Cheri DeCastro has passed away

The last remaining DeCastro Sister has passed.  The DeCastro Sisters were a well-known and beloved act during the heyday of the Classic Las Vegas Strip.  Two years ago, Cheri was a panel I put together for the Clark County Museum.  The focus was on Hispanic Entertainers and she kept the audience entranced with her stories, some of the slightly ribald, and her memories.

From the R-J obit:

CHERI DECASTRO Cheri DeCastro, 87, a retired singer, of Las Vegas, passed away March 14, 2010. She was born Sept. 1, 1922, in New York, N.Y., and was a 55-year resident of Nevada.

Cheri was the middle sister of the famous Latin singing group, the DeCastro Sisters. The group consisted of Cheri and her sister, Peggy and Babette. They first gained attention in Cuba for their flamboyant nightclub act. The group moved to Miami in 1945.

The sisters became proteges of Brazilian singer, Carmen Miranda, who put them in the film "Copacabana." The DeCastro sisters performed their three-part harmony on the first live broadcast of the Los Angeles television station, KTLA, following an introduction by Bob Hope.

They hit the big time when their 1954 song, "Teach Me Tonight" sold more than five million copies. Over the years, the "Cuban Andrews Sisters" appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como shows. They built a library of songs including, "Boom Boom Boomerang," "Too Late Now," "Snowbound for Christmas" and Cowboys Don't Cry."

The DeCastros provided many of the bird and animal voices for Walt Disney's, "Song of the South" and became a popular singing act in Las Vegas nightclubs and hotels.

In 1997, the trio performed on KTLA's 50th anniversary show, although Babette (who passed away in 1992) was replaced by their cousin, Olgita DeCastro Marino. Three years later, the DeCastro sisters were inducted into the Casino Legends Hall of Fame as "Las Vegas Living Legends." Cheri DeCastro was known for her great beauty and her uncanny resemblance to Elizabeth Taylor.

She adored her many cats, whom she considered her children. She was known for never turning away a stray. Cheri was preceded in death by her sisters, Peggy DeCastro Carricaburro and Babette DeCastro Cammack. Cheri is survived by her nieces, Kathy Black of Las Vegas, Jackie Karnavas of San Diego; nephew, Jimmy Carricaburro of Los Olivos, Calif.; longtime partner, Trevor Young; and several great-nieces and nephews. Services were privately held. Donations can be made to The Animal Foundation. For more information, please call (702) 384-3333.