Sister Act
The singing Andrews Sisters and their pianist Wally Weschler, left, drink a toast at cocktail party in Paris, Aug. 31, 1951, celebrating the forthcoming marriage of Weschler and Patty Andrews, right in this AP Archive Photo. In background are Patty's sisters, Maxene, left, and LaVerne, right while on tour in Europe. (AP Photo)

It is with great sadness that I report the death of singer Patty Andrews beloved husband and manager Wally Weschler.

This news hasn't made it to any of the wire services yet, but Weschler, 88, died Saturday at the couple's beautiful gated California home. He was just a couple weeks away from his 89th birthday.

According to Wally's wishes, there will be no public funeral, service or memorials.

Patty, 92, is the lone survivor of the Andrews Sisters a.k.a. Maxene, Patty and LaVerne, one of the most celebrated singing sister acts in history.

Of the many celebrities I write about, Patty ranks right at the top as a favorite of readers from around the world, who contact me asking about her and seeking news and updates.

Though I've occasionally visited her at her home just outside of Los Angeles, more often, I chat with her by telephone.

Patty and Wally would have celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on Christmas Day.

They announced their engagement to the press and photographers on Aug. 31, 1951, at a cocktail party in Paris given for them by sisters Maxene and LaVerne while in the midst of a European tour.

Weschler had been the singing trio's accompanying pianist following the sisters' 15-year skyrocketing success that spanned recording 680 songs from 1938 to 1953. The sisters also starred in feature films with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello, before feuding caused the act's break-up.

The Andrew Sisters reunited in June 1956 during a splashy Hollywood press conference that included a huge "bury the hatchet" sheet cake for photo ops. Accounts said it was disputes between sisters Patty and Maxene, due to Patty's marriage to Wally (and him also assuming the role as Patty's manager) that were responsible for the feud.

Previously, Patty was married to her agent Marty Melcher from 1947 to 1949. Following their divorce, Melcher married Doris Day.

Following their reunion and mended hard feelings, the Andrews Sisters continued performing together in Las Vegas and on television until LaVerne's death from cancer at age 55 in 1967. Maxene, who later enjoyed a successful solo cabaret career (including performing one of her last at Theatre at the Center in Munster in 1994) died at age 78 in October 1995.

Patty still doesn't talk much about Maxene.

But I think she's happy she made up with her in 1987 for a brief reunion when the singing trio was given their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hollywood's honorary mayor, the late, great Johnny Grant, even got the surviving sisters to sing a couple verses together of "Roll out the Barrel."

The last time I visited with Patty and Wally at their home was November 2007.

While we chatted, Wally was busy opening and sorting mail (while also wisely cutting off all of the return address labels before discarding junk mail) and Patty was watching the 2007 movie remake of "Hairspray," starring Michelle Pfeiffer and John Travolta.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or 219.852.4327.