*It has been almost three decades since the film “Lady Sings the Blues” was made. The movie was Diana Ross’ debut as an actress, where she shared star billing with Billy Dee Williams. The film was also Berry Gordy’s debut as a film producer.
Like most films, there’s always a back story to the things that happen on the set. Billy Dee Williams has revealed some interesting tidbits about a few of the happenings during the making of the film, which caused a few awkward moments between Williams, Ross, and Gordy.
Williams’ character, Louis McKay, was deeply in love with Diana’s character, Billie Holiday. The film called for Williams and Ross to get close – real close on the set. The problem was that Gordy, according to Williams, wasn’t cool with the love scene between the actor and Ross.
Williams knew that six months prior to the filming of “Lady Sings the Blues,” Ross had given birth to a baby girl. Years later, it would be revealed that Gordy was the child’s real father. Williams also knew that Gordy and Ross were not “supposed to be” love items at the time because Ross was married to another man. However, Williams said Gordy became jealous when he (Williams) and Ross had to do the steamy love scene.
“Well, it was clear to me from the beginning that they – Berry and Diana – had this psychodramatic, complex love affair going on, even though she was married to someone else,” Williams said. “ I don’t mean they were having sex; everyone knew that was over. But just because you’re not having sex with a woman doesn’t mean you don’t still feel territorial where she’s concerned, and Berry did.”
Williams pointed to one major scene, where he and Ross really kissed.
“Berry made it very tough on us,” Williams said in the book, “Diana Ross: A Biography” by J. Randy Taraborelli. “It sounds silly in retrospect, but he really did not want the kiss to take place.”
Williams recalled that Ross got so tired of Gordy interrupting the kiss scene that she said, ‘Jesus Christ, Berry…It’s only a Kiss.’”