So that’s it. The third and youngest miniskirted, go-go booted Del Rubio has left the planet to rejoin the act. Normally I’m really sad when a friend of mine passes away. Trust me, I’m upset about Milly, but as the Del Rubio’s themselves were fond of saying, they were one person with three heads. And now they are back together as one.

Milly passed away Thursday night. The last time I saw her was this last Valentine’s Day when I delivered the hundreds and hundreds of cards, many of them handmade, that people sent to me, many of those via Hidden Los Angeles, to give to her. She wasn’t feeling especially great that day and discouraged me from taking the hundreds of photos I usually do because her hair and makeup weren’t perfect. Not that mine are in this photo with Milly from 1996 after a day in the sun on the roof of the triplets’ mobile home.

This was the last photo I have of Milly, taken about a year and a half ago when I saw her and we discussed that if she started playing her guitar again I would throw a big party to present her.

I had the honor of delivering the eulogies when the first two triplets passed, Eadie in 1996 and Elena in 2001. Immediately after Eadie passed, the remaining two, whose lives had always been enriched and enlightened by the performances they did, announced they never wanted to perform again. I tried to pull them back into it for a couple years, telling them that the reason audiences loved them would not disappear because there was one less sister. But they would have none of it. As you can imagine, that worsened for Milly when Elena left to join Eadie.

I can’t imagine that the world will ever again see something as magnificent and innocent as The Del Rubio Triplets. They were completely unaware that they were somewhat of an oddity and lived to entertain and make people laugh. Although people who were seeing them for the first time may have started out laughing because they had never quite seen anyone who looked or sounded like The Del Rubio’s, they were always won over and went home uplifted, adoring the triplets and remaining eternal fans.

The Del Rubio’s were massive part of my life. I always lived to combine high and low elements of art. I met the Del Rubio’s after my songs had already sold over 30 million records, but to have the opportunity to hear my hits performed Del Rubio style was the biggest reward of all to a budding kitsch lover such as myself. The very first time I ever presented them to the public they did a duet of “Neutron Dance” with Ruth Pointer, who sang lead on the hit record that was then number 6 on the Hot 100 chart. That was honestly the peak moment of a lifetime devoted to the pursuit of Kitsch meets Art, a musical highlight equal to winning a Grammy for the song, which was part of the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, that same year.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Del Rubio Triplets, you can get a crash course here. And here.

There’s a fund established for Milly and her sisters at the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation in Wytheville, VA., which you can make donations in Milly’s memory to here. You may not know who Edith Bolling Wilson is. She was the wife of Pres. Woodrow Wilson and the great aunt of the Del Rubio Triplets.

That’s right, they had Presidential connections big-time as you can see from that photo taken with Edith Bolling Wilson, with husband Woodrow looking on, at the Woodrow Wilson House Museum In Washington DC. Any of you who saw The Del Rubio’s already know how regal they were. Their presidential link is just one more cherry on the kitsch and musical sundae known as The Del Rubio Triplets.

If you’re on Facebook you can go here to leave a note about Milly and/or leave one here. R.I.P. sweet, blond, go-go booted angel…

26 Responses to “Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – R.I.P. Milly Del Rubio”

  1. colleen golden

    Great story Allee. And you have my sypathy, I know what it’s like to loose an old friend. How old were they anyway? I get sad about their generation leaving us, but it is a part of life I guess.

    • Allee

      Milly liked to say she was 70 as recently as last year, but was 90 when she passed away.

  2. Janelle Palmer Williams

    Loved the Del Rubios and was a contributor to the flood of home-made valentine cards this past February. It’s sad to hear of Milly’s passing. I only hope she had a loving hand to hold as she crossed over. Thank you for the joy, and Allee, thank you for the Del Rubios!

  3. Heatherface

    I just heard. I remembered your Valentine project, I was one of the people who sent one for Milly, so I wanted to come give my condolences on your blog. I’ll be sure to visit her grave next time I’m at Holy Cross.

  4. Deli

    Allee — thank you again and again for introducing all of us to the joy-filled Del Rubios and the delicious Jerrie Thill. I’m sure your divine stable of fabulous broads are all jamming together up there…!

  5. China

    Aw shucks, the Del Rubio triplets were one of the things I most looked forward to whenever I watched Pee Wee’s Playhouse, even as a small kid. There’s truly no other group like ’em. Sad to see this, but glad Milly was at very least sent off with a big stash of Valentines.

  6. Allee

    Thank you all who sent the Valentines Day cards. Having people remember her and her sisters was very important to Milly so to be able to give her the hundreds of cards meant a lot to her and me both. The personal messages were fantastic and all the different cards were a visual treat that added a spark that had long been missing for Milly. So really, thank you so much.

  7. Sally

    Ahhhh… Allee…… condolences on the loss of your friend. I remember the first time I saw the Del Rubios on Letterman (I’m sure you had …..something….. to do with that). Was blown away; they were wonderful, from the hair styles, to the clothing, to the music, I knew they were something special. Indeed, thank you, for sharing them with us and the world.

    RIP Milly. Say ‘hi’ to your sisters when you see them, from all of us still on this ‘plane’ of existence.

  8. Brian Bostron

    Thank you for the Valentine “alert” in Feb. and for keeping the public “in the loop”. You are very kind.

  9. Dennis R. White

    I had the great joy and honor of working with Milly, Elena and Eadie during the ‘Three Gals Three Guitars’ era. I remember seeing them off at LAX on their way to a club date in Brussels…one of their first trips after their come-back. Because of the flight booking, Milly had to stay behind while Elena and Eadie went on ahead. On the way back to the triple-wide Milly told me it was the first night they’d ever spent apart.
    As saddened as I am to hear of Milly’s passing there’s a certain satisfaction that all three are together again.

  10. Majik

    Why has her death not appeared in any “official” obituaries? Surely her fans not aware of this blog would like to know she has passed on?

  11. Doreen

    If anyone would like to attend,Milly’s funeral service will be Friday August 12 at 11am, Holy Cross Cemetary in Culver City,CA…Mass will be in mortuary chapel,followed by burial..Milly will be laid to rest between Elena & Eadie God Bless

    • Doreen

      I forgot to say,I had the honor of being Milly’s best friend the past 5 years of her life,and called her almost every day…She often told me that after her death she wanted a museum dedicated to the Del Rubio Triplets so they would be remembered forever..She got her wish,because there is a special room dedicated to the triplets in the Edith Bolling Wilson Museum in VA ,which opened up a few years ago 🙂 I know Milly is happy now because she is reunited with Eadie & Elena whom she missed dearly 🙂 Thank you to everyone who sent Milly a valentine card,and to to you Allee for all your kindness 🙂 XXXXX

      • Allee

        Thanks for the info, Doreen. I’ll spread the word. And thank you for being such a good friend to Milly.

  12. Allee

    For all those interested, Milly’s funeral is this Friday, Aug. 12, at 11 am., at Holy Cross Cemetary, 5835 W. Slauson, in Culver City, CA. Mass will be in the mortuary chapel, followed by the burial.

    In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Milly’s name to either Little Sisters Of The Poor, 2100 S. Western Ave., San Pedro, CA. 90732 or The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation, 145 East Main Street, Wytheville, VA 24382.

  13. Jerry Masten

    Allee, thanks for your beautiful description of these wonderful women. They were our next door neighbors at PVS. Millie was a very special person; sweet, caring, and a non-stop talker. She will be missed by all who knew her.

  14. Paul Burton

    I’m sorry to hear about Milly’s passing; she was a wild and creative guitarist. I know because I am the person who tuned the DRT’s guitars for their first recording, produced by Bill Rhea.

    Bill and I were the ones who introduced the Triplets to a rock audience in 1984, producing a show in Long Beach with the art rock band The Fibonaccis. (We had each heard them at a restaurant in Long Beach back in 1979 or ’80).

    Bill convinced them that a young audience would appreciate them; they were concerned that they would be seen as old fashioned or “kitschy.” They did have rock and pop tunes as part of their repertoire. Bill helped them arrange some more contemporary covers. They were already doing their unique version of Jose Feliciano’s version of “Light My Fire,”

    People loved them and we helped to get them out in front of other rock audiences. Bill got them onto the David Letterman show as well as Arsenio Hall, who fell to the floor when he saw and heard them.

    I know the sisters appreciated the support they got from the younger audiences and the gay community, as well as from Ms. Willis.

    Their old car that they schlepped their gear around in to all the convalescent homes they played should be in some kind of museum. I hope someone takes good care of their old Martin guitars.

    My condolences to all the friends and fans of the Del Rubio Triplets.

  15. Mark

    Years ago… in the 1970s…. I played a club with the Del Rubio Triplets. They were three of the kindest people I have ever met. RIP

  16. Eric Predoehl

    Thank you for this nice tribute to Milly. I co-directed a music video with the Del Rubio Triplets- “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.” Video production took place in San Francisco- one day before the 1989 earthquake.

    With my co-producer Jesse Block, we shot video of at least 3 full-length concerts by the Del Rubio Triplets- never before seen. We had dreams of doing something more – maybe a documentary on the Del Rubio Triplets, but we never followed up on it.

    Reunited at last, they will not be forgotten.

    Rest in peace, Milly, Eadie and Elana.

  17. Freddie Cuellar

    Thank you ALLEE for all the wonderful memories of these 3 beautiful blonde angels. I loved seeing the sisters on TV every chance that I could get. And now I am on YOUTUBE looking at many of the Del Rubio Triplets performances. It is so sad that the last of the sisters has left this world. But I am happy that all 3 sisters are together again and I am sure that they are playing those guitars up in heaven. God bless you Del Rubio Sisters. Thanks for the memories. You will be dearly missed. You have my condolences ALLEE.