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Actress and singer on both stage and screen, SANDRA REAVES-PHILLIPS died on December 29, 2023, at the age of 79.  A family spokesperson, Sandra Lanman, told The Hollywood Reporter magazine that she had been in failing health since falling off a stage during a performance of ‘Raisin’ in St. Louis in 2004 and enduring serious auto accidents in 2014 and ’15 in New York. She died at her New York home.

Born in Mullins, South Carolina, Ms Phillips had her musical grounding in gospel. Relocating to New York, she was a regular at neighbourhood talent shows which led to a contract with Sue Records. Her best known soul outings, released on the Sue subsidiary, Broadway, are  ‘You Succeeded’ and ‘World Without Sunshine’ both of which became  big tunes on the UK Northern Soul scene. She had further soul releases on OKEH Records, Canyon Records and finally Brown Dog/Mainstream Records. Her collaborations with Swamp Dog/Jerry Williams are revered by serious, deep soul collectors- amongst their favourites are ‘Ghost Of Myself’, ‘Rescue Me’ (not the Fontella Bass song) and the smoother ‘I Need You Back Home’.

After her soul career stalled, Ms Reaves-Phillips turned to musical theatre where she enjoyed a long and successful career. Her credits included the films ‘’Round Midnight’ and ‘Lean On Me’; ‘Hot Feet’ with Maurice Hines; and ‘The Late, Great Ladies of Blues & Jazz’ where she captured the music and personas of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Mahalia Jackson. (Sandra’s pictured in role, below) She toured around the US and abroad with the show for more than two decades. She’s survived by her son, Lacy Darryl Phillips, a recording artist, director and choreographer, and her daughter, Marishka Shanice Phillips, an actor, singer, writer, director and acting coach.