomes “the prime mover in Celie’s eventual triumph.” Even though Shug’s lesbianism  with Whoopie’s Celie is toned dpwn from Alice Walker’s novel (which Spielberg later regretted doing), Tina passed on the role. So did five other top chanteueses: Lola Falana (First Lady of Las Vegas), Phyllis Hyman (The Sophisticated Lady), Chaka Khan (The Queen of Funk), Patti LaBelle (Godmother of Soul) and Diana Ross (from The Supremes).  They knew the book, they knew  the sex scenes and were not sure they wanted to go there… As for the violence,  Tina, for one, had suffered far too much of that in her own life; enough was enough. . “Her story was too close to my own.” 
  7. Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard, 1992.     “She’s like Diana Ross,” said director Mick Jackson about the leading lady.Well, of course, she was!  Steve McQueen guarding the lissome Diana body was the initial casting for future director Lawrence Kasdan’s first script in 1975. “It took two years for my agent to sell the script,” said Kasdan, “and 67 people passed on it, many of whom are still big names in the business.” [He has the list of names framed in his office hall], Hewrote it for McQueen, then re-wrote with John Boorman- for Diana and Ryan O’Neal. “But that never happened, either. Costner had read it while we were doing Silverado, before he was a star, and said: “I really want to make this movie.” Six years later, we both produced it.”


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  7