*Sonji Clay-Glover, the first wife of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, was found dead early Tuesday morning in her Hyde Park home on Chicago's South Side, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. She was 59.
The office on Wednesday said her death was reported to them as being of natural causes so no autopsy would be performed. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Clay-Glover’s nephew believes she may have suffered a heart attack.
Clay first met Ali through his manager, Herbert Muhammad, back when the champ was still going by his birth name, Cassius Marcellus Clay. They married just 41 days later, on Aug. 14, 1964. But the couple divorced by January 1966 amid conflict over Ali's increasing devotion to the Nation of Islam.
"She was an independent-minded woman and she wanted to be herself," H.D. "Doc" White, Clay's friend and record producer, told the Sun-Times. "She was kind, but she just wasn't a very submissive woman. She was a very, very spirited woman."
After the divorce, Clay – portrayed in the 2001 film by actress Jada Pinkett Smith – returned to Chicago from Miami, where the couple had made their home. An aspiring singer, she recorded a couple of singles for Aries Record Productions, including "I Can't Wait (Until I See My Baby's Face)," and the ballad "Here I Am and Here I'll Stay."
Clay married attorney Reynaldo Glover, with whom she had a son, Reynaldo Jr. They later divorced. She also had a son, Herman Griffin, from a previous relationship.
Last Edit: Oct 16, 2005 19:30:52 GMT -5 by Queenie
Sonj Clay, I admired your spirit. You had a strong will to be who you were and not who others wanted you to be. Your gentle, submissive voice will stay in my ears. Your meaningful song will Stay on my mind, Your words of love are in my heart and As I've Always known your song, I sang it for years to the man I love. One who chose to have Deaf Ears. He can see tho, that its okay. Here I am. Here I'll stay.
Post by Sheri Benson on May 17, 2018 17:13:35 GMT -5
Sonji was an exciting, warm, beautiful, fun, funny woman. She was a model, singer (she had just cut a few 45's and was excited about her career), and her own woman, with a strong personality and her own opinions, sparkled with humor! She called it as she saw it, which made her fun and exciting! My mother, Flo, and Sonji were friends for a long time. They both had an apartment in the same high-rise on Lake Shore Drive in South Shore, across from the South Shore Country Club, where they met and instantly hit it off, as my mother was very much like Sonji. Two independent, funny women. I loved being around both of them together. I last saw her when her son was young..I think he was 4. She was still in South Shore, not very far from where her apartment had been. She was still a spitfire...and she still was very funny! She had a Mercedes that never 'appreciated' Chicago weather and on the previous day it had refused to start... again, so she was still a bit miffed with it. I went downstairs to wait while her and my mother shared 'girl talk'. That was the last time I saw her as I moved to Denver, but I'll love her forever! And, I'll always miss her... she was one of a kind!
Oddly enough, I also met Cassius Clay (as he was known then) at The Hitching Post, a restaurant where I was a waitress. I was a skinny young girl of 15 or 16 who looked 12. He came in crying out loudly 'Here comes the King'! He had two younger guys and an older man with him. They sat at my table in front of the window, but, that is a story for another day!