The Temptations’ Paul Williams Commits Suicide

The Temptations baritone singer and choreographer Paul Williams was found dead today (August 17, 1973) in an alley in Detroit.

Paul Williams was a founding member and original lead singer of The Temptations, until David Ruffin took over in 1963.

Williams shot himself in 1973, just two years after a personal drug habit and failing health forced him to retire from the group, in 1971.

Paul Williams
Paul Williams

Paul Williams body was found in an alley, on the ground next to his car. He had just left the new house of his then-girlfriend, after an argument.

His family suspected foul play, because the coroner stated that Williams, who was found in his swimming trunks, had used his right hand to shoot himself, in the left side of the head.

Police also found a bottle of alcohol near Williams left side, as if it could have dropped from his hand, when he was shot.

Police also found that the gun Williams used had been fired twice, although only one bullet had been used to kill the world famous singer.

But Williams had expressed suicidal thoughts to group members Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin, just months before his death.

Richard Street had replaced Paul Williams in 1971 and Williams began to focus on his own business, Celebrity House West, which was a beauty culture store.

Despite his fame as a member of the Temptations, Williams was in dire financial straits, due to mismanagement of The Temptations’ business.

According to some reports, Paul Williams was in debt as much as $80,000 at the time of his death.

Tragically, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams had cut a single together in the months prior to his death, that was to serve as Williams come back song.

The tune was titled “I Feel Like Giving Up.”

“Now as I look at it, it seems that he was singing his epitaph,” Eddie Kendrick said in an interview.

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