Here is probably what you were waiting for! The Andrews Sisters had an amazing career that spanned many years. Here is a little history and some fun facts about the Andrews Sisters.
They started their career as imitators of an earlier successful singing group, the Boswell Sisters. After singing with various dance bands and touring in vaudeville with the likes of Ted Mack, Leon Belasco, and comic bandleader Larry Rich, they first came to national attention with their recordings and radio broadcasts in 1937, most notably via their major Decca record hit, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” (translation: “To Me, You Are Beautiful”), originally a Yiddish tune, the lyrics of which Sammy Cahn had translated to English and “which the girls harmonized to perfection.” They followed this success with a string of best-selling records over the next two years and they became a household name by the 1940s.
During World War II they entertained the Allied forces extensively in America, Africa and Italy, visiting Army, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard bases, war zones, hospitals, and munitions factories. They encouraged U.S. citizens to purchase war bonds with their rendition of Irving Berlin’s song Any Bonds Today?. They also helped actress Bette Davis and actor John Garfield found California’s famous Hollywood Canteen, a welcome retreat for servicemen where the trio often performed, volunteering their personal time to sing and dance for the soldiers, sailors and Marines (they did the same at New York City’s Stage Door Canteen during the war). While touring, they often treated three random servicemen to dinner when they were dining out. They recorded a series of Victory Discs (V-Discs) for distribution to Allied fighting forces only, again volunteering their time for studio sessions for the Music Branch, Special Service Division of the Army Service Forces, and they were dubbed the “Sweethearts of the Armed Forces Radio Service” for their many appearances on shows such as “Command Performance”, “Mail Call”, and “G.I. Journal.”
The Andrews Sisters broke up in 1951 when Patty joined another group, with her husband acting as her agent. Patty traces the breakup to the deaths of their parents: “We had been together nearly all our lives,” Patty explained in 1971. “Then in one year our dream world ended. Our mother died (in 1948) and then our father (in 1949). All three of us were upset, and we were at each other’s throats all the time.”
When Maxene and LaVerne learned of Patty’s decision from newspaper gossip columns rather than from their own sister, it caused a bitter two-year separation, especially when Patty decided to worsen matters by suing LaVerne for a larger share of their parents’ estate. Maxene and LaVerne tried to continue the act as a duo and met with good press during a 10-day tour of Australia, but a reported suicide attempt by Maxene in December 1954 put a halt to any further tours (Maxene spent a short time in the hospital after swallowing 18 sleeping pills, an occurrence that LaVerne told reporters was an accident). The sisters’ private relationship was often troubled and Patty blamed it on Maxene: “Ever since I was born, Maxene has been a problem,” she said. The trio reunited in 1956 and signed a new recording deal with Capitol Records, for whom Patty was already a featured soloist.
After LaVerne died, Maxene and Patty continued to perform as a duo until 1968, when Maxene announced she would become the Dean of Women at Tahoe Paradise College, teaching acting, drama and speech at a Lake Tahoe college and working with troubled teens, and Patty was once again eager to be a soloist. The two sisters did reunite, albeit briefly, on October 1, 1987, when they received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, even singing a few bars of “Beer Barrel Polka” for the Entertainment Tonight cameras. An earthquake shook the area that very morning and the ceremony was nearly cancelled, which caused Patty to joke, “Some people said that earthquake this morning was LaVerne because she couldn’t be here, but really it was just Maxene and me on the telephone.” Besides this, and a few brief private encounters, they remained somewhat estranged for the last few years.
Maxene suffered a heart attack and died at Cape Cod Hospital on October 21, 1995, making Patty the last surviving Andrews Sister. Patty died of natural causes at her home in Northridge, California, on January 30, 2013 at the age of 94.
So there you have it!! They were quite the trio and they sure did have their ups and downs. If you have not yet purchased your tickets to see The Andrews Brothers, you should before they are all gone. The tickets have been selling fast and you don’t want to miss this show! To get you tickets visit ticketmaster.com or call the Box Office at 248.377.3300. In case you missed the videos last time check them out now!
Casey S. Hibbert©
Information from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andrews_Sisters