The basic plot of Dreamgirls is derived from the history of The Supremes, a girl-group from Detroit which was Motown's most successful group act during the 1960s. Diana Ross, who became the central focus of the Supremes and later left the group to pursue a solo career and a brief venture into films, is here adapted into the character of Deena Jones. Supremes member Mary Wilson is represented by Lorrell Robinson. Curtis Taylor, Jr. represents Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of Motown, who pushed the Supremes towards pop success and became romantically involved with Ross. Effie White is a doppelgänger for Florence Ballard, original lead singer of the Supremes; the character's vocal stylings and personality are based upon soul singer Etta James. James "Thunder" Early is depicted as a cross between James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and Jackie Wilson, and C. C. White is a collective representative for The Supremes' songwriters, who included the Holland-Dozier-Holland team and Smokey Robinson. Michelle Morris is representative of Cindy Birdsong, Florence Ballard's replacement in The Supremes, which was renamed "Diana Ross & the Supremes" at the time of that personnel change.