Christine McGuire, whose pop hits propelled her and her singing sisters to many radio and television appearances, died Dec. 28 in Las Vegas, where she lived. She was 92 and her family confirmed the death, but did not provide a cause.
Christine was the oldest of her singing sisters, Dorothy and Phyllis. They began singing in church in their hometown of Miamisburg, Ohio, but avoided secular music until their late teens, finally adding some pop tunes to their repertoire. They were discovered by local bandleaders and radio stations in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, and became well-known for their three-part harmony.
In 1952, the sisters traveled to New York in hopes of auditioning for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, a TV show that was akin to the American Idol of its time. Godfrey wasn’t around, but singer Kate Smith was, and she booked them for a two-month engagement on her national radio broadcast.
Eventually, the sisters auditioned for Godfrey, won the competition, and immediately became regulars on Godfrey’s top-rated radio and television shows.
The first hit for the trio was in 1953, a version of Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight. The next year, they spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts with Sincerely, a cover of the Moonglows hit. They followed up with Something’s Gotta Give, a Johnny Mercer song that hit No. 5 on the chart.
The hits led to major touring opportunities, and finally they scored their biggest hit with Sugartime, a 1958 hit known for its “Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime” opening.
The sisters became a TV variety show staple in the 1950s and 1960s, but as pop music styles changed, their act grew increasingly out of step. They stopped performing together after a 1968 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The sisters sang only at family reunions until 1986, when they returned to the stage in Las Vegas. They performed at the 1989 presidential inauguration of George H.W. Bush and continued to make frequent appearances together until 2004.
Christine McGuire’s survivors include a son, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and her sister, Phyllis. Dorothy McGuire died in 2012.