" Bonington replied that Newcastle was the nearest, but it was 60 miles away. According to an unauthorised biography by the Norwegian journalist Mona Levin, Naess was born Arne Raab in Germany on December 8 1937, the son of a German ski-jumping coach and Kikki Naess, a physiotherapist and a member of one of Norway's most prominent families.
His uncle, Arne Naess, after whom he was named, is the famous mountaineer, ecologist and philosopher who, in 1950, led the expedition that made the first ascent of Tirich Mir in Pakistan.
When Naess met Diana Ross on a Barbados beach in 1985, both were taking their children from previous marriages on holiday.
Yet, for a time at least, the relationship, which Diana Ross described as "a series of sexy honeymoons", seemed to suit them.
Yet, in 1999, when Naess announced in a television interview that the marriage was over, Diana Ross was reportedly devastated; some traced her subsequent problems with drink to the breakdown of the relationship.
For Naess had not only built up a shipping empire (now reputedly worth some 0 million); in 1985 he led one of the most successful and well-organised expeditions ever made to Everest - the expedition on which the British mountaineer, Chris Bonington, finally succeeded in reaching the summit.
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The marriage between the parents of the younger Arne broke up after the Second World War, and at the age of eight he moved to Norway with his mother. His uncle Arne now stepped in as a father figure, raising his nephew as his own son.