Betty Lane Harris, better known to denizens of Daily Variety as Maggie Brooks, the paper’s longtime receptionist, died Sept. 21 of natural causes at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas. She was 82.
A native of Canton, Ohio, Brooks began singing on Ohio radio shows at the age of 6. During the 1940s she was the lead vocalist with the Larry Funk Band as well as other orchestras and toured the U.S. extensively during World War II.
She later relocated to New York City joining her brother Stan Harris and singer Eileen Rinehart as the Harris Trio. They performed at some of the smart clubs in and around Manhattan. Brooks also appeared as a regular on “Your Hit Parade” and “The Kate Smith Show.”
In 1953, she changed her name to Maggie Brooks and moved to New Orleans, where she headlined her own radio show, “The Song Bird of the South,” on WDSU.
In 1955, Brooks relocated to Los Angeles, where she began her long association with Daily Vari-ety. Brooks was one of a kind. A fixture of Daily Variety when the paper was on Cahuenga Blvd., she exuded a charming eccentricity and spoke to people (on and off the phone) as though she were delivering lines. Her use of a cigarette holder (a la FDR) and her husky theatrical voice left an indelible mark on patrons and employ-ees.
She is survived by her sister-in-law two nephews and a niece.