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The Andrews Sisters Poster

Biography

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Overview (1)

Nickname The Androoze Sisters

Mini Bio (1)

The defining sister act of all time with well over 75 million records sold by which the swinging big-band era could not be better represented were the fabulous Andrews Sisters: Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne. With their precise harmonies and perfectly syncopated dance moves, the girls reached heights of worldwide fame still unattained by any group which followed. They delivered an optimistic, upbeat war campaign that instilled hope, joy and allegiance through song, comedy, and lively movement. They provided a musical security blanket to a war-torn country via records, films, radio, clubs, stages, canteens, and overseas war zones emphasized the motto that America was strong and proud...and to keep on singing and swinging! Second only to perhaps Bob Hope in commitment and extensive USO touring, the girls' profound influence extends even today with such current pop idols as Bette Midler, The Pointer Sisters, Barry Manilow, The Manhattan Transfer, The Star Sisters, and Christina Aguilera all having reinvented themselves in Andrews Sisters' style at one time or another. Unfortunately, while the adhesive harmonies of The Andrews Sisters were intricately close, their personal harmonies were more discordant.

Hailing from Minnesota, eldest sister LaVerne was born on July 6, 1911, followed by Maxene on January 3, 1916, and finally Patty on February 16, 1918. Greek father Peter was a restaurateur in the Minneapolis area; their mother Ollie was a Norwegian homemaker. Childhood was mostly lost to them. The trio's musical talents were quickly identified and they started performing on the road as youngsters, entering assorted kiddie contests and often winning for their efforts. The girls grew up on the vaudeville circuit, roughing it and toughing it with various bands and orchestras. Signed by orchestra leader Leon Belasco in 1937, the girls made their very first recordings with "There's a Lull in My Life" (an early solo by Patty), "Jammin'" and "Wake Up and Live." Subsequent radio work eventually led to the Decca Records label. Although LaVerne read music and was in fact an accomplished pianist, they learned by sense memory, pure instinct and a strong ear. Blonde Patty was the lively melodic leader, engulfed by the warm harmonies of auburn-haired contralto LaVerne and brunette soprano Maxene.

The old Yiddish song "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon" was translated into English for them by Sammy Cahn and the girls walked off with their first huge hit in late 1937 (they were paid a flat fifty dollars and no royalties!). An overnight sensation upon release (it sold more than a million copies), their contract was immediately revised by Decca and throughout the rest of the decade, they recorded smash after smash -- "The Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out the Barrel!)," "Well, All Right," "Hold Tight, Hold Tight" (with Jimmy Dorsey ), "Oh, Johnny! Oh, Johnny! Oh!," and their first two duets with Bing Crosby in 1939: "Ciribiribin" and "Yodelin' Jive" (both featuring jazz violinist Joe Venuti and his orchestra).

The country was absolutely captivated. Universal responded in like by signing them to some of their nonsensical "B" musicals derived purely for escapism as the U.S. prepared itself and became embroiled in WW2. Their first appearance co-starred the zany and sometimes corny antics of The Ritz Brothers in an unflattering ditty called Argentine Nights (1940). The frizzy-bobbed trio were introduced as a sort of specialty act with the songs "Hit the Road," "Oh, He Loves Me" and "Rhumboogie." This was followed by a 1-2-3 punch back at the recording studio with their renditions of the rollicking "Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar," a reinvention of the WW1 waltz "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time" and the soft, sentimental ballad "Mean to Me." Their second film was the above-average Bud Abbott - Lou Costello vehicle Buck Privates (1941), which solidly showcased the tunes "You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith," "Bounce Me Brother with a Solid Four," "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time," and their infectious signature jump hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." The girls vocalized perfectly and stepped in swinging time for two other Bud Abbott - Lou Costello comedies, In the Navy (1941) and Hold That Ghost (1941).

Box-office sellouts on stage and in personal appearances across the nation, they were given their own radio show in late-1944, which continued through 1946, featuring such weekly guest stars as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Carmen Miranda, Judy Garland, Ethel Merman, Rudy Vallee, and many other prominent celebrities. In late-1947, CBS Radio signed the sisters as regulars on "Club Fifteen" (they appeared three times a week for five years with alternating hosts Bob Crosby and crooner Dick Haymes. In 1942, Universal now decided it was the right time to spruce them up and give them a bit more on-screen persona by featuring them front-and-center in what turned out to be an unfortunate string of poorly-produced "quickies." In Give Out, Sisters (1942), they posed as rich society matron types out to better their careers while featuring their big hit "Pennsylvania Polka." In Private Buckaroo (1942), they put on a show for servicemen singing, among others, the huge hit "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me". The plots may have been pancake-thin but they were sure-fire morale boosters and needed war-time tension relievers. No trained actresses by any margin, the girls emanated a down-home naturalness and appeal with a comedic flair that attracted audiences coast-to-coast.

In later films they played everything from "lonely hearts" club managers in Always a Bridesmaid (1943), to elevator operators in How's About It (1943), to war-time factory workers in Swingtime Johnny (1944)_. Universal's Follow the Boys (1944) and Paramount's Hollywood Canteen (1944) were popular all-star productions for the war effort which featured the sisters prominently. With a never-say-die flair, they finished up their Universal contract rather inauspiciously with Her Lucky Night (1945), just as WW2 had come to an end.

In the post-war years, they appeared in Paramount's _Road to Rio (1948)_ with Crosby, Hope and Lamour, which was the highest-grossing film of that year. Still highly in demand in the recording studio, on radio, on stage and in clubs, they had no trouble managing. In the meantime Disney utilized the girls' voices in their cartoon features Make Mine Music (1946) and Melody Time (1948). All three girls experienced down times in their personal lives as well during the late-1940s. There were rumblings amid the group. Maxene and Patty went through painful divorces -- Maxene split with the group's manager Lou Levy; Patty lost agent and husband, Martin Melcher to singer Doris Day, their parents passed away within a year of each other, as did their mentor Jack Kapp of Decca Records. Moreover, the girls squabbled over their parents' estate shares and individual career desires. In 1953, Patty, the group's lead, declared she was going solo. LaVerne and Maxene attempted to duo for a time until Maxene attempted suicide, of a drug overdose in 1954, heartbroken over the nasty breakup of the group, although LaVerne denied the suicide attempt to reporters.

The girls reunited in 1956 and worked constantly for the next decade in recording studios (Capitol and Dot), on stages throughout the world (frequently in England), and in countless guest-star television spots. LaVerne's serious illness in 1966, however, promptly ended the trio permanently. She died of cancer in May of the next year. Maxene retired shortly after and became dean of women at a Tahoe, Nevada college. Patty, ever the trouper, continued on television, in clubs and in film cameos...wherever there was an audience.

In 1973, Patty and Maxene reunited for their first Broadway musical, the nostalgic "Over Here" (Tony-winning Janie Sell played the LaVerne counterpart)in which they performed their old standards following the show's second act; but it did little to repair the Patty/Maxene off-stage relationship, especially since LaVerne wasn't around to foster peace-making tactics, and since Maxene blamed Patty's husband, Walter Weschler, as an instigator in separating her from Patty. The estrangement would last two decades until Maxene's death in 1995.

The two sisters did reunite briefly when they earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987. The group was also inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Patty sang in shows and on cruise ships while Maxene continued soloing and did quite well for a time in such musical shows as "Pippin" and "Swing Time Canteen" (the latter as late as 1995). Plagued by heart problems (she suffered a massive heart attack in 1982), she died of a second coronary on October 21, 1995. Patty remained in seclusion in her Northridge home near Los Angeles with husband Wally for years. After his death in 2010, Patty began a steady decline and died on January 30, 2013, just two weeks before her 95th birthday. Fortunately, The Andrews Sisters' perhaps exaggerated but now legendary feuding can never overshadow their exhaustive musical contributions and unparalleled success during 36 years of performing together.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Trivia (18)

The Andrews Sisters were a popular harmonizing singing group consisting of three sisters, Patty Andrews, Maxene Andrews and Laverne Andrews. The trio was awarded 19 gold records representing sales of almost 100 million copies. They got their start in the Depression-era early 1930s, and their first big hit, "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen", was recorded in 1937. Their other best-known hits included "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" (first introduced in the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello comedy Buck Privates (1941), "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)" and "Rum and Coca-Cola." With the entry of the United States into World War II, the sisters made frequent concert appearances at military bases, later traveling overseas to entertain the troops. Their career also included radio, television and Broadway appearances.
They appeared in more films than any other singing group in show business history.
They recorded 47 songs with Bing Crosby, 23 of which charted on Billboard, including three million-selling platters, "Don't Fence Me In"/"The Three Caballeros," "South America, Take It Away"/"Get Your Kicks on Route 66-!" and "Jingle Bells"/"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.".
Along with Bette Davis & John Garfield the sisters helped found the famous Hollywood Canteen in Los Angeles, CA, a popular retreat for World War II servicemen on leave who were eager to receive free food & entertainment, served & provided by Hollywood's best.
They were nicknamed "The Sweethearts of the Armed Forces" for their numerous USO appearances, as well as "The Queens of the Jukebox Machines" for their countless hit records.
Their first big hit "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon" was a favorite song of the Nazis, until it was discovered that the song's composers were Jewish.
They incorporated numerous ethnic musical styles into their popular songs, many of which were based on melodies originating in Israel, Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, Russia, Sweden, Mexico, and Trinidad.
This musical trio sang numerous commercial jingles for such products as Wrigley's chewing gum, Dole pineapple, Campbell's soups, and Franco-American.
The ashes of LaVerne and Maxene are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, in the same columbarium as their parents. The ashes of Patty, who died in 2013 at age 94, were buried with the ashes of her husband Wally at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.
Entertained extensively during World War II in America, Italy and Africa, visiting Army, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard bases, war zones, hospital and munitions factories. Perhaps second only to Bob Hope in their exhaustive efforts to entertain the troops.
The first female group to achieve a Gold Record award and the best-selling female vocal group ever, with a record that still remains unsurpassed (between 75-100 million). 46 of their hits reached the "Top 10" Billboard.
They initially jumpstarted their careers by imitating the early successful group The Boswell Sisters.
Youngest sibling Patty Andrews was only seven when the group was first formed and 12 when the trio won their first prize at a talent contest at the local Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis.
Covered Miss Lolita's "Sailor" in 1961 for Decca in the UK and also recorded the popular Hawaiian-flavored Christmas novelty "Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas)" in 1950 for Decca in the USA.
They were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Among all three of The Andrews Sisters, Laverne Andrews, Maxene Andrews and Patty Andrews, none of them were biological mothers. Maxene adopted two, one daughter, Aleta Ann and one son, Peter. Patty also adopted one daughter, Pam DuBois.
The Andrews Sisters trio, listed in order, first born, Laverne Andrews's lifetime is the shortest of all, just 55 years. Maxene Andrews, the second born, died at 79 years. Patty Andrews, born last, was 94 when she died in 2013.
October 24, 1951, they recorded the American version of the French song "Maître Pierre" which was written in 1948 by Henri Betti (music) and Jacques Plante (lyrics). The English lyrics were written by Mitchell Parish and the title became "The Windmill Song". The recording took place in New York with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra.

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