Wendy O. Williams

(R.I.P. : 1949-1998)

The Plasmatics

Wendy O Williams, Punk Singer Wendy O. Williams Dies The Associated Press (API) STORRS, Conn. (AP) Wendy O. Williams, whose stage theatrics as lead singer of the punk band The Plasmatics included blowing up equipment and chain-sawing guitars, has committed suicide. She was 48. Williams' former manager and longtime companion Rod Swenson said he discovered her body Monday in a wooded area near their home. The state medical examiner said Williams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Swenson said Williams had been despondent for some time. Williams, dubbed the queen of shock rock" sported a trademark Mohawk haircut and was nominated in 1985 for a Grammy in the best Female Rock Vocal category during the height of the band's popularity.

A native of Webster, N.Y., Williams with her on-stage antics quickly attracted a following for the Plasmatics, who debuted in New York City clubs in 1978.

Police in Milwaukee arrested Williams and Swenson in 1981 after she allegedly simulated a sex act in concert at a nightclub. Charges of battery to an officer and obscene conduct against Williams were later dropped and a jury cleared Swenson of obstructing an officer.

She was acquitted in April 1981 of an obscenity charge in Cleveland filed for performing covered only with shaving cream and simulating sexual activity.

In November of that year, she was sentenced to one year supervision and fined $35 by an Illinois judge for beating a free-lance photographer who tried to take her picture while she was jogging along the Chicago lakefront.

The band made several international tours, was once banned in London, and appeared on Tom Snyder's "Tomorrow" show, where they blew up a car in the studio.

Swenson said he and Williams moved to Storrs in 1991, three years after the group's last tour. She had not performed for several years and had worked most recently as an animal rehabilitator, he said.

She is survived by her mother and two sisters.

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