Phyllis Linda Hyman (July 6, 1949 – June 30, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and actress. She is best known for her singles from the late 1970s to the early 1990s: “You Know How to Love Me”, “Living All Alone” and “Don’t Wanna Change the World”. Hyman also performed on Broadway in the 1981 musical based on the music of Duke Ellington, Sophisticated Ladies, which ran from 1981 to 1983. The musical earned her a Theatre World Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.
Prime of My Life, released in 1991, again on Philadelphia International, was the biggest of her career. It included her first number-one R&B hit as well as her first Billboard Top 100 hit, “Don’t Wanna Change the World”. The album provided two more top 10 R&B singles in “Living in Confusion” and “When You Get Right Down to It”, and the less successful “I Found Love”. Just over a year later, she appeared one last time on a Norman Connors album, singing the title song, “Remember Who You Are”, which became a minor R&B hit. Prime of My Life has sold 454,000 copies to date. The album and debut single were both RIAA certified Gold in 1992. In November 1995, five months after her death, Hyman’s ninth studio album, I Refuse to Be Lonely, was released, also a journey into her personal life and death. Both the title track and the single “I’m Truly Yours” became minor R&B hits.
Norman Harris ·
Teddy Pendergrass ·
Michael Henderson ·
Patti Labelle ·
Whitney Houston ·
On the afternoon of June 30, 1995, Hyman committed suicide by overdosing on pentobarbital and secobarbital in the bedroom of her New York City apartment at 211 West 56th Street. She was found unconscious at 2pm, hours before she was scheduled to perform at the Apollo Theater, and died three hours later at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. Her suicide note read in part:
“I’m tired. I’m tired. Those of you that I love know who you are. May God bless you.”
She was 45 years old. A memorial service was held at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan. The following week would have been her 46th birthday.