Big Band era singer Patty Andrews died Wednesday at her Los Angeles home from natural causes, less than a month from her 95th birthday.
Andrews was the last surviving member of the three Andrews Sisters, the lead singer and sister in the middle of the group. The Andrews Sisters—LaVerne, Maxene and Patty—were known for entertaining the troops during World War II and for their hits “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Beer Barrel Polka,” “Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “Rum and Coca-Cola” and “I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time.”
Over the course of their career, the Andrews Sisters recorded over 400 songs, sold more than 80 million albums, and performed with Benny Goodman, Glen Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Bob Crosby, Woody Herman, Guy Lombardo, Russ Morgan, Desi Arnaz, Bing Crosby, Dick Haymes, Carmen Miranda, Danny Kaye, Al Jolson, Jimmy Durante, and Red Foley.
While performing a USO concert in Italy in 1945, Patty read aloud a note handed her by the commanding officer announcing that the war had ended. At first the 5,000 soldiers were dead silent until Patty re-read the note and began to cry. The soldiers erupted into a roar.
Patricia Marie Andrews was born Feb. 16, 1918, in Mound, Minn., the youngest daughter of a Greek father, Andreus, and a Norwegian mother. Patty and her sisters began their musical career when Patty was just 14 in amateur shows and then moving on to vaudeville before “Singing with the Big Bands” and making fold records. The Andrews Sisters first big hit was “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen”—To Me You Are Beautiful.
Although the sisters appeared in a number of movies, they were mostly used for their musical abilities and not involved in the acting.
Patty is predeceased by her sisters LaVerne in 1967 and Maxene in 1995 and husband Walter Weschler. She is survived by her daughter Pam DuBois, a niece, and a number of cousins.