The Mamas & the Papas are one of the biggest folk bands in music history, but their time together was actually pretty short. The group was only active from 1965 to 1968 before reuniting one more time for a last album in 1971. During their run, The Mamas & the Papas consisted of the same four members—John Phillips, Michelle Phillips, Cass Elliot, and Denny Doherty—except for about a two-month period during which another singer, Jill Gibson, joined the band in place of Michelle.
Now, 57 years after the band first formed, the only two surviving members are also the only two members who were ever kicked out: Michelle and Gibson. Both singers have since gone through career changes, and today Michelle is 78 years old and while Gibson is 80. Read on to find out more about the last living members of The Mamas & the Papas today.
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Michelle was fired from The Mamas & the Papas prior to the release of their second album in 1966. At the time, she was married to John, and he found out that she was having an affair. So, the band agreed to replace her with Gibson. This new lineup was short-lived, and Michelle rejoined the band two months later. The group’s self-titled second album includes some songs recorded with Gibson and some recorded with Michelle.
After The Mamas & the Papas disbanded, Michelle released one solo album, Victim of Romance, in 1977. She also became an actor. She is known for her roles on Knots Landing, Beverly Hills, 90210, and 7th Heaven, and for the movies Dillinger, Bloodline, and Valentino. Her most recent project was the 2009 movie Betrayal.
Michelle has three children. She welcomed a daughter, Chynna Phillips, with John. Then, she had a son, Austin Hines, during her relationship with actor Grainger Hines. She also adopted a friend of Austin’s, Aron Wilson.
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Gibson was already a musician when she joined The Mamas & the Papas. She was a singer and songwriter and collaborated with her then-partner Jan Berry of the duo Jan & Dean. She was only in The Mamas & the Papas for two months in 1966 but her contribution is immortalized on their second album. At the time, Gibson was dating Lou Adler, who was the band’s producer.
Gibson had started pursuing photography during her time in the band, including snapping photos of musicians at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. In addition, she also creates other types of visual art, including painting, sculpture, and jewelry, and her work has been shown around the world. According to her website, “Her inspiration comes from the sacredness of nature, and archetypal Feminine energy and wisdom.”
Gibson moved around the world after her brief stint in The Mamas & the Papas. Her site explains that she studied art at UCLA and at The Art Student’s League in New York. She later lived in Italy and Mexico before settling in the San Francisco Bay area of California.
Gibson has a son, Mattia Borrani, who is also a musician, and is the guitarist and singer for the band Oslo. Borrani also has a line of kitchen knives. His site explains that his love of cooking was inspired by his time growing up abroad.