It was 1976 and ousted Supremes member Florence Ballard had tragically died after years of poverty and despair.
Writer Mark Bego was at the funeral, and he vividly tells about Diana Ross‘s sad attempts to upstage the whole thing in his imminent memoir, Paperback Writer.
Take it away, Mark:
“All of a sudden, in one grand and dramatic motion, Miss Ross catapulted herself into the church, flanked by two burly male bodyguards. She quickly shot through the open doorway, and down the center aisle. She simultaneously appeared, and let out a sobbing scream. She then appeared to swoon to the point of being seconds away from collapsing mid-aisle.
“The two male bodyguards swept her up by the arms and whisked her to the front of the church. Instantly, the entire crowd jumped to its feet and emitted a shocked in-unison gasp. People were climbing, clawing, and hanging from the edge of the balcony to grab a glimpse of the black sable-bedecked and tear-soaked Ross.
“I have never seen such a choreographed display of drama in my life. It appeared to be the worst act of mock mourning that I had ever seen. I was awestruck.
“It was Florence’s funeral, and Miss Ross acted like she was out to steal the show, in much the same way — I feel — she stole The Supremes away from Ballard, and turned the group into ‘Diana Ross & The Supremes.’
” ‘I could not have dreamed up a crazier scenario than this one if I tried,’ I thought to myself. ‘In my opinion, that Diana really is an unmitigated bitch! She won’t even allow Florence to be the star of her own funeral!’ “
“Where Did Our Love Go?” indeed.