She died on September 16, 2009 at 72 from leukemia.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of 2, Mary and her family moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, where she attended the Little Red School House. She dropped out in the eleventh grade to pursue her singing career. Unlike most folk musicians who were a part of that early 1960s Greenwich Village music scene, Mary actually grew up there.
While still in high school, she joined The Song Swappers, a group who sang backup for Pete Seeger when he recorded the album Talking Union, in 1955. The Song Swappers recorded four albums in 1955, all with Peter Seeger. Mary was also cast in the Broadway-theatre show, The Next President.
The group Peter, Paul and Mary which included Mary, Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey was formed in 1961. Their 1962 debut album, Peter, Paul and Mary, included "500 Miles," "Lemon Tree," and the Pete Seeger hit tunes "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" The album was listed in the Billboard Magazine Top Ten for 10 months, including seven weeks at No.1.
Peter, Paul and Mary released 12 albums and had 17 hit singles including "Puff (The Magic Dragon)," "Blowin' in the Wind," "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," "I Dig Rock and Roll Music," "Day is Done" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane."
The group broke up in 1970, and Mary pursued a solo career recording five albums: Mary in 1971, Morning Glory in 1972, All My Choices in 1973, Circles in 1974 and It's in Everyone of Us in 1978.
Also in 1978, Peter, Paul and Mary reunited for a concert to protest nuclear energy. They continued to record albums together and tour, playing around 45 shows a year, until Mary's death.
The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999 and received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.