LOS ANGELES -- Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters trio whose hits such as the rollicking "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" and the poignant "I Can Dream, Can't I?" captured the homefront spirit of World War II, died yesterday. She was 94.
Andrews died of natural causes at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge, a family spokesman said in a statement.
Patty was the Andrews in the middle, the lead singer and chief clown, whose raucous jitterbugging delighted American servicemen abroad and audiences at home. She could also deliver sentimental ballads with a sincerity that caused hardened GIs far from home to weep.
From the late 1930s through the '40s, the Andrews Sisters produced one hit record after another. They recorded more than 400 songs and sold over 80 million records, several of them selling over a million copies.
Other sisters had become famous as singing acts, but mostly they huddled before a microphone in close harmony. The Andrews Sisters -- LaVerne, Maxene and Patty -- added a new dimension. During breaks in their singing, they cavorted about the stage in rhythm to the music.
Their voices combined with perfect synergy, their rise coincided with the advent of swing music, and their style fit perfectly into the new craze.
Their popularity led to a contract with Universal Pictures, where they made a dozen low-budget musical comedies between 1940 and 1944.
The trio continued until LaVerne's death in 1967. Maxene died in 1995.
All three sisters were born and raised in the Minneapolis area. After their father, Peter Andrews, moved the family to New York in 1937, his wife, Olga, sought singing dates for the girls. They were often turned down with comments such as: "They sing too loud and they move too much."
Olga persisted, and the sisters sang on radio with a hotel band at $15 a week. The broadcasts landed them a contract with Decca Records.