INSIDE FLORENCE BALLARD'S FUNERAL:
Tony Turner claims in his book, "All That Glittered," that Florence Ballard called him in October of 1975 and said, "Baby, I'm making a comeback! I'm back in the money honey, you gotta come up and see my new home. I'm the first person in Detroit with a brand-new Cadillac Seville. They rode it off the assembly line for me." After we hung up, I talked to a mutual friend who told me that the money came from Berry Gordy because he felt bad. When I talked to Flo again, she mentioned that she had just finished a tell-all book, titled, "Flo: My Story." She also said that Doubleday was interested in publishing it. She added. "It's hot stuff baby, you have no idea what went on." The last time I talked to Flo, she said she was headed out to get some KFC. The next day, a friend informed me that she had died, I screamed, what! I just spoke to her yesterday, what happened? He said, 'she fell on the floor in the living room and she was paralyzed, they think she had a stroke, she was talking but her speech was slurred. When they got her to the hospital, she had a seizure and died. They said her body was filled with blood clots and one of the clots shot directly up to her heart.'
There was calls back and forth with Motown. Diana Ross was coming to the funeral and things had to be planned to accommodate her. At the funeral, suddenly I heard a complete pandemonium of boos, people shouting, "bitch," as others cheered and clapped. I said to myself, it must be Diana. A limo roared up to the church door with the horn blaring. The crowd scampered out of the way, the limo door shot open, bodyguards jumped out, there was a big hush as Diana stepped out of the car. Her entrance seemed rehearsed, the timing perfect. Diana looked appropriatedly tragic. The suit she had on was perfect. She looked straight ahead, her face immobile. She glided past Flo's family. She didn't look at any of them. She came in as if she was the chief mourner with guards on each side of her. When she reached the middle of the church, she let out a blood-curdling scream. She threw her hands up and went limp, fell out, she was picked up by her bodyguards and was taken to the front row pew where she was fanned and revived. She sat there clutching Flo's daughter. By the time we reached the cemetery, I looked around to see where Diana was but Diana wasn't there. I later found out she had left.
About a year and a half later, I found out that Flo's husband Tommy had sold Flo's book to Motown for $10,000. Then in 1984, when I was helping Mary Wilson remember and research her book, "Dreamgirl," we located Tommy. He told me, you and Mary need to come down here, I'm going to tell you the whole story because I remember what my wife wrote and I want Mary to tell it. Motown set her up, they blacklisted her, everything was hushed up. After we hung up, Mary said, "I can't wait to get down there," but we had to wait because Mary was scheduled to appear near there in a month. Two weeks after I contacted Tommy, I got a call from a friend, he said, 'Tommy is dead, someone shot him in the head in a pool hall. They don't know who did it.'