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.
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.