Teresa Brewer was an American pop singer whose style incorporated elements of 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. Born Theresa Breuer in Toledo, Ohio, Brewer died of a neuromuscular disease at her home in New Rochelle, N.Y. at the age of 76.
Teresa Brewer grew up in Toledo, Ohio, USA. Her father was an inspector of glass for the Libbey Owens Company ; her mother was a housewife. At the age of two, Theresa was taken by her mother to 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 married. She was devoted to her aunt, who shared Brewer’s home until her death in 1993.
At the age of 12, Theresa returned to Toledo and ceased touring in order to have a normal school life. She continued to perform on local radio. In January 1948, 16 year-old Theresa won a local competition and 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 .