Wendy Orlean Williams was born on May 28, 1949, best known as Wendy O. Williams, was the lead vocal for the American punk band the Plasmatics, as well as a solo artist. Her stage theatrics included blowing up equipment, near nudity & chain-sawing guitars. Dubbed “The Queen of Shock Rock,” Williams was widely considered the most controversial & radical female singer of her day. She often sported a Mohawk haircut. Williams was nominated in 1985 for a Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance category during the peak of her popularity as a solo artist.
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Despite her reputation as a fearsome performer, Williams in her personal life was deeply devoted to the welfare of animals, a passion that included a vegetarian diet, working as a wildlife rehabilitator and being a natural foods activist. In one TV talk show appearance on KPIX’s The Morning Show, she accused Debbi Fields (of “Mrs. Fields” cookies) of being “no better than a heroin pusher” for using so much processed white sugar in her products. Williams had 1st attempted suicide in 1993 by hammering a knife into her chest; the knife lodged in her sternum and she changed her mind, calling Swenson to take her to hospital. She attempted suicide again in 1997 with an overdose of ephedrine. Williams died at age 48 on April 6, 1998, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a wooded area near her home. While some argued that rather than compromise her art, she committed suicide, Swenson reportedly described her as “despondent” at the time of her death. A commemoration was held at CBGB on May 18 of the same year. Several of Wendy’s former Plasmatics co-members (Chosei Funahara, Richie Stotts, Wes Beech, Stu Deutsch, Jean Beauvoir & possibly TC Tolliver) played a six-song set with 4 of them handling the vocals.
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