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Phyllis McGuire (1931–2020), singer with the McGuire Sisters

by Linnea Crowther

Phyllis McGuire was the last living member of the McGuire Sisters, the pop singing group that had hits including “Sincerely” and “Sugartime.”

The McGuire Sisters

McGuire began singing with her sisters, Christine (1926—2019) and Dorothy (1928—2012), when she was just a small child. They began singing at church and their audience grew over the years until they signed a record deal in 1952. The youngest sister, McGuire became the group’s lead singer as they topped the charts with their sweet harmonies. The McGuire Sisters had No. 1 hits with “Sincerely” in 1955 and “Sugartime” in 1957, as well as many other Top 40 hits. McGuire notoriously became romantically involved with crime boss Sam Giancana, though she said she knew nothing about his criminal activities. The relationship damaged the group’s public image, and they disbanded in 1968. McGuire embarked on a solo career, though she often returned to perform with her sisters, including for five U.S. presidents and Queen Elizabeth II.

McGuire on her upbringing

“We were middle-class. My father worked for forty-six years for Armco Steel. He made steel before there were jet furnaces, working at an open hearth, shoveling in the pig iron. He wore safety shoes and long thick underwear, safety shirts and gloves, and a hard hat. At night after work, his clothes were coated with salt from his sweat. When my sisters and I started making money, we asked our parents what they owed, and we paid off everything. We made my father retire, and ordered a custom-made Cadillac with a gold plaque on it that said, FOR ASA AND LILLIE McGUIRE, FROM DOROTHY, CHRISTINE, AND PHYLLIS. We sent them all over the world.” —from a 1989 interview with Vanity Fair

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Tributes to Phyllis McGuire

Full obituary: Las Vegas Sun

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