OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Milly, final member of famed Del RubioTriplets singers, dead at 89

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2011-08-25T00:00:00Z 2012-08-24T15:22:44Z OFFBEAT: Milly, final member of famed Del RubioTriplets singers, dead at 89By Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

I'm sad to report the last of the blond, dynamo, singing trio The Del Rubio Triplets died.

While compiling the Celebrity Birthdays listing earlier this week, I noticed Tuesday, Aug. 23 was the 90th birthday of Milly, the lone survivor of the guitar-strumming sister act. However, further research revealed she died in San Pedro, outside Los Angeles, just weeks before making it to her birthday. However, an obit was never sent over the wire services.

According to the wonderful tribute written by reporter Donna Littlejohn and published in The Daily Breeze newspaper in Torrance, Calif., Milly died July 21 after a brief bout with pneumonia.

Littlejohn explained it best in her story: "Born 15 minutes apart on Aug. 23, 1921, in a Panama Canal Zone hospital, the threesome remained unusually close throughout their lives. Devout Catholics, they never married, though they said 'they had offers.' "

As for the the other sisters, Eadie Del Rubio died in December 1996 and Elena Del Rubio in March 2001. They were born as The Boyd Triplets, but opted for their stage name to be Del Rubio, from the color they dyed their hair, since the word "rubio" means "blond" in Spanish.

Milly was buried alongside her sisters at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Calif.

According to Littlejohn's tribute, "The Del Rubio Triplets were inseparable and shared a three-bedroom mobile home at the Palos Verdes Shores park overlooking the ocean in San Pedro."

Though they had been performing together for decades, the sisters shot to fame after Grammy winning songwriter Allee Willis "re-discovered" them in 1985 and their personal appearances as a "curiosity act," sporting their identical thick eyeshadow, cotton candy fluffy hairdos, white go-go boots and costumes with dangling western fringe, easily garnered attention and publicity.

Their biggest "later career hit" was an acoustic-guitar cover version of the song "Whip It" by the pop music rock group Devo.

But it was the frequent television appearances during the 1980s and 1990s that really made them household names, especially their appearances on Pee Wee Herman's TV shows.

During the years, they also appeared as themselves on "Married... with Children" (as aunts of Peggy), "Full House," "The Golden Girls" and "Night Court."

In the late 1980s they were even featured in a McDonald's fast food advertisement.

David Letterman also interviewed them on his "Late Night With David Letterman."

According to Littlejohn, in her final years, Milly had left the family mobile home to stay with the nuns at the Little Sisters of the Poor in San Pedro.

Littlejohn also reported in her obit tribute that "while it wasn't well known during the height of their fame, the three sisters were great nieces of Edith Bolling Wilson, the wife of President Woodrow Wilson."

Donations can be made in Milly's name to either the Little Sisters of the Poor, 2100 S. Western Ave., San Pedro CA 90732, or the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation, 145 East Main St., Wytheville, VA 24382.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

 

 

 

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