About LaVerne Sophie Ruggiero (Andrews)
American singer LaVerne Andrews, along with her sisters Maxene and Patty, was part of the Big Band singing Trio "The Andrews Sisters" which was enormously popular during World War II. The sisters, dubbed as "America's Wartime Sweethearts," had 19 gold records and sales of nearly 100 million copies. Their harmonies and songs are still influential today, and have been covered by entertainers such as Bette Midler, the Puppini Sisters and Christina Aguilera. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Their hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" can be considered an early example of rhythm and blues or jump blues. On October 1, 1987, The Andrews Sisters received a star on Hollywood's famous Walk of Fame for their contribution to the music industry.
LaVerne Andrews was born on July 6, 1911 in in Minnesota to a Greek immigrant father and a Norwegian American mother, Olga "Ollie" (née Sollie) Andrews and Peter Andreas who took the name of Andrews.
They began performing in the early 1930s when the Depression wiped out their father's business. Patty, the youngest and the lead singer of the group, was only seven when the group was formed, and just 12 when they won first prize at a talent contest at the local Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, where LaVerne played piano accompaniment for the silent film showings in exchange for free dancing lessons for herself and her sisters.
In 1937, the sisters scored their first big hit with 'Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.' In addition to 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy', their best-known songs included 'Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree' and 'Rum and Coca Cola'.
Once the sisters found fame and settled in California, their parents lived with them in a Brentwood estate in Los Angeles until their deaths. Several cousins from Minnesota followed them west. The sisters returned to Minneapolis at least once a year to visit family and friends and/or to perform.
The trio officially broke up after the death of Laverne in 1967, and a suitable replacement could not be found.