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Patty Andrews and Maxene Andrews Rift, Broadway Success

Patty Andrews todayPatty Andrews Returns: Bette Midler revives the Andrews Sisters' song 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B'

[See previous post: "Patty Andrews: The Andrews Sisters' Last Surviving Member Has Died."] In 1974, a year after Bette Midler repopularized "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B," Maxene and Patty Andrews reunited for the World War II Broadway musical Over Here. (LaVerne Andrews had died in 1967.) With a score by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, and book by Will Holt, Over Here, a mix of rose-colored nostalgia and social criticism, ran for a year. (Image: The older Patty Andrews.)

Three years earlier, Patty Andrews had starred off-Broadway in the Sherman brothers' Victory Canteen, a sort of prequel to Over Here. The show, also featuring Sherry Alberoni, Lorene Yarnell, and Anson Williams, ran for seven months.

Rift between Maxene and Patty Andrews

Following that last major hit, the two surviving Andrews sisters, both San Fernando Valley residents, went their own way. According to reports, in the two decades preceding Maxene Andrews' death in 1995, Patty Andrews only saw her twice: when Maxene suffered a heart attack in 1982 and, five years later, at a Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in dedication to their star.

Reasons for the rift vary: Some blamed a dispute between Maxene and Patty's second husband, Walter Weschler, the Andrews Sisters' conductor and arranger. Maxene Andrews told the Los Angeles Times that the problem had been a lack of "breathing room .... We ate together, slept together, went out socially together. If we were going someplace, we got in the car together.... You can see how glued we were. There had to be a breaking point."

Patty Andrews, for her part, blamed Maxene, saying "Ever since I was born, Maxene has been a problem, and that problem hasn't stopped."

She refused to provide any more details, apparently so as not to dispel the illusions of those unable to tell the difference between make-believe public personas and behind-the-scenes reality: "I'm not going to do anything or say anything to destroy that image that the people love. I hear that from the people that they love the Andrews Sisters and it's a joy to them. Who am I to take that away?"

Patty Andrews was initially married to agent Martin Melcher. The couple were divorced in 1950, when Melcher left her for Doris Day, then an up-and-coming Warner Bros. star. Andrews married Weschler in 1951; the couple remained married until his death in 2010.

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