Grammy-Winning Singer, Nancy Wilson Has Died

Posted On : December 14, 2018
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We knew Nancy Wilson best for her emotional song, “Guess Who I Saw Today,” one of Nancy Wilson’s signature hits. It told the story of a housewife who casually informs her indiscreet husband that she saw him during his afternoon tryst.  Nancy Wilson, the award-winning singer whose beguiling expressiveness in jazz, R&B, gospel, soul and pop made her a crossover recording star for five decades and who also had a prolific career as an actress, activist and commercial spokeswoman, died yesterday, December 13th, at her home in Pioneertown, Ca. She was 81.

Her manager and publicist Devra Hall Levy confirmed the death but did not know the specific cause.

Wilson, who retired from touring in 2011, died after a long illness at her home in Pioneertown, a California desert community near Joshua Tree National Park, her manager and publicist Devra Hall Levy told The Associated Press late Thursday night.

We Loved Her On The Cosby Show

She appeared on 1960s TV shows such as “I Spy,” starring her close friend Bill Cosby, and two decades later played Clair Huxtable’s mother on “The Cosby Show,” with jazz singer Joe Williams as her spouse.

She Was Hugely Successful Financially

Wilson was married twice — to drummer Kenny Dennis, whom she divorced in 1970; and to Wiley Burton, who died in 2008.

For a period, she became one of Capitol Records’ biggest-selling stars — second only to the Beatles. In addition to making $30,000 a week from concert engagements, she and her first husband, drummer Kenny Dennis, began a management, music publishing, and TV production company that reportedly grossed $1 million a year.

No Funeral Planned

Nancy Wilson used her celebrity to draw attention to social causes such as literacy and education among low-income black children. She also participated in civil rights marches, was a spokeswoman for the Urban League and used her stature in black communities to promote AIDS awareness, prenatal care and breast-cancer screenings.

In accordance with Wilson’s wishes, there will be no funeral service, a family statement said. A celebration of her life will be held most likely in February, the month of her birth.

Survivors include a son from her first marriage, Kacy Dennis; two daughters from her second marriage, Samantha Burton and Sheryl Burton; two sisters; and five grandchildren.