Bobbe Brox, the last surviving member of the famed singing Brox Sisters trio of the 1920s and widow of songwriter Jimmy van Heusen, died May 2 of natural causes in Glens Falls, N.Y. She was 98.
The Brox Sisters, American-born but reared in Canada, hit it big when they sang in the very first “Music Box Revue” on Broadway, which opened in 1921 at the Music Box Theater. Their rendition of “Everybody Step” was the hit of the show and fostered a long relationship with the song’s composer, Irving Berlin.
Bobbe, along with sisters Lorayne and Patricia, subsequently appeared in the “Music Box Revues” of 1923 and 1924 and recorded several songs from the shows including “Lazy,” “Who” and “Tokio Blues.” They also performed the first London edition of the “Music Box Revue,” which had its West End preem in 1923.
Their success on the stage led to recording contracts for the Victor and Brunswick labels throughout the 1920s. Toward the end of the decade, they appeared in several Vitaphone shorts and three feature films including “The Hollywood Revue of 1929” and “King of Jazz,” where they performed a number with the Rhythm Boys (Bing Crosby, Al Rinker and Harry Barris). Their last known film appearance was “Spring is Here” in 1930. The Brox Sisters retired in the early 1930s.
In 1928, Bobbe married William Perlberg, a William Morris agent who represented the Brox Sisters. Perlberg later became a Hollywood producer. The Perlbergs divorced during the 1960s and she subsequently married Jimmy van Heusen in 1969. He died in 1990.
Patricia Brox, the youngest member of the trio, died in 1988; Lorayne, the eldest, died in 1993.
Bobbe Brox is survived by a son, William Brock Perlberg, and two nieces.