Plasmatics lead singer Wendy Orleans Williams shot and killed herself Monday night in Storrs, Connecticut. Williams was 48.
The singer's body was found by her former manager and confidant Rob Swenson in a wooded area near the Storrs home the two shared. Swenson alerted MTV News of Williams' death.
Williams, an ex-topless dancer and 9th grade drop-out who had worked in a few of Swenson's blue films in the mid-70s, moved from porn to punk after Swenson began shooting videos for the likes of Patti Smith and the Ramones and decided to build a band around Williams.
As frontwoman for the thrash glam Plasmatics, the mohawk-adorned Williams was at least as well known for her outrageous stage antics as she was for her singing. The band, which debuted at CBGB in New York City on July 26, 1978, frequently incorporated such outlandish stunts as smashing a television with a sledgehammer, cutting up a guitar with a chainsaw and firing off a machine gun into its stage act. Williams
often appeared on stage adorned with little more than bits of electrical tape.
The Plasmatics broke up in 1983 after releasing four albums, although Williams continued on to pursue a solo career. Ironically, one of her best known hits was for a cover of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," on which she collaborated with Lemmy from Motorhead.
In her later years, Williams retired from music and adopted a cleaner lifestyle, becoming a prominent health food advocate while working for a natural foods co-op. Williams also attempted to mount an acting career, earning parts in the film "Reform School Girl" and on television in "MacGyver."
Swenson and Williams had moved to Storrs in 1991.