Who was Emira Eagle Lymon?
Emira Eagle Lymon was the legally declared widow of Frankie Lymon, a famous rock and roll singer from the 1950s. Frankie Lymon was the lead vocalist of the group Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, known for their hit songs such as “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”, “Goody Goody”, and “Little Bitty Pretty One”. Emira met Frankie in 1967, when he was stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, as a private in the Army. They married on June 30, 1967, at Beulah Grove Baptist Church, near Paine College. Emira was a graduate of Lucy C. Laney High School and an educator at Hornsby Elementary School. She and Frankie lived on Ramsey Street in the family home until his death in 1968.
How did Frankie Lymon die?
Frankie Lymon died on February 27, 1968, at the age of 25, in New York City. He was found dead in his grandmother’s bathroom, reportedly of a heroin overdose. He had gone to New York to record some new songs and to prepare for a planned comeback. He had struggled with drug addiction for years, and had been in and out of rehabilitation centers. His death was a shock to his fans and the music industry, as he was considered one of the pioneers of rock and roll and a talented singer-songwriter.
What happened to Emira Eagle Lymon after Frankie’s death?
Emira Eagle Lymon faced a legal battle over Frankie’s estate and royalties, as two other women claimed to be his wives as well. These were Elizabeth Waters, whom Frankie had married in 1964, and Zola Taylor, a member of the Platters, whom Frankie had allegedly married in 1965. Both of these marriages were invalid, as Frankie had not divorced his first wife, Barbara Lewis, whom he had married in 1960. Emira had to prove that she was Frankie’s only legal wife, and that she had his consent to marry him. She also had to deal with the emotional trauma of losing her husband so soon after their wedding.
In 1989, the New York Supreme Court ruled that Emira was Frankie’s only legal wife, and entitled to his estate and royalties. She received a settlement of $250,000 from Rhino Records, which had reissued Frankie’s songs. She also received a share of the royalties from the 1998 movie “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”, which depicted her story and the stories of the other two women. The movie starred Halle Berry, Lela Rochon, and Vivica A. Fox as the three women, and Lorenz Tate as Frankie. Emira was portrayed by Rochon, and she was consulted by the filmmakers for accuracy. She was mostly satisfied with the movie, although she said some parts were not true.
Emira remarried in 2001, to Leroy Bryant, an Augustan. She had no children, but was active in several local organizations, such as the Willie Mae Howard Missionary Ministry for Beulah Grove Baptist Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Richmond County School System Retired Teachers Association, and Augusta Area Cultural Society, Inc. She was also a biographer, and wrote a memoir of her life with Frankie, titled “Why Do Fools Fall in Love? The Emira Eagle Story”. She said she wanted to share her love story with the world, and to honor Frankie’s legacy.
How did Emira Eagle Lymon die?
Emira Eagle Lymon Bryant died on April 13, 2019, at AU Medical Center in Augusta. She was 77 years old. The cause of her death was unspecified, but she had been ill for some time. According to the obituary published in The Augusta Chronicle, funeral arrangements were announced by W.H. Mays Mortuary, 1221 James Brown Blvd. She was buried next to Frankie at Westover Memorial Park. She was survived by her husband, Leroy, her sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. She was remembered as a loving, kind, and generous person, who had a strong faith and a passion for education and culture. She was also remembered as the true widow of Frankie Lymon, and the keeper of his memory.