The last of the Andrews Sisters, Patty Andrews, died yesterday at 94. The daughters of a Greek immigrant and a Norwegian-American mother in Minnesota, the Andrews Sisters were an amazingly successful singing act, selling over 75 million records. They were also ardent patriots.
During World War II the Andrews Sisters tirelessly performed for the USO stateside and in Africa and Italy. They were enormously effective at selling war bonds with their rendition of Irving Berlin’s Any Bonds Today. They helped found The Hollywood Canteen and donated their time to perform there, a memorable pleasant stopping off point for sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen on their way to the hell of war in the Pacific. When they were entertaining troops they often would pick three servicemen at random to dine with them after the show. Performing so frequently on Armed Forces Radio, they were designated the Sweethearts of the Armed Forces Radio Service. They recorded millions of V-Disks for distribution of their songs to the troops.
All of this of course took time out from their paid engagements as they, along with the other Hollywood patriots of World War II, did not earn a cent from their activities on behalf of the troops. In a time when America faced some very grim times, with war dead of over 400,000, the Andrews Sisters were an enormous boost in morale for the men who did the fighting and the dying. Performers come and go, but what they did in World War II deserves to be remembered. Ladies, I salute you. May you each now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.