Music & Musicians

Mary Wilson, founding member of The Supremes, dies at 76

Phil Helsel
Mary Wilson of the Supremes and her collection of gold and silver records, , photographed at a hotel in Los Angeles, California April 12, 1985.
Paul Harris | Archive Photos | Getty Images

Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, died Monday at her home in Las Vegas, her publicist said. She was 76.

No cause of death was provided by her friend and publicist Jay Schwartz.

Wilson was an original member of the iconic Motown group known for a string of hits including "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Back in My Arms Again."

"The Supremes were always known as the 'sweethearts of Motown.'" Berry Gordy, founder of the Motown record label, said in a statement. "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.

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"She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed," Gordy said.

Wilson, Ross and Ballard rose to fame as a trio, but the group started with four women. Barbara Martin left the group, which Wilson and the others joined as teens in Detroit.

The Supremes claimed a dozen No. 1 singles, five of which were consecutive from 1964-1965. "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," "Come See About Me," "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Back in My Arms Again," all topped the charts.

While the Supremes were Motown's first hit group, they would not be the last.

They were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Little Richard in 1988.