| Burton Sisters|
| The Burton Sisters are from Logan, in North Philadelphia. Their dad was a "Song and Dance Man" - even a singing waiter at one time. No matter the hardships of the depression, there was always a piano in the house. Moe Jaffe who wrote such hits as "Gypsy in My Soul", "Chanukah Candles", "If you are But a Dream" and "If I had My Life to Live Over" among others was a friend of the family. From this background, the eldest sister, Rae became a singer and a local star in Philadelphia. The two younger sisters, Rose and Evelyn then followed by harmonizing their way to gigs at bar mitzvahs, lodge meetings and the like. Rose (who became Carol in the act) and Evelyn (shortened to Lynn) finally were signed by the Stan Zucker agency in New York. This took them from Fall River Massachusetts to Dothan, Alabama, to six month stints in French Canada where they performed in French. From there to the Borscht Belt, Grossingers, the Concord and the like where they appeared with stars of the day like Eddie Fisher, Buddy Hackett and others. They toured with a USO troupe and were regulars on the radio program "Jewish Cavalcade of Stars" on WMGM in New York. During one of their nightclub appearances they were heard by song writer Bob Merrill who wrote among other things, the show"Funny Girl" and "How Much is that Doggie in the Window". He signed them to a contract along with his partner, Murray Kaufman, known as "Murray the K" a New York disc jockey. Bob got them a contract with RCA Victor. They had been recorded on Banner Records, the all Yiddish label founded by Yiddish star Seymour Reichseit. With RCA they recorded "French Can-Can", "Divided Love," "Please Don't Touch" and "Let Me Go Lover". Rose, nee Carol, met the RCA Distributor in Cleveland on a disc jockey tour and the two became Mr. and Mrs. Jim Shipley, bringing to an end the career of the Burton Sisters. Sister Evelyn continued in show business, touring with the show "Fiorello" and making night club appearances until she married Dr. Manny Fertman and moved to San Francisco. |
| Feder Sisters|
| From the Miami Herald, May 17, 2009 |
Sylvia Feder Roebuck, half of a Borscht Belt-bombshell sister act that evolved out of New York's Yiddish theater to 1960s variety television, has died at 88 -- at least two years older than she would ever admit to.
Once widowed, once divorced, Sylvia lived in Hallandale Beach with her husband of 25 years, insurance broker Norman Roebuck. Having survived tuberculosis and breast cancer in her younger years, she succumbed to lung cancer on April 25.
She and the late Miriam Feder Sloan sang as The Feder Sisters, dark-haired beauties -- until Sylvia went blond in the '60s -- whose career, for a time, paralleled that of the more famous Yiddish jazz singers, The Barry Sisters.
They acted with stage legend Molly Picon, shared billing with Jackie Mason, appeared on TV with comic pianist Victor Borge, sang on the Maxwell House Radio Hour, performed at Radio City Music Hall and recorded two albums for United Artists: Yiddish Maestro Please and Some Like It Yiddish.
They can be seen on YouTube in Catskill Honeymoon, a 1949 feature film set at the Young's Gap Hotel in Parksville, N.Y. (Miriam on the left, Sylvia to her right).
As a solo actress, Sylvia came out of retirement in the late 1970s, said son Mitchell Aronson, a Hallandale Beach printer.
''I remember going to see her in a revue before I went to college,'' he said.
In 1982, she appeared in an Avery Fisher Hall production of From Castle Garden to Sweat Shop.
The sisters are featured in Where Neon Goes to Die, a documentary about Yiddish culture in Miami Beach made by The Dora Teitelboim Center for Yiddish Culture.
In a video clip that can be seen at yiddishculture.org, the sisters talk about studying voice with a Metropolitan Opera maestro Fausto Cleva.
''He took us under his wing and we were flattered no end,'' Sylvia said.
PERFORMED AS KIDS
Born in Poland to actor/singer parents, Sylvia was 3 when the family came to the United States, settling first in California then in Brooklyn. She and younger sister Miriam began performing as kids, wearing costumes that their mother made.
''They were poor,'' said her daughter, Madeline Aronson Friedman, a New Jersey dog trainer. ``Between engagements they worked in factories.''
In 1943 -- the year The Feder Sisters became an act -- Sylvia married Max Kletter, a famous band leader/songwriter known as The Jewish Gypsy. He was 22 years her senior and died six years later.
She and Miriam recorded two of his songs: Zing Feygele Zing (Sing Bird Sing) and Yass. Their style ranged from cantorial to a kind of bebop klezmer. (They can be heard at teruah-jewishmusic.blogspot.com.)
A 1949 Jewish Daily Forward review of Molly Picon's play, Abi Gezunt, at the Second Avenue Theatre, generally panned the show, though it singled out the sisters for praise.
''. . . There is a choice bit of vocalizing contributed by Sylvia and Miriam Feder,'' reviewer Harold Stern wrote. ``The sisters, one of whom resembles Ava Gardner, and the other of whom resembles Ava Gardner on Television [sic], possess by far the pleasantest voices in the show, in addition to being blessed with the virtue of a confident and competent stage presence.''
''My mother had the lighter, higher voice,'' Friedman said. ``She never lost her vibrato. My mother sounded operatic, my aunt more of a stage voice.''
In 1955, Sylvia married Harry Aronson, the father of her two children. They split in 1981.
During much of her marriage, Sylvia put her career aside to raise her kids -- and to battle breast cancer. She also started a home-delivery layette service for new mothers, her son said.
'She'd go to the home and show them what she had, then when they'd call she'd say, `pink or blue?' and she'd bring over what they ordered.''
He recalls as a youngster watching her in rehearsals and working with arrangers.
Her sister pursued a successful solo career as Mimi Sloan -- much of it in Miami Beach.
Sylvia and Miriam ''were going head-to-head with the Barry Sisters until one of [the Barry Sisters] married a very rich man. He purchased for them outstanding costumes . . . and paid for English arrangements,'' Madeline Friedman said. This enabled them to cross over to the English-speaking market faster than the Feder sisters.
Still, said Friedman, her mother felt like ''she went all the way'' in show business. ``People would recognize her years later. Even today, I'll tell somebody older who my mother was and they know.''
Among those who didn't know at first: a widowed Norman Roebuck. During their first dinner date, he said, ``She mentioned that she was in the Jewish theater and was a team with her sister. She was on radio, TV, in one movie. She could have been a real movie star.''
They married in February 1984.
Until a few weeks before her death, Sylvia looked like a movie star: meticulously made up, coiffed and impeccably dressed by Neiman-Marcus. ''She would not walk the dog without makeup on,'' her daughter said. ``Watching her put her makeup on, I was fascinated by it. It was like a ritual.''
Richard Sloan became Miriam's stepson after she married his father in 1954. He recalls how his aunt would take him to shows in New York.
``She took me to see The World of Sholom Aleichem in Times Square. She joked that she took me on my first date. I was 10.''
As an act, The Feder Sisters ''were dynamite,'' said Sloan, who lives on Long Island. ``A lot of people thought they were better than the Barry sisters. [The Feder Sisters] had warmer voices and emoted much better. They oozed the right feeling of Yiddish music.''
Her sister's death in 2006 ''hit her so badly,'' Norman Roebuck said of his wife. ``They were very close. I thought she was going to have a breakdown. I don't think she ever got over it. They were like Siamese twins.''
Sylvia Feder Roebuck was entombed next to her sister at Beth David Cemetery in Hollywood.