By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
In Diana's tell-nothing memoir Scent of a Sparrow, the diva neglects to mention that her first child, Rhonda, was not fathered by her first husband but by Berry Gordy Jr.--a juicy tidbit she leaked while plugging the book on Oprah several weeks after its publication. Must've just forgot.
7. DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU'RE TALKING TO?
After receiving a complaint from a guest about her hotel's engineering department, Leona fired the first engineering employee who answered the phone. When the aghast employee informed her he wasn't even on duty, the Queen responded, "I'm sure you're a very nice person, but I never go back on my decisions. You're fired anyway!"
Diana, relaxing in a steam room where she had just done a photo shoot, bellowed to two women sitting near her, "Hey, you. Get me a glass of water." To which the women--who were patrons of the spa, not employees--replied, "Get it yourself, you black bitch!"
8. YOU CAN'T HURRY LOYALTY
In a span of six months, a Helmsley house manager recalls training 15 butlers, all of whom quit because of Leona's incessant screaming.
In a five-year period, Diana Ross reportedly hired and fired 42 personal secretaries.
9. I'M GONNA MAKE YOU KILL ME!
Someone had had enough of Leona in 1973, when she was stabbed in the chest by an "unknown assailant." After police compared Leona and Harry's conflicting stories about a black female intruder who broke into their home wearing a gas mask and attacked Mrs. Helmsley, they arrived at the same conclusion many friends and relatives did: Harried Harry did it. In the lounge. With a knife.
Diana incurred the wrath of Martha Reeves when the Supremes opened a show for the Vandellas sporting the same outfits their headlining rivals were scheduled to wear. Diana fled after the show, leaving fellow Supremes Flo and Mary to fend off Reeves with hairbrushes.
10. AIN'T NO EXPENSE HIGH ENOUGH
Not wanting to pay for renovations on their Connecticut estate, the Helmsleys tried to palm off the expenditures as expenses on their four business properties. Among the fraudulent charges were a million dollars for a pool enclosure, $500,000 worth of jade figurines, and a $130,000 stereo (charged as a security expense to the Helmsley Building).
Miss Ross' dream of a children's playground named after her in Central Park turned into a nightmare for the City of New York. Security and cleanup services after her benefit concerts cost the Big Apple a whopping $650,000. And after Miss Ross' expenses--ranging from limousine service ($12,000) to a fingernail she broke off during the show ($265)--there wasn't enough money for a Slinky, let alone a playground.
Editor's note: The Diana Ross concert scheduled for Wednesday, September 20, at Phoenix Symphony Hall was recently canceled. A spokeswoman for Symphony Hall said, "She had a conflict." Ross tour publicist Jude Lions said negotiations broke down late in the game. We suspect that someone on the Phoenix end of things offended the performer by calling her "Diana" rather than "Ms. Ross," the appellation she insists upon.