King Sisters member brought musical clan to showbiz
SACRAMENTO — Yvonne King Burch, who gained early fame as one of the singing King Sisters in the big-band era and later brought her extended musical clan into show business as the King Family, died on Sunday in Santa Barbara, Calif. She was 89.
She died after being injured in a fall, said Tina Cole, her daughter.
Ms. Burch spent three decades with the King Sisters, one of the most popular vocal groups of the 1930s and 1940s. The group over the years ranged in size from three to six members, all but one of them actually sisters.
In the early 1960s she conceived of and produced a benefit concert featuring her sisters and some three dozen relatives, including brothers, husbands, wives, aunts, uncles and children. It was the debut of the King Family, and it led to an appearance on “The Hollywood Palace” in 1964. Strong fan response in turn led to a special, and later to two variety series between 1965 and 1969, as well as a number of other television appearances.
The extended family, which also included the King Cousins and the King Kiddies, toured extensively and recorded five albums for Warner Brothers.
The King Sisters, known for their complex and sophisticated four-part harmonies, performed with big bands led by Horace Heidt and Artie Shaw before starting their own ensemble with the guitarist Alvino Rey, who was married to Ms. Burch’s sister Luise. They had a series of hits in the 1930s and 1940s, including “Mairzy Doats” and “The Hut-Sut Song.”
Ms. Burch was married for 39 years to the radio and television producer William N. Burch, who died in 2005. She had two children with her first husband, the musician Buddy Cole, who died in 1964.