Phyllis Nesmith was Mike Nesmith's first wife (of 3). They were married prior to his joining the Monkees (1964-1972) and is the mother of 3 of his 4 children.
|Birth:||Jul. 30, 1946|
Long Island City
New York, USA
|Death:||Feb. 13, 2010|
Los Angeles County
Political activist, social activist and successful corporate businesswoman. Phyllis Nesmith Gibson was born Phyllis Anne Barbour. As her father's long term career was that of an educator and he was in the United States military, Phyllis spent time in overseas countries such as Germany. When she was at San Antonio's Baylor College, she met her first husband Michael Nesmith. In 1963, they were married and settled in Los Angeles. Three children followed, two sons and a daughter. The marriage ended in divorce by 1972. Later in the seventies, Phyllis entered the political world, working for Senator John Tunney, Senator Alan Cranston, and many others as a political aide. In those years, she also took up the cause of Vietnam veterans by raising money, public awareness and ensuring government benefits to ease their returning home. Phyllis would in fact, raise money and public perception to a variety of causes that were important to her. Later,she became the senior vice-president at a L.A. communications company, which turned out to be a long and prosperous career at Winner and Associates. She was married to her husband Bill Gibson nearly 20 years until her death from ALS at the age of 63. (bio by Redpepper1952)
Mike got bored of Texas, and of college, and in 1964, he, Phyllis, and John London packed up and moved to Los Angeles. They were living off of hardly any money while Mike and John were working as a folksinging duo, and MCing at the Troubador. Finally, in late 1965, Mike's luck began to change when he got cast as one of the leads on a new NBC series called "The Monkees". Phyllis took his newfound fame in stride; "I was along for the ride. I happened to be married to someone who was in that position. I think it was very tough...I think it was hard to have a normal life and maintain some stable values. You have a loss of privacy and a distortion of personal identity."
By 1967, Mike and Phyllis were millionaires and they truly indulged in their newfound wealth. Mike and Phyllis are devoted Christian Scientists (if you want to learn more about Phyllis' beliefs in Christian Science, I will soon be typing up an article about it), and they believed that if you desire material things and you get them, then they become less important. Phyllis reflects back on the money and fame; "Naturally there was some interesting byproduct. The fame and money. None of which were particularly important to me. Even as I look back, I realise how unimportant it was to me." During this time, Mike was working 12+ hours a day and Phyllis stayed home to watch Christian and keep their huge mansion in the Hollywood Hills under control. In the 60s, to Monkees fans who read magazines like "16" and "Tiger Beat", Phyllis was considered an ideal mother to Christian and an ideal wife to Mike. The magazines devoted entire stories to Phyllis and her being a Perfect Mom, they devoted articles to her beauty secrets, she was features in fashion spreads, and she gave interviews. Teenage girls everywhere didn't envy Phyllis; they aspired to be like her. She was a role model just because she was the wife of Mike Nesmith.
During the whole "Monkee Experience", Phyllis and Mike weren't into the parties, drugs, and fast paced lifestyle AS MUCH as the other three Monkees, as they had a son to take care of, but they did their share of hanging out with the "in crowd", as Phyllis remarks; "I think probably the neatest thing [about Mike being a Monkee] was that it exposed me to some interesting people. Booted us into an echelon where we met some interesting folks." Phyllis accompanied Mike on his first trip to London where they not only met the Spencer Davis Group and Donovan, they also were personally invited by John and Cynthia Lennon to stay at their home while in England.
Phyllis passed away on February 13, 2010 at the age of 63. Here is an article that discusses a bit more about her life after she divorced Mike.
Phyllis was the most loved and respected of the Monkees Wives/Girlfriends, not just because she and Mike were in love before the Monkees thing started, but because Phyllis seems to be the ultimate mother and wife. She didn't try to control Mike; she wasn't a Yoko, or even a Sammy. No, Phyllis had an aura of being nice. Monkees fans weren't threatened by her, they felt like she was their friend. Also, she wasn't all strung out on drugs, and she wasn't one to get in the spotlight. Phyllis made sure that her priorities were her family and her home, and in doing that, she became a very endearing person. Phyllis is an elusive, yet calming figure in the Monkees history, and she is someone that all of the Monkees female fans can admire, not feel jealous of.