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Mary Travers, Iconic Singer of Peter, Paul & Mary, Dies at 72

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Mary Travers, best known as one third of the legendary musical trio Peter, Paul & Mary, died yesterday of complications from chemotherapy, which she had been receiving to treat leukemia. She was 72.

Travers died in Redding, Connecticut. Diagnosed in 2005 with leukemia, she had received a successful bone marrow transplant, but died yesterday at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, from complications arising from chemotherapy she was undergoing to further beat the disease.

Travers, a Louisville, Kentucky native, moved with her family to Greenwhich Village New York City in 1938 where she attended the Little Red School House. Never graduating, she left in her junior year to pursue a singing career.

While in high school, she joined The Song Swappers, which sang backup for Pete Seeger when Folkways Records reissued a union song collection, Talking Union, in 1955. The Song Swappers recorded a total of four albums for Folkways in 1955, all with Seeger. Though shy about performing, Travers appeared on Broadway in unsuccessful THE NEXT PRESIDENT a few years later in 1958.

Thereafter, Travers returned to the recording world, and formed the group Peter, Paul and Mary in 1961. The group became wildly popular its renditions of "Blowin' in the Wind," "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" "Puff, the Magic Dragon," recorded in 1963, became an American and British pop culture anthem. The group broke up in 1970, and Travers subsequently pursued a solo career and recorded five albums. The group re-formed in 1978, toured extensively and issued many new albums. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

Travers's first three marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by her fourth husband, Ethan Robbins, two daughters, Erika Marshall and Alicia Travers, a sister, and two grandchildren.

 


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