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Singer Diana Ross Marries Norwegian Businessman

February 1, 1986 GMT

ROMAINMOTIER, Switzerland (AP) _ Pop singer Diana Ross married Norwegian shipping tycoon Arne Naess Saturday in a ceremony before about 200 guests in Switzerland’s oldest church.

Singer Stevie Wonder and actor Gregory Peck were among those attending the 40-minute ceremony in the Abbey of Romainmotier in this mountainside village.

Local news accounts said singer Michael Jackson and actor Marlon Brando also would attend, but journalists were barred from the church and could not confirm the reports. Members of the Ross entourage declined to answer questions.

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Ross and Naess were married by a Baptist minister from the United States as the Norwegian Broadcasting Boys Choir sang wedding songs. The choir, with about 50 members, is known as the Silver Voices.

The church bells pealed and most of the village’s 330 residents applauded and cheered as the couple emerged from the stone Protestant church, which was built between 996 and 1028.

They embraced briefly in front of about two dozen reporters and photographers, then entered a black Mercedes limousine to travel to a reception at the Beau Rivage Hotel in nearby Lausanne, overlooking Lake Geneva.

Ross, 41, the former Supremes singer, wore a white wedding gown and trailing veil that press agents said included $12,000 worth of hand-made Belgium lace.

Ross’ three daughters from her first marriage joined Naess’ two children from his first marriage in carrying her veil.

Naess, 47, who owns a chalet in a nearby village, wore a black tuxedo.

Friends said the couple’s romance began last May when they met in the Bahamas.

Friends of the groom, who spoke on condition they not be identified, said the couple planned to spend their honeymoon on Naess’ 370-acre island ″Tiano″ in the Pacific.

The church was filled with extra seats and decorated with pink and white roses.

Before the ceremony, some of the invited guests crowded into a nearby restaurant and played old tapes of the Supremes and Motown music.

Naess’ personal fortune has been estimated at nearly $900 million, but in a Norwegian television interview he said the news media exaggerated his wealth.

He reportedly holds interests in companies in the United States, Britain, Liberia, on the Channel Islands and in Switzerland.

Born of a Norwegian mother and a German father, Naess is an expert skier and a keen mountaineer who has climbed Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain.