The Lost Supreme

SOON TO BE A MOTION PICTURE starring Terry Dexter as The Lost Supreme and Jon Heder as Author Peter Benjaminson. Based on extensive interviews with Florence Ballard. Published by Chicago Review Press Lawrence Hill Books. NOW IN PAPERBACK!
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Author highlights life of 'The Lost Supreme'

By DEBORAH A. MILES

The Communicator Magazine


Peter Benjaminson works as a state labor standards investigator in Manhattan. He’s also one of PEF’s talented members who has penned several books. One of them, “The Lost Supreme,” has received two thumbs up from prominent music and book critics across the country.

The story of how Benjaminson came to write about the life of “The Lost Supreme,” Florence Ballard, is just as fascinating as the book itself.

Back in the 1960s, The Supremes were dominating the music charts with number one hits. Benjaminson was working as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press. His editor told him one of The Supremes, Ballard, had tumbled from super-star status to a welfare recipient. He jumped at the opportunity to tell her story.

It turned out Ballard had a lot of highs and lows in her life.
Benjaminson’s story about her earned worldwide attention and resulted in an outpouring of generosity from fans. And Benjaminson earned her trust and friendship.

 

Ballard wanted her story told, and Benjaminson was the man for the job. He spent eight hours with her, taping the interviews. Ballard died in 1976, and Benjaminson tried to interest publishers in her life story. But the publishers were more interested in Benjaminson writing about the famed Motown Record Company. His book, “The Story of Motown” was published in 1979 by Grove Press.

Thirty years later, and prompted by the Dreamgirls movie which was tailored after Diana Ross and The Supremes, publishers were ready for Ballard’s biography.

“There was finally a fresh whirlwind of fascination in the life and career of Flo, whose full story had not yet been told,” Benjaminson said.

The book was published in 2008 by Lawrence Hill Books and a paperback version came out in 2009. It inspired the television producers of “Unsung” on TV One to contact Benjaminson and feature him in a program about Ballard’s life that aired three times last year.

“That was a great experience because Flo didn’t get the credit she deserved when she was alive,” Benjaminson said

Now, he is working on a third book about Motown, a biography of Mary Wells, Motown’s first big star, who sang “My Guy.”

Benjaminson didn’t have the opportunity to interview Wells, but someone else did and gave him the tapes to use for his upcoming book.

He said being a writer and getting published requires persistence.

“You have to keep pounding away at things. It took 32 years for “The Lost Supreme” to get published. I am very pleased it finally worked out.”

 

Benjaminson also co-authored “Investigative Reporting” in 1976 which was in print for more than 20 years.

He penned “Secret Police” in 1997 after working as the public relations official for the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) during the administration of Mayor David Dinkins. It’s a breezy review of what he considers some of the DOI’s most interesting cases.

Benjaminson also wrote “Death in The Afternoon: America’s Newspaper Giants Struggle For Survival” and “Publish Without Perishing.”

April 2010 Issue