Wendy Orlean Williams (May 28, 1949 – April 6, 1998) was an American singer, songwriter and actress. Born in Webster, New York, she came to prominence as the lead singer of the punk rock band Plasmatics. Her stage theatrics included near-nudity, blowing up equipment, and chain-sawing guitars.
After leaving home at sixteen, Williams hitchhiked to Colorado, earning money by crocheting string bikinis. She traveled to Florida and Europe landing various jobs such as lifeguard, stripper and server at Dunkin' Donuts. When she arrived in New York City in 1976, she began performing in live sex shows, and appeared in the 1979 adult film Candy Goes to Hollywood. That same year, she was approached by manager Rod Swenson, who recruited her to the Plasmatics. The band shortly became known on the New York City underground scene, performing at clubs such as CBGB.
After releasing three albums with Plasmatics, Williams embarked on a solo career and in 1984 released her debut album, WOW. She followed with the albums Kommander of Kaos (1986) and Deffest! and Baddest! (1988), before she retired from the music industry. Williams made her screen debut in Tom DeSimone's film Reform School Girls (1986), for which she recorded the title song. She also appeared in the 1989 comedy Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog, and television series The New Adventures of Beans Baxter and MacGyver.
Williams first attempted suicide in 1993 by hammering a knife into her chest where it lodged in her sternum. However, she changed her mind and called Rod Swenson to take her to the hospital. She attempted suicide again in 1997 with an overdose of ephedrine.
Williams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 6, 1998, when she was 48. Swenson, her partner for more than 20 years, returned to their home in the area where they had lived since moving to Connecticut from New York City. He found a package that she left him with some noodles he liked, a packet of seeds for growing garden greens, some oriental massage balm, and sealed letters from her.
The suicide letters, which included a "living will" denying life support, a love letter to Swenson and various lists of things to do, caused Swenson to begin searching the woods for her. After about an hour, as dusk fell, he found her body in a wooded area with a pistol lying on the ground nearby. "Wendy's act was not an irrational in-the-moment act," he said; for four years she had contemplated suicide. Swenson reportedly described her as "despondent" at the time of her death. This is what she is said to have written in a suicide note regarding her decision: