Mary continues to discover her ambitions and goals, embarking on her
40th anniversary in the music business. Mary is still touring
extensively and made her first television film appearance in Lifetime
Network's Summer Release Television movie, "Jackie's Back,"
featuring Jennifer Lewis and Tim Curry. A best-selling author of two
My Life as a Supreme" and "Supreme
Faith...Someday We'll Be Together," Mary, in addition to
performing, has also become a successful businesswoman, lecturer,
actress, dancer, and singer of not only pop music, but jazz, rock and
Ever since she became interested in singing as a young
girl, Mary has been driven. Her days as a teenager living in the
Brewster Projects on the East Side of Detroit became the meeting place
of three young, ambitious girls who all had one goal to become
The Primettes began singing locally, developing a huge
following as a local record hop group in Detroit. After auditioning for
Motown and initially being turned down by Berry Gordy, the girls refused
to give up. Spending their high school years "hanging out" at
Motown, the Primettes made sure they were seen at the recording studio
every day after school. They eventually bonded with
Robinson and even Gordy, hoping that some day they would be in the
recording studio cutting their own songs.
On January 15, 1961, their dream came true. The group
changed its name to the Supremes, became a three-woman vocal
group with Mary, Flo and Diana, and went on to record 12 #1 hits. These
included: "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love,"
"Stop! In the Name of Love," "You Keep Me Hangin'
On," "Love Child" and "Someday We'll Be
Together" establishing the group as the only American act to
have had five consecutive #1 hits more than any other female
group in music history.
By 1970, the Supremes had undergone major
transition, as Flo Ballard left the group due to physical illness, and
Diana Ross went out on her own as a solo artist. Carrying on the dreams
that she, Flo and Diana had when they started, Mary replaced her former
teammates and kept singing. The group went on to produce hit singles for
years to come. The Supremes were America's answer to the Beatles,
all in all releasing 33 songs that reached the Top 40. Among these hits
were "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (with the
"River Deep, Mountain High" (with the
Tops), "Up the Ladder To The Roof," "Stoned
Love," "Floy Joy" and "Automatically Sunshine."
During the history of the Supremes, the only member who performed
with the group from beginning to end was Mary Wilson.
In 1977 the Supremes officially disbanded, and
Mary set out on her own musical path. Her first solo album, "Mary
Wilson," yielded the dance classic, "Red Hot."
Simultaneously, Mary broadened her horizons in the acting world,
starring in the musical "Beehive" in dinner theaters all over
Canada; in addition she played roles in the film documentary "Brown
Sugar" and Disney's "Tiger Town."
Mary Wilson also became a New York Times best-selling author
in 1986 when she released her autobiography, "Dreamgirl:
My Life as a Supreme." The novel sold more than 250,000 copies
in hardback, received rave reviews, and became the most successful rock
and roll autobiography of all time. It was the definitive tell-all story
of the history of her life as a Supreme, and the struggles she faced in
order to attain her dreams. As one of the first autobiographies ever
written by a celebrity, Mary's story triggered a wave of Motown stories
that followed her best-seller.
The overwhelming response to her first book prompted
its 1990 sequel, "Supreme
Faith...Someday We'll Be Together," in which Mary recalls her
struggle keeping the group together after the Motown hit factory came to
a grinding halt. She also candidly wrote about her personal life,
including her abusive marriage, raising a family, the tragic death of
Flo Ballard, and the explosive reunion with
Diana Ross on Motown's 25th
Anniversary television special in 1983.
Continuing to tour solo, in 1992 Mary recorded another
album, "Walk the Line," which became her first studio
recording in 13 years. She debuted her first single on The
Show, also titled "Walk the Line," but found out days later
that the independent label had folded.
Still, nothing could keep Mary down, so she dared to
dream again. She began telling her story on the lecture circuit,
speaking in front of groups all over the world. She also began
participating in various charities, donating her time and services to
such organizations as The Susan Komen Breast Foundation, The American
Cancer Society, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, The Easter
Seals foundation, UNICEF, NAACP, The People with AIDS Coalition of
Tucson, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, just to name a few.
Then tragedy struck Mary. In 1994, she lost her
youngest child, 14-year-old Rafi, in a car accident that nearly claimed
Mary's life too. "Sometimes your best lessons stem from those that
hurt," says Mary. "The death of my baby prompted me to take a
stronger look at my life. In many ways, this tragedy kick-started my
life all over again."
Ironically, it was only a few months later that the
Supremes were celebrated once again, when they were placed in the
legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Embracing new challenges, Mary moved to New York to
make a fresh start, and enrolled at New York University where she
revived her education after 30 years of being a performer. The following
year Mary found herself back in the recording studio to record a new
single with a new sound, entitled "U," which became a R&B
hit on the European charts.
Since then, Mary has maintained a hectic but
fulfilling schedule, performing with major symphony orchestras across
the country, fusing her pop melodies and symphonic compositions. Mary is
also a radio disc jockey who occasionally fills in for vacationing DJs
on New York's classic R&B WWRL Radio, The Morning Show. In addition
to being the only Supreme to venture into theatre starring in
three off-Broadway plays, including the innovative interactive theatre
comedy, "Grandmother Silvia's Funeral," "Mother's
Hubbard" (also a comedy), and "Idella's Soul Shack"
Mary also recently recorded her first voice-over on a national
commercial for Colgate.
Mary also toured with the
Tops and the Temptations for two
summers. "I was thrilled to be able to perform solo with the groups
that I adored as a child," says Mary. "Touring with the guys
was a personal pleasure for me."
Aside from her touring, acting, voice-over, and boxed
set projects, Mary Wilson continues to stay on the lecture circuit, speaking to
various groups. Her speeches are based on a series of lectures she calls
"Dare to Dream." Taking her personal experiences, based on her
books, Mary speaks candidly at colleges, universities, and abused
victims groups, hoping to help those who have experienced the same
traumas and challenges she has faced. Because she has been through so
much in her life, Mary is able to touch various groups with her
motivational speeches which she tailors to each specific group.
All in all, Mary is still looking for ways to expand
herself both as a person and as a professional. "I have a lot yet
to do with my life as an entertainer," says Mary. "My fantasy
as a child was to please other people through singing and performing.
And though my life has taken a few detours, my goals remain the same to
this day. I still have much to accomplish, because I'm still 'daring to