It was a war only a few wanted and nobody knew how to stop. It was one of the few times in this century where it was totally clear to nearly everyone why we were about to send millions of men and women overseas to fight and die to keep the world safe from evil. World War II would be the last war of the 20th century where almost every nation in the world would be involved in the conflict.
One of the brightest spots of the war, if there really ever is one, were the USO shows that travelled across the European and Pacific theatres of war. Big name actors, actresses and singers made their way to the front lines to give the troops a reminder that America cared and had not forgotten them.
One of the brightest stars on the circuit was a trio of singers, three sisters, Patty, Maxene and LaVerne Andrews. Their “Jazzy and energetic” style of singing was an instant hit with such songs as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “Rum and Coca Cola” electrified audience overseas and in the States. Even though they were stars in their own right, appearing in 3 movies with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello it would be their numerous USO tours and countless Bond drives that would project the sisters to the status of Mega stars.
Patty was not only the lead singer of the group but also the youngest. She was born Patricia Marie Andrews on Feb. 16, 1918, in Minneapolis. Her father was a Greek immigrant who changed his name from Andreos to Andrews when he came to America. Her mother was Norwegian.
As most of us know today stardom has its own dark side and unfortunately the Andrew sisters were not immune. In a 1974 article in the New York Times Patty said..
“When our fans used to see one of us, they’d always ask, ‘Where are your sisters?’ Every time we got an award, it was just one award for the three of us.” This could be irritating, she said with a touch of exasperation: “We’re not glued together.”
Patty Andrews was 94 when she died at her home in Los Angeles this week. She was the last of an era long gone but not forgotten.