Phyllis Sues, a dancer and fashion designer who defied age and gravity with her remarkable feats of physical and creative expression, passed away on October 3, 2021, at the age of 98. According to Find a Grave, the cause of death appeared to be a heart attack.
A Life of Passion and Dedication
Phyllis Gehrig was born on April 4, 1923, in Nassau County, New York. Her first love was music, but at age 14, she had her first ballet lesson and from that day on, she knew that dance would be her life. She learned the word dedication from her mother, a concert pianist, and her father, a judge.
She pursued her dance career in New York, where she performed on Broadway and in nightclubs. She also met her first husband, Alan Sues, a comedian and actor who later became famous for his role in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. They married in 1953 and moved to Los Angeles, where they started a fashion business together.
A Trailblazer in Fashion and Business
Phyllis Sues was not only a talented dancer, but also a visionary fashion designer. She and her husband created the Phyllis Sues label, which specialized in knitwear and sportswear for women. They were among the first to use synthetic fabrics, such as nylon and spandex, and to introduce bright colors and patterns to the market.
Their designs were innovative and popular, worn by celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn. They also expanded their business internationally, opening stores in Europe and Japan. They were one of the first American brands to enter the Japanese market, where they became very successful.
A Survivor and a Fighter
Phyllis Sues’ life was not without challenges and hardships. She and her husband divorced in 1963, after 10 years of marriage. She continued to run the fashion business on her own, until she sold it in 1976. She also faced health issues, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer, which she conquered at age 79.
However, she never gave up on her passion for dance and music. She learned new forms of dance, such as tango, salsa, and swing, and performed them with grace and skill. She also learned to play the piano, the violin, and the ukulele, and composed her own songs. She released six albums of original music, the last one at age 97.
A Role Model and an Inspiration
Phyllis Sues was a remarkable woman who lived a full and fearless life. She was a role model and an inspiration for many people, especially for older adults who wanted to stay active and creative. She proved that age is just a number, and that nothing can stop you from pursuing your dreams and passions.
She once said, “I’m not aware of being 91. I’m aware of being alive. I have no fear of death. I have no fear of anything. I’m so free.” She is survived by her nieces, her great niece, and her beloved dog, Nicko. She will be remembered for her legacy of joy and beauty.