Betty and Ilene Brewer

Betty and Ilene Brewer

KFBK stars are among the long list of entertainment features scheduled to be presented at the President’s Birthday Ball which will open at 8 o’clock tonight in the memorial auditorium. The Brewer sister, Betty, left, and Ilene, shown in the upper photo, will present several of their blues songs.

1937. Courtesy of Shirley Cooper Castle.

Betty and Ilene Brewer were the daughters of Albert Lafayette Brewer b. 1894 Feb in Missouri, and Lena b. abt. 1905 in Kansas. Albert was a son of John David Brewer and Eva Hall, John David being a son of David Nathaniel Brewer and Delana Fowler. Betty and Ilene were thus second cousins with my father, and first cousins once removed with grandmother Dorothy Noyes.

Shirley Cooper Castle wrote me about the girls and their brother, Sonny:

“Betty, Sonny, and Ilene started singing (blues and gospel) at local places like the churches, contests and such. They went on the road and started building up their reps and the family moved to CA where Betty got her movie contract. The group went onto the road as singers also in that period of time and ate some bad food while on a road trip which caused the death of Sonny. Ilene made I think 1 more picture but Betty was in several with a lot of the big name stars of the day (early 1940’s). She was being groomed as a child star and then for some reason it just ended. I do not know if she just was not a good actress or if some other reason was the cause of her not having a long movie career. She did however work on Broadway, sang in major bands, did TV commercials and believe she was on a early Bill Cullin TV show in the 50’s. Much was made in the papers of the fact that Betty was her own manager at such a early age. One of the newspaper clippings I had that burnt was about Betty singing for the president at some affair or another. Another cousin who was a singer was Theresa Brewer who performed with the big bands, record contracts and performed on TV a time or two. “

Betty’s film and TV credits at the imdb website are unreliable and confused with another Betty Brewer who was born in Hot Springs, AR in 1922, the daughter of Howell and Lillian Brewer. This other Betty Brewer was also an actress and singer and her family informs me that she was the one who was on the Bill Cullen show.

According to IMDB, Elizabeth “Betty” was born Virginia on November 14 1924 at Joplin, Missouri, Ilene was born abt 1927. The Moviekids website gives Sonny’s name as Monte Robert, and that he was born in Lamar Colorado on May 12 1932 and died April 21 1942 in Hollywood. The 1930 census shows also an older sister named Violet.

506/75/97 BREWER Albert head rent $13 36 marred at 21 b. MO parents b.MO Steel man, State Bridge, wages, Veteran
Lena 25 married at 15 b. KS parents b. MO
Violet 7 b. MO father b. MO mother b. KS
Virgina 6 b. MO father b. MO mother b. KS
Ilene 3 and 6/12 b. MO father b. MO mother b. KS

Albert died 1946 in a car accident.

brewerea_r

The above picture I have labeled as being Betty, but I’m uncertain as to whether it is her or her sister. I seem to recollect the individual (a relation of Betty’s) as being uncertain, but believing it was Betty. I have since lost the emails I exchanged with the individual and can’t double check our discussion on this.

Comments
15 Responses to “Betty and Ilene Brewer”
  1. Bethany Wickham says:

    Hi, I just wanted to thank you for doing this blog! Ilene was my grandmother and very quite! I know some of her movie career and have all of her pictures from it. Some things though she just did not talk about very much. The one thing I do remember well was that she said Sonny had died of bronchitis. If you would like any copies of the things I have, I would be more than happy to share with you! Thanks again!

    • jmk says:

      Bethany, thanks. It’s good to hear from a granddaughter of Ilene. If you have something you’d like to share, please do!

    • D says:

      Is betty brewer still alive she is a cousin of a family member in Sacramento?

      • Stephen r says:

        Hello, my name is Stephen. I’m Bethany’s brother from the other post. Betty was my great aunt. The last time I saw Betty, I was around 8 years old. She visited us at our home in Simi Valley, Ca. I’m 50 now. If you find out anything, I would be interested to know.

      • Tommie Mack Couch says:

        Who is family member in Sacramento?

    • Tommie Mack Couch says:

      My Grandmother is Violet Brewer. My Great Grandmother is Lena.My dad Tommie Lynn Couch was born in Joplin Missouri he lives in Sacramento. If any of you have more information on my family I would love you to please contact me.

    • Tommie Mack Couch says:

      I believe we are related…….My Grandmother is Violet Brewer. My Great Grandmother is Lena.My dad Tommie Lynn Couch was born in Joplin Missouri he lives in Sacramento. If any of you have more information on my family I would love you to please contact me. Message me back Im in Paradise , CA Thank You Tommie Mack Couch

      • steve hilton says:

        Violet and Mack were my aunt and uncle. We spent a lot of time visiting them when I was a kid. They were great.

    • Tommie Mack Couch says:

      I believe we are related…….My Grandmother is Violet Brewer. My Great Grandmother is Lena.My dad Tommie Lynn Couch, he was born in Joplin Missouri. He lives in Sacramento. If any of you have more information on my family I would love you to please contact me. Message me back Im in Paradise , CA Thank You Tommie Mack Couch

      • jmk says:

        I’m sorry. All the information I have on these Brewers is on the website, Tommie.

      • steve hilton says:

        I truly loved your dad Tommie Lynn. I know he passed a while back. So sad to hear that he passed. He was a few years older than I am. He was one of my boy hood heroes.

  2. My family (Macfadden) lived on Camerford Ave. in Hollywood in 1938-1940 and Betty Brewer and her family Mom, Sister Ilene and brother Sonny lived in the house in front of us. I have a picture (which I am looking for) of Betty and some of my family sitting on the lawn in front of the house. We also saw Betty in the 1950’s when she lived on El Centro Ave in Hollywood and she had a son named Johnny who I babysat for. I know she had hard times and we tried to help her. I was at her Mother’s apt. in Hollywood once and she gave me some clothes. She was very sweet and I thought she was very talented! We heard that Sonny died of appendicitis because they did not know what was wrong and were treating him for a stomach ache. Our family would like to know what happened to her and her family.

  3. steve hilton says:

    I am steve hilton of oklahoma, formerly of california. Violet Brewer Couch was my aunt. She married my uncle Mack Couch. Tommie, Jim and Judy (their children) are my cousins. I think they have all passed on now.

    • Bethany Wickham says:

      Wow! I’m so shocked at all the responses we have gotten! Please if any family or the neighbor who commented have info or pictures contact me at 951-250-8869 or email bethanyruiz@yahoo.com. I’m so very interested in our family history and knowing more about my grandmothers life Seems as if most relatives are in California, I’d even be willing to come out and meet some of our distant relatives. I’m especially interested in the Blackfoot Indian heritage we’ve got. Thanks everyone!

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