Dec. 9,1983 / The Star 7
In the left photo, Supremes founder Flo Ballard with Mary Wilson in 1965. In
the right photo is Flo's replacement, Cindy Birdsong, with Mary Wilson, in
Wilson was very open discussing the
Supremes. As many of us have assumed,
Florence Ballard, the founder of what
became the Supremes, left the group under
circumstances not familiar to everyone.
Only Mary, Diana, Motown super execs
and family who could be trusted or held
not to break the .silence may have the real
answers. Much of the press and public
arrived at their own conclusions and
started believing these self-appointed
soap operas, for lack of answers from
within the Supremes or Motown. Mary's
answers here might hopefully shed some
light on this very private subject.
Mary speaks in a somber tone, "The
closest that I could say to anything that
would clarify Florence's leaving, because
it is a long story, Florence did agree to
leave the group on her own accord; however, it was not because she wanted to.
"One time we were in Europe and this
was during the time Diana was becoming
a solo artist and moved toward the front of
the group; before Florence's leaving. We
were to go to an engagement, a press reception. We were told to stay upstairs in our
rooms. Florence and I were waiting to go
to the reception unaware that Diana had
already gone down. When we came down
later, we realized that they had not wanted
us to be involved in the reception.
"Florence was very upset about that! It
was around that time Florence told me she
couldn't take it any longer. And at that
point I became very upset, because I realized also what was happening, in terms of
the group possibly not being together any
longer. Flor and I sat up and cried that
night, because we realized this beautiful
thing was really about to split up.
"I think that was the first thime I heard
it from her lips that she would not be with
the group. I have often said that it would
be fairer to Florence and the others to tell
the whole truth instead of bits and pieces. 1
know this doesn't clarify anything, its
just too in-depth to say it was due to any
"It's all going to come out in my book."
Nearly nine years after Florence Ballard left the Supremes, she died in Feb.,
1976.1 believe it was from heart failure as
there were as many gruesome stroies of
how she died as there were about her leaving the Supremes.
"I was shocked," said Mary. "But by the
same token not as shocked as I would have
been if it happened to someone else. I knew
how deeply Florence felt about the situation with the Supremes. H was the one
thing with us that made her whole life
click. I know for me or Diana, no matter
what happened with us, we would have
found a way to find something else to do.
"Diana and I have been much too close
to talk about Flo's death. Perhaps we will
later. Later in life, to talk about it honestly. There were so many good things
about Flo. One thing, when she laughed,
hers was an infectious, Santa Claus-type
laugh. You just wanted to laugh with her.
She was also a very sensitive woman."
Did Mary ever fear that she, too, would
"I never thought I could be replaced,
because they weren't going to do that to
me," sounds Mary in an amusingly dramatic tone. She continues, "If they ever
did put me out, I would have gone to the
union (now laughing heartily).
"To answer your questions, I felt I
always did my job, not that I was too
important, as everybody is replaceable. I
would have had to have been awfully bad
for them to put me out."
Sexual Exile Terms
In response to a promised campaign of
extermination of Argentine homosexuals
by a clandestined Nazi commando group,
some 10,000 gays have fled Argentina,
Chile and Uruguay for what one "sexual
exile" termed a paradise in Brazil, reports
the Knight-Ridder newspaper group.
Seventeen gay men have been
strangled, stabbed or beaten to death in
the past IS months after the Nazi group
burned down a Buenos Aires theater
which had included gay sketches in a
The murders took place in one 30-block
area ofthe city, reportedly a place with one
of the world's lowest crime rates, and the
police have not solved one case to date.
The murders come after seven years of systematic gay repression in Argentina,
beginning in 1976 when a military coup
shut down gay saunas, bars and hotels.
Argentines detained for suspicion of
begin gay received 30-day jail sentences
and were branded in the national computer Hit' as gay. Nestor Perlonghar, one of
the exiles, was arrested 15 times before
leaving the country.
In Chile and Uruguay and other Southern Cone dictatorships, repression is less
violent than in Argentina, but there is no
open homosexual activity.
The STAR, your new community newspaper,
is ready to begin expanding its service to the
Austin and San Antonio gay communities.
San Antonio Editor
This is a part-time position for an experienced
journalist or writer. Submit samples. Will require about 6 hours a week. Pays $200 a
Austin/San Antonio Advertising Director
This is a commissioned position but expect
about $1000 a month-more when newspaper
switches to weekly format. Mail resume.
3008-A Burleson Rd„ Austin, TX 78741
mtrtr a ptrrsutlctl vuttrptfttfl in
data ter/ninal, j then you should] check
out the latest form i>f electron^ com*
municatipns i<\ the gay community.
The GNIC Network is a multi-user __ _ ___^
news, information and communications service with local phone access from
over250\citieiintheU.S. & Canada! i)ur response times are fast, andhourly
rates a^ lm^onlyS5.2SWr\ ~
nel/vs, legal advisor\ a mitlti-user cha[t facility, and much, n\uch more. You
cati jomjas amH subscriber, aM we1 wilt rttaH ydu yoor own personal ip
nutnberf, pasfwordfalong with the local phone access number in your area)
the" sami day we receive your application. Or, you can join on a special trial
subscription arid receive ail the benefits of rjgular membership plus two tree
hours of access. Then if you wish, youcanjdinas a regular mamberfororily
• CAY NEWS •INFORMATION*
□ Regular Subscription $30
0 Trial Subscription $15
D Send me more information, please.
Clip and Mail to: GNIC NETWORK
c/o Montrose Voice Publishing
3317 Montrose #306, Houston, TX 77006