Mary Wilson, co-founder of the influential Motown group The Supremes, has died at 76. She died of unknown causes on Monday night (Feb. 8) at her home in Las Vegas. Wilson was the longest-reigning original member of the group, having joined in 1959, and remained until 1977 when the group officially disbanded.
The original group formed in Detroit as The Primettes, and consisted of Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Betty McGlown. Later Barbara Martin replaced McGlown, and the four-piece signed to Motown in 1961 as The Supremes. The following year, Martin left the group, and The Supremes continued as a trio. The group used the famous songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, and scored several number one singles and top 10 albums. They’re best known for songs like “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Baby Love,” “Stop! In The Name Of Love,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “Come See About Me.”
After Wilson’s long run with The Supremes, she released two solo albums, 1979’s Mary Wilson and 1992’s Walk the Line. She also became a New York Times best-selling author in 1986 with the release of her first autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme, and wrote three more books on her time in The Supremes. Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as a member of The Supremes, alongside Ross and Ballard.
“I just woke up to this news,” Diana Ross tweeted earlier this morning, offering her condolences to Wilson’s family. “I am reminded that each day is a gift,” she added, “I have so many wonderful memories of our time together.”