Mary Wilson, best known as a founding member of the Supremes has passed away. She was 76.
As a member of the Supremes, Wilson was part of the best charting female group in U.S. music history and one of the all-time best selling female groups globally. At their height in popularity the Supremes consisted of Wilson, Diana Ross, and Florence Ballard. She remained with the group after the departure of Ross and Ballard, until the Supremes officially disbanded in 1976.
The hits Wilson was a part of were numerous: Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, Come See About Me, Stop! In the Name of Love, You Keep Me Hanging On, Reflections, You Can’t Hurry Love, Love Child, The Happening, and Someday We’ll be Together.
As a band, 2021 would mark the 60th anniversary of the Supremes, who were originally formed in January, 1961 under the name, the Primettes. Last month, was asked by the Hollywood reporter about the potential of a reunion with Ross which she replied:
Well, let’s put it this way: It’s really up to Diana. I don’t think she wants to do that. It doesn’t make sense unless you come together lovingly. Or at least have an understanding. It can be an understanding, that’s fine. But I don’t think she does want to. So therefore I’m going on with my life. I look at it like this, especially with this pandemic: Who knows when the end may come. And at 76 and a half years old I’m not going to sit around waiting for something. As my mother used to say, don’t cry over spilled milk. I have too much to live for now and be happy about.
Wilson’s cause of death was unknown, but just two days prior to her death, Wilson had been active on her YouTube channel two days ago and she had mentioned Universal Music Group was going to release unreleased materials by her. The music included solo material and n unreleased album called Red Hot that she recorded in the 1970s.
Wilson was married to Pedro Ferrer from 1974 to 1981. The marriage produced a daughter and two sons. The youngest son Rafael died in an automobile accident involving Wilson on Interstate 15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Motown Records (the labels the Supremes were a part of) founder Berry Gordy issued a statement on Wilson’s death:
The Supremes were always known as the “sweethearts of Motown.” Mary, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, came to
Motown in the early 1960’s. After an unprecedented string of number one hits, television and nightclub bookings, 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.
Wilson had always remained active following the Supremes. As recently as 2019, she participated in Dancing with the Stars, and authored the book Supreme Glamour.
Photo Credit: Mary Wilson, Social Media.