Mary Wilson, one of the founding members of the legendary Motown group The Supremes, died on February 8, 2021, at the age of 76. Wilson co-founded The Supremes with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard in 1959. The group quickly became one of Motown’s biggest acts, with hits like “Baby Love,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “You Can’t Hurry Love.” Wilson remained a member of The Supremes until the group disbanded in 1977, and continued to perform and record as a solo artist.
Wilson was known for her distinctive voice and glamorous stage presence, as well as her advocacy for musicians’ rights. She was a passionate advocate for the music industry, and was actively involved in lobbying for changes to copyright laws and other issues affecting artists. She was also a prominent philanthropist, supporting causes like HIV/AIDS research and the United Nations Foundation.
Wilson’s death was met with an outpouring of tributes from fans, fellow musicians, and public figures around the world. She is remembered as a pioneering artist who broke barriers and paved the way for generations of female musicians. Her legacy lives on through her music and her activism.
Born on March 6, 1944, in Greenville, Mississippi, Mary Wilson began her music career in her teenage years when she joined the Primettes, a group that later became The Supremes. The group’s original lineup consisted of Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, and Florence Ballard. They quickly became one of the most successful groups in the Motown era, with hit songs such as “Baby Love,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “Where Did Our Love Go.”
After the departure of Ross from the group in 1970, Mary Wilson became the longest-serving member of The Supremes, and continued to perform with the group until their final disbandment in 1977. Afterward, she pursued a solo career, releasing a self-titled album in 1979, which included the hit single “Red Hot.”
In addition to her music career, Mary Wilson was also an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, and was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts in 2001.
On February 8, 2021, Mary Wilson died suddenly at her home in Henderson, Nevada, at the age of 76. Her passing was mourned by fans and fellow musicians alike, with many paying tribute to her as a trailblazer for Black women in the music industry and a true icon of Motown. Her legacy continues to inspire generations of musicians and fans.