Her early life was quite like her fellow Bathing Beauty actress, Juanita Hansen. When she was younger, she too moved with her family to California where she attended school in Los Angeles. And then right after she graduated, she got into the picture business.
Before she was IN the films, Phyllis played piano for them at local movie houses. My grandmother had a lot of movie sheet music that we found later in our attic. I thought someone told me before that she played along with silents, but I can't remember. I know someone in the family did. I still have the sheet music of hers with Valentino on the cover. I will never get rid of that one.
Phyllis must have really caught the bug because she decided to try out for Mack Sennett, why not? He liked her, and she became one of the original Bathing Beauties. And she too must have been quite a favorite of Sennett's because she had a leading role in a few of his two reelers. (They were all cute, how could he favor just one? Can't blame the guy).
Her last two films were 1929's Thunder, which ended up being her and her costar, Lon Chaney's last silent film role. And her last was a talkie called She Couldn't Say No in 1930 with Sally Eilers and Louise Beavers.
She was cremated and her ashes were scattered over New York City. How that works, I do not know...
Phyllis was only married once. In 1929, she married millionaire William Seeman. The ceremony was performed by the New York City mayor himself. The couple divorced in 1945. They never had children.