Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Ballards in:
 • Detroit Memorial Park East
 • Warren
 • Macomb County
 • Michigan
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Florence Glenda Ballard
Birth: Jun. 30, 1943
Detroit
Wayne County
Michigan, USA
Death: Feb. 22, 1976
Detroit
Wayne County
Michigan, USA

R&B singer and founding member of one of America's successful female vocal groups of all time, the Supremes. Florence Glenda Ballard was the eighth of thirteen children born in Detroit, Michigan. She grew up in the housing projects of Detroit, Michigan. In her teens, Ballard formed the vocal group the Primettes with school friends Mary Wilson and Betty Travis (who later left the group). Diana Ross completed the line-up in 1960. The following year, in Jan. of 1961, the Primettes were signed by Motown Records, who re-named them the Supremes. As the group's acknowledged leader, Ballard was the featured vocalist on their early Motown singles, label boss Berry Gordy insisted that Diana Ross become the lead singer in 1963. Over the next four years, the Supremes became the toast of show business, scoring 10 No. 1 hits, appearing on the "The Ed Sullivan Show" 20 times, headlining top night clubs and starring in their own top-rated TV specials. After Diana Ross was made lead, Ballard was allowed few opportunities to take the limelight, either on record or in contract. Unhappy with her diminishing role in the Supremes, she repeatedly complained to Gordy and his executives, and resulting friction led to her being ousted from the group in 1967. Throughout the drama, Motown maintained that Ballard was retiring because of the strain of constant touring. In 1968 Ballard married Tommy Chapman, a former Motown Chauffeur, and they had three children together. Motown annuled her contract, and she signed with ABC, for whom she made two singles. Ballard was legally barred from capitalizing on her glorious past with the Supremes, and while her former group went on, her solo releases flopped. Her contract with ABC was later terminated and other labels were weary of offending Gordy by signing her. Ballard became an increasingly embittered figure, ignored by the Detroit Music Scene in which she had played such a pivotal role. By the early 1970's, Ballard's finances had declined and she and her children were living in a Detroit housing project. Her reliance on a lethal cocktail of alcohol and diet pills soon weakened her health, and in February, 1976, a day after checking into a Detroit hospital, Ballard's tragic career ended at the young age of 32. Ironically, Florence Ballard's contribution to the success of the Supremes has now been recognized and her fate has been described as a telling verdict on the way in which Motown handled its more uncompromising artists. Though she departed this life before she could revive her career, Florence Ballard continues to live through the wonderful legacy of the Supremes. (bio by: Curtis Jackson) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Tommy Chapman (____ - 1985)*
 
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: coronary thrombosis
 
Burial:
Detroit Memorial Park East
Warren
Macomb County
Michigan, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Nov 22, 1998
Find A Grave Memorial# 4041
Florence Glenda Ballard
Added by: Curtis Jackson
 
Florence Glenda Ballard
Added by: Curtis Jackson
 
Florence Glenda Ballard
Added by: Scott Michaels
 
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

I was one of the lucky ones that heard you sing with the original supremes group. May you rest in peace. You were great with the supremes.
- ray adkins
 Added: Apr. 10, 2014
Sad that someone even stole her flower vase
- JCB
 Added: Apr. 1, 2014

- Stacey
 Added: Mar. 22, 2014
There are 1,799 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.5 after 351 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service