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April 20, 2004

Hollywood Reporter

Peggy DeCastro, the eldest member of the DeCastro Sisters, the Latin singing group that gained fame with the 1950s hit "Teach Me Tonight" and was a popular attraction at Las Vegas hotels and nightclubs for years, has died. She was 82. DeCastro died March 6 of lung cancer, according to her manager, Alan Eichler. She and her sisters Cherie and Babette first gained attention in Cuba with their flamboyant nightclub act.

After moving to Miami with their family in 1945, they became protegees of Brazilian singing star Carmen Miranda, who put them in her film "Copacabana." They went on to make television history in 1947 when they appeared on the first live broadcast of Los Angeles station KTLA, performing "Babalu" after an introduction by Bob Hope. The trio, with Babette having been replaced by cousin Olgita DeCastro Marino, returned in 1997 for the station's 50th anniversary show.

The sisters had their biggest hit in 1954 with the Sammy Cahn-Gene De Paul song "Teach Me Tonight," which sold more than five million copies. Other hits included "Boom Boom Boomerang," "Too Late Now," "Snowbound for Christmas," "Give Me Time" and "Cowboys Don't Cry." They also found much success in Las Vegas over the years, appearing at nightclubs and the Desert Inn and Sahara hotels, and working with such entertainers as George Burns and Noel Coward. DeCastro gave her final performance on Feb. 14 when, appearing seated in a wheelchair, she sang "Old Man Time" with her sister Cherie at Boulder Station in Las Vegas. She is survived by her sister and a son, Gene Lilley of Thousand Oaks.

Posted by acapnews at April 20, 2004 8:32 AM

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