Supremes’ Mary Wilson Passes Away At 76
The Supremes - The Ed Sullivan Show / Youtube
The Supremes’ co-founder Mary Wilson, who is the only consistent member to appear in the group’s every lineup, has died at the age of 76.
Wilson was part of the quartet then-known as the Primettes in 1959 and was in all of their chart-topping hits between 1964 and 1969 that included: “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” Moving forward as the Supremes, they eventually became one of the biggest names in Motown in the ’60s, and still remain to be the highest-charting female vocal group in American history.
Wilson, along with Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, and Betty McGlown started out as a group designed to complement the all-male Primes. They donned the new name upon signing to Motown and went on through a series of lineup changes until 1977. Wilson remained active in the industry, appearing in Dancing With The Stars in 2019 and releasing her fourth memoir in the same year. She also announced the upcoming release of a solo album titled Red Hot, which had been shelved since the ’70s and would finally see the light of day on March 6th.
Wilson’s representative, Jay Schwartz, confirmed that Wilson passed away in her Nevada home but didn’t add any more details. Motown Records boss Berry Gordy expressed his grief over the loss of Wilson, saying: “The Supremes were always known as the ‘sweethearts of Motown.’ They opened doors for themselves, the other Motown acts and many, many others. … I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right, and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva, and will be deeply missed.”
In a 2019 interview with The Guardian, Wilson said: “It really was like walking into a Disneyland. All these creative people. People say, ‘Motown, it was this big building,’ but I always say, ‘No, Motown was always a collaboration between the people, with Berry at the head of course.’”
She added that she felt like her group and the label was tightly-knit despite various points of contention in the past. “We, the Supremes, can’t take all the credit. The writers and producers at Motown gave us the music and sound that people loved. And then there was the glamour. My whole life is like a dream. I tell you – if I were not a Supreme, I would want to be a Supreme. I’m living the dream,” Wilson concluded.