Ross, Gordy Reunite For 'Lady' DVD
The cast and crew of "Lady Sings the Blues" gathered on the Paramount lot last night (Nov. 1) in Los Angeles to celebrate the DVD release of the 1972 Billie Holiday biopic, "Lady Sings the Blues."The cast and crew of "Lady Sings the Blues" gathered on the Paramount lot last night (Nov. 1) in Los Angeles to celebrate the DVD release of the 1972 Billie Holiday biopic, "Lady Sings the Blues."
"You know, it's reunion time, which is so wonderful," the film's star, Diana Ross, said. "You don't get a chance to get everybody all together. And it's so wonderful to see Billy Dee [Williams] and to see B.G. [Motown Records founder and the film's executive producer Berry Gordy] and to see some of the Motown people."
Holiday purists aside (many have dubbed the film useless as a biography), "Lady Sings the Blues" earned considerable critical praise and five Oscar nominations, including one for Ross.
"It was my first film, you know, and my acting debut," Ross recalled. "It was, like, the one that gave me a chance to believe that I could do this. It was very exciting."
Film and TV producer Suzanne de Passe (an Oscar nominee for the "Lady" screenplay) explained the film's long-delayed Nov. 8 DVD was "because there were aspects of the deal that belonged to Paramount and also belonged to Mr. Gordy. And I think it took all this time for people to read what they had and come together and make it happen."
When the two camps finally came to terms, Paramount recruited virtually all the surviving principals for the DVD's bonus features, much of which revolves around Gordy.
"You know, he's so special," said Ross. "It's just so amazing to me. Nobody thanks him enough, because it's not just this film that he needs to be thanked for. All those people at Motown, and all those artists that are out there today sampling music because of what Motown did, that's because of him."
It's no wonder Ross has such a soft spot for her old boss, who refused to let "Lady" be made with anyone but her in the lead. "Cinema Center Films in New York turned us down with Diana, because they wanted someone else to play the part," he recalled.
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