Teresa Brewer (May 7, 1931 – October 17, 2007) was an American singer whose style incorporated country, jazz, R&B, musicals, and novelty songs. She was one of the most prolific and popular female singers of the 1950s, recording nearly 600 songs.
Theresa Veronica Breuer was born in Toledo, Ohio, the eldest of five siblings. Her father was a glass inspector for the Libbey Owens Company (now part of Pilkington Glass), and her mother was a housewife.
When she was two years old, her mother entered her into an audition for a radio program, Uncle August’s Kiddie Show on Toledo’s WSPD. She performed for cookies and cupcakes donated by the sponsor. Although she never took singing lessons, she took tap dancing lessons.
From age five to twelve, she sang and danced on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, then a popular touring radio show. Her aunt Mary traveled with Theresa until 1949, when Theresa wed William Monahan. At the age of 12, Brewer returned to Toledo and ceased touring in order to have a normal school life. She continued to perform on local radio.
In January 1948, the 16-year-old won a local competition, and (with three other winners) was sent to New York to appear on a talent show called Stairway to the Stars, featuring Eddie Dowling. It was at about that time that she changed the spelling of her name from Theresa Breuer to Teresa Brewer.
She won a number of talent shows and played night clubs in New York (including the Latin Quarter).
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