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 Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory 
 
Alzheimer's (Reuters)
Heart Failure and Cancer (AP)
July 5, 1999
Age 86  
 
Roberta Sherwood 
Roberta Sherwood   
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   ``I had the honor of sharing the stage with Roberta in Miami Beach
   ... when she was a star and I was struggling.'' ``With her help and
   Walter Winchell's, I started to gain recognition. She was one of 
   a kind. Her style and personality will be missed.'' ~Don Rickles
 
 

OBITUARY 
        

NY TIMES

 

Roberta Sherwood, 86, Singer at Top Clubs in 50's and 60's 

By REUTERS 

LOS ANGELES -- Roberta Sherwood, who rose from obscurity to become a headlining torch singer and entertainer in 1956, died on Monday at her home here. She was 86.  

Born in 1913 into a carnival family, Miss Sherwood began her 50-year career at age 11 in vaudeville. Although audiences always responded to her visceral singing style, she chose to stop touring and marry a former actor, Don Lanning, in 1938.  

They settled in Miami, began a family and opened a small nightclub where Miss Sherwood sang her way through the 1940's and 50's, breast-feeding her three sons between acts.  

It was not until 1956, with her husband dying of lung cancer and a family to feed, that Miss Sherwood's career took off. Initially passed over as too old to perform, she sang only at local events until she was hired by a Miami Beach club owner. Soon, people packed the bar to hear the woman with the glasses who banged on a battered cymbal while she sang. The television comedian Red Buttons saw her perform and brought in Walter Winchell, who raved about her in his column and on radio broadcasts.  

Soon Miss Sherwood was earning up to $5,000 a week at the nation's top nightclubs and was signed by Decca Records. She appeared at New York's Copacabana, made the rounds at the major clubs in Las Vegas and opened in Hollywood to an enthusiastic reception. Over the years, she appeared with such stars as Mickey Rooney, Don Rickles and Milton Berle.  

Her style was described by Time magazine as "flashy, richly sentimental, as unsubtle as her crashing cymbal and as unpretentious as her $49.50 dress."  

"I started wearing a sweater because of the air-conditioning," she once said. "I wear the glasses when I'm walking through the audience because I can't see without them, and I don't want to walk into somebody's shrimp cocktail."  

Miss Sherwood's repertory included such songs as "You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry," "Gee, But I Hate to Go Home Alone" and "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing." She was modest about her art. "I just sing loud," she said in an interview in 1956, "and I've got a good ear. I pick up tunes easily. I must know a couple thousand songs, all kinds. All I do is step out there and belt out a mess of songs, no special material, no gimmicks. I just sing and shuffle around. Actually, my act is a bigger strain on my shoe leather than my voice."  

Over the years Miss Sherwood's dozens of hit recordings included  "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You," and "Up a Lazy River." She became a favorite in the early days of television, making frequent guest appearances with Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Jackie Gleason and Garry Moore, and also appearing on "Person to Person" with Edward R. Murrow.  

She is survived by three sons, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.   

    
Torch singer Roberta Sherwood dead at 86 
  

                            (adds comment from Don Rickles)  

                            By Sarah Tippit  

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Roberta Sherwood, a bespectacled suburban housewife who in 1956 rose from obscurity to become a headlining torch singer and entertainer, performing with the likes of  Mickey Rooney, Don Rickles, Joey Bishop and Milton Berle, has died. 

Sherwood died Monday at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Sherman Oaks, California, of complications of Alzheimer's disease, family members said. She was 86.  

Born in 1913 into a carnival family, Sherwood began her 50-year-career at age 11 in vaudeville. Although audiences always responded to her visceral singing style, she chose to stop touring and marry Broadway showman Don Lanning in 1938.  

They settled in Miami, Florida, began a family, and went into the local nightclub business where Sherwood sang her way through the 1940s and '50s, pausing between acts to breastfeed her three sons.  

It was not until 1956, with her husband dying of lung cancer and a family to feed, that Sherwood's career took off. Initially passed over as too old to perform, she sang only at local events until she was hired by a Miami Beach club owner.  

Soon, people packed the bar to hear the woman with the glasses who banged on a battered cymbal while she sang. Television comic Red Buttons brought in Walter Winchell, who raved about her in his column and on radio broadcasts.  

Not long after Sherwood was earning up to $5,000 a week at the nation's top nightclubs and was signed to record an album for Decca Records. She played New York's famed Copa Cabana, made the rounds at the major clubs in Las Vegas and opened in Hollywood to an enthusiastic reception.

Her style was described by Time magazine as "flashy, richly sentimental, as unsubtle as her crashing cymbal and as unpretentious as her $49.50 dress.''

"I dug up the cymbal because Murray Franklin didn't have a drummer,'' she once said. "I started wearing a sweater because of the air-conditioning ... I wear the glasses when I'm walking through the audience because I can't see without them, and I don't want to walk into somebody's shrimp cocktail.''

She also was known for helping young, struggling performers, including Rickles, who said he was saddened by her death.

"I had the honor of sharing the stage with Roberta in Miami Beach ... when she was a star and I was struggling,'' Rickles said. ``With her help and Walter Winchell's, I started to gain recognition. She was one of a kind. Her style and personality will be missed.''

Over the years Sherwood's dozens of hit recordings included ''You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You,'' and ``Up A Lazy River.'' She became a favorite in the early days of television, appearing on ``The Ed Sullivan Show, ``The Steve Allen Show, ''The Jackie Gleason Show,'' ``The Garry Moore Show'' and ''Person To Person'' with Edward R. Murrow.  

Sherwood is survived by three sons, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

 
        
 LOS ANGELES (AP) - Torch singer Roberta Sherwood, known for her recordings ``Up a Lazy River'' and ``You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You,'' died Monday of heart failure and cancer. She was 86. 

Miss Sherwood was a popular singer on the vaudeville circuit from age 11. When she married Broadway showman Don Lanning in 1938, she confined her singing to the Miami nightclub they ran for nearly two decades. 

Comic Red Buttons and columnist Walter Winchell began touting the singer, and she was eventually booked in clubs from New York's Copacabana to Las Vegas' Frontier Hotel and Hollywood's Mocambo. 

She gained a recording contract and appeared on such TV shows as ``The Ed Sullivan Show,'' ``The Steve Allen Show,'' ``The Jackie Gleason Show,'' ``The Garry Moore Show'' and Edward R. Murrow's ``Person to Person.'' 

Among other favorites she recorded were ``Make Someone Happy,'' ``How Deep Is the Ocean,'' ``These Foolish Things'' and ``Stormy Weather.''

 
 
 
       
 

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