The Forgotten Woman Who Threw Hot Grits on Al Green

Written by PlayBack

By Marissa Johnson

On October 18, 1974 Mary Woodson, Al Green’s then-girlfriend threw hot grits on the singer, giving him second and third degree burns. What most people leave out of the story, though, is the fact that Mary Woodson immediately killed herself in Green’s bedroom afterward.

So what kind of woman is so troubled that she would resort to such an extreme and dramatic cry for help before finally ending her own life?

Woodson was remembered as a charismatic beautiful young woman. What Green didn’t know until after her death, however, was that Woodson was a married woman with four children. This is evidenced by the fact that he sent her flowers to her home numerous times. Her husband chose to ignore it, though.

Woodson was known for frequenting ballrooms when stars were in town. She aggressively chased after musicians and was, in a less polite term, a groupie.

Woodson also had troubled relationships with men and with herself.  Shortly before her actual suicide, she attempted suicide by slitting her wrists and on other occasions, she took pills. She once shot a man in the foot for being unfaithful then got back together with him.

So, on the night of October 18, a platonic friend of Green, a flight attendant named Carlotta Williams showed up unannounced. Green told her she could pick a spare bedroom, and she immediately went into her room for the night. Meanwhile, Green came downstairs and found Mary Woodson stirring a pot of hot water. She asked him if they were going to get married. He told her they could talk about it in the morning and went upstairs to change and brush his teeth.

When he turned around, Mary held the pot and threw it on him with all the force she could muster, splattering his back and arms and the wall behind them. He screamed in pain. Green says the pain was so intense he wasn’t really sure at the time what was happening and felt himself blacking out.

Carlotta Williams heard his screams and came running. She turned cold water on Green in the shower on full blast.

While in the bathroom, the two heard a shot then the tell tale thud of something heavy hitting the floor. Mary Woodson, the 29 year old mother of 4, had killed herself. She’d left a suicide note in her purse. It is kind of ironic that she would be concerned about whether or not Green would marry her when she was already married. However, this woman obviously had several issues and she was hoping to escape her life any way she could.

When dating the singer didn’t solve her problems, she escaped the only way she felt she could which was through suicide.

Woodson had a profound influence in Green’s life before her death, however. She told him one day he would use his voice to sing for the Lord. Green laughed off her words and thought that was a ludicrous idea. But, today, he preaches at Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis.


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