Mary Wilson, Original Founding Member Of The Supremes, Dies At 76

Mary Wilson, Original Founding Member Of The Supremes, Dies At 76

The Motown legend paved the way for future girl groups.

Published February 9th

Written by BET Staff

A Motown legend has passed away. Mary Wilson, an original founding member of The Supremes, has died at 76 years old. 

According to Variety, her publicist Jay Schwartz confirmed the news but did not say her cause of death. She reportedly died in her home in Henderson, Nevada. She is survived by her daughter, son, several grandchildren, a sister and brother.

Motown creator Berry Gordy said in a statement, "The Supremes were always known as the 'sweethearts of Motown.' Mary, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, came to Motown in the early 1960s. 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.”

RELATED: Diana Ross Was Told ‘I’m Coming Out’ Would Ruin Her Career

Gordy continued, “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."

Mary Wilson was born in  Greenville, Mississippi but raised in Detroit, Michigan. She grew up in the  Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, who passed away in 1976.

They began as The Primettes and signed to Motown Records in 1961. However, they didn't have their first hit until 1964 with "Where Did Our Love Go."

Renamed The Supremes, the ladies are considered the biggest girl group of all time and known for the no. 1 hits "I Hear a Symphony,” "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Back in My Arms Again.”

Diana Ross left the group in 1970 and The Supremes officially disbanded in 1977.

In 1986,  she wrote Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme. It was a New York Times best seller for months and is considered one of the best-selling music autobiographies of all time.

Mary Wilson would have been 77 years old on March 6.

Rest in power.

Photo of Supremes
Photo of Supremes
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
The Supremes On Hullabaloo
The Supremes On Hullabaloo
Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Mary Wilson Performs In Minnesota
Mary Wilson Performs In Minnesota
Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Photo by Sherry Rayn Barnett /Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


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