'Supreme Titan' Mary Wilson passes away in Nevada

A funeral for Wilson will be held privately due to Covid-19 restrictions, but a celebration of her life will take place later this year, her family said.


Mary Wilson, an American singer and founding member of the Supremes, passed away at her home in Henderson, Nevada, her publicist Jay Schwartz announced. The cause of the death is not confirmed yet.

"Mary Wilson along with Florence Ballard and Diana Ross changed the game permanently. Hit after hit after hit, on regular rotation to this day. A Supreme Titan may have left us but that legacy will never be surpassed," Singer Beverley Knight tweeted

The founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy, said in a statement: "I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supremes.

"The Supremes 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."

A funeral for Wilson will be held privately due to Covid-19 restrictions, but a celebration of her life will take place later this year, her family said.

The group was founded in Detroit as The Primettes in 1959, when Wilson was 15 years old. The Supremes was the most successful Motown act of the 1960s and the best-charting female group in U.S. history, as well as one of the all-time best selling girls groups in the world. The group released a record-setting twelve number-one hit singles on the billboard hot 100, ten of which Wilson sang backing vocals for.

Wilson remained with the group following the departures of other original members, Florence Ballard in 1967 and Diana Ross in 1970, though the group disbanded following Wilson’s own departure in 1977. Wilson later became a New York Times best-selling author in 1986 with their release of her first autobiography, Dream girl: My life as a Supreme, which set records for sales in its genre.

She continued a successful career as a concert performer in Las Vegas, Wilson also worked in activism, fighting to pass Truth in music advertising bills and donating to various charities. Wilson was inducted along with Ross and Ballard into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

First Published:Feb. 9, 2021, 8:26 p.m.

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