Mary Wilson, one of the original members of the Supremes, the 1960s group that helped establish the Motown sound and propelled Diana Ross to superstardom, has died. She was 76.
Wilson competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2019, partnering with pro Brandon Armstrong. The couple were the first to be eliminated, with Bachelorette Hannah Brown ultimately taking the crown.
Read the obit at the Associated Press
Wilson died Monday night at her home in Nevada and the cause was not immediately clear, said publicist Jay Schwartz.
Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard made up the first successful configuration of The Supremes, Motown’s first and most commercially successful girl group. Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong in 1967, and Wilson stayed with the group until it was officially disbanded in 1977.
The group’s first No. 1, million-selling song, “Where Did Our Love Go,” was released June 17, 1964.
It would be the first of five consecutive No. 1s, with “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Back in My Arms Again” following in quick succession. The Supremes also recorded the hit songs “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Up the Ladder to the Roof” and “Love Child.”
Diana Ross offered her condolences to Mary’s family on Twitter: “I just woke up to this news. I am reminded that each day is a gift. I have so many wonderful memories of our time together.”
I just woke up to this news , my condolences to you Mary's family ,I am reminded that each day is a gift ,I have so many wonderful memories of our time together "The Supremes " will live on ,in our hearts ?
— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) February 9, 2021
Berry Gordy, who founded the Detroit-based Motown Records, 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 Supreme. 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 No. 1 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.”
Mary’s DWTS partner, Brandon Armstrong penned a remembrance on Instagram:
“Honestly this breaks my heart to even write this. First of all my prayers are with the family and friends of miss Mary. I met Miss Mary at the perfect time in my life! I was struggling with a lot of different things in my life at the time and she made a difference right away! She taught me so much about bettering yourself, loving others and standing up for what you believe in. I loved the time we spent together but particularly the trip to New York after we were eliminated. On the plane, she spoke to me about learning to love your life, the good and the bad, loving people, the good and the bad and looking back on your life with joy! Her love for her family and particularly her kids inspired me and will continue to do so! I love you Miss Mary and God bless your family!??”
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Former DWTS host Tom Bergeron offers a tribute on Twitter: “I first met
@MWilsonSupreme on a talk show in Boston. We last got together on a dance show in Hollywood. She brightened both of those stages and countless more. #RIPMaryWilson”
I first met @MWilsonSupreme on a talk show in Boston. We last got together on a dance show in Hollywood. She brightened both of those stages and countless more. #RIPMaryWilson pic.twitter.com/dMEG6VpLXo
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) February 9, 2021