Former musical director from LI remembers Mary Wilson of The Supremes

News 12 spoke with John Scarpulla, a native of Fort Salonga, who was Wilson's musical director for four years and who now works for Diana Ross.

News 12 Staff

Feb 11, 2021, 1:48 PM

Updated 1,165 days ago

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Mary Wilson, an original member of The Supremes and celebrated Motown legend, has died. She was 76.
At 3 years old, Mary Wilson left her home in Mississippi to live with her aunt and uncle in the projects in Detroit. Among her friends in that neighborhood was Diana Ross.
They would be the founding members of The Supremes, one of the biggest groups of the Motown era. Her millions of fans and those in the music industry, including many on Long Island, are remembering her.
News 12 spoke with John Scarpulla, a native of Fort Salonga, who was her musical director for four years and who now works for Diana Ross.
“She was just the sweetest and most down-to-earth woman you can imagine. For me, meeting her -- I'm standing there in awe but she was just awesome,” he says.
Wilson died at her home in Nevada Monday night. No cause of death has been released.
Long Islander Richie Cannata says Wilson reached out to him and wanted him to perform with her at Feinstein’s in Manhattan.
“She wanted to play ‘New York State of Mind,’ which was the first song that I played with Billy Joel,” says Cannata, who described Wilson as “gracious” and having “a beautiful spirit.”
One of Wilson's last public performances was at the Suffolk Theatre in Riverhead in March 2020, just before the pandemic forced mass closures across the state.


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