The Ross Sisters were a trio of singers and dancers comprising Betsy Ann Ross (1926–1996), Veda Victoria “Vicki” Ross (1927–2002), and Dixie Jewell Ross (1929–1963), who used the stage names Aggie, Maggie, and Elmira.
They performed as a three-part harmony trio, who also danced and have become particularly noted for their acrobatics and contortionism. Their careers peaked during the 1940s, when they featured prominently in the 1944 film Broadway Rhythm, footage from which appeared in the 1994 compilation film That’s Entertainment! III.
The Ross sisters were born in West Texas, to Charles Adolphus Ross and his wife Veda Cordelia Lipham. Their performances were first reviewed in Billboard in September 1942, when they appeared in Boston in the show Count Me In. The reviewer wrote, “The acrobatic antics of the Ross Sisters stop the show on two occasions. These kids are fresh, and their work is sensational.” In May 1943 they appeared in Post War Revue, presented by Billy Rose at the Diamond Horseshoe nightclub in New York City, where a review praised their “amazing acro contortion work“.
Betsy Ann Ross (also known as Dorothy Jean Ross; stage name “Aggie“) was born on June 26, 1926, in Colorado City, Texas. Her birth name was Eva, but she was recorded as Betsy Ann Ross in the 1930 US Census. She used the name and identity of a sister, Dorothy Jean Ross, who had died as a baby. She married Burnice C. (also known as Robert “Bunny“) Hightower, an American dancer, in 1947. He has been described as an alcoholic suffering schizophrenia who once beat her so badly that she almost died. They appeared together many times on The Ed Sullivan Show. They divorced in 1957, and she married Hieronymus “Rony” Abagi, with whom she had two daughters. They divorced in 1969, and shortly afterwards she remarried Hightower, who died the following year. In 1976, a Betsy Ross worked as a production assistant in a Broadway dance production, but it is unclear if this is the same person. Dorothy Jean Hightower died in Troup, Texas, on November 21, 1996.
Veda Victoria Ross (also known as Eva Vicki Ross; stage name “Maggie“) was born on November 8, 1927, in Roscoe, Texas. She later adopted the name Eva from her elder sister’s birth name, and was known as Eva Vicki. She married ventriloquist Robert Lamouret in Paris in 1950, and had two daughters with him. Lamouret’s act included a talking duck puppet dressed in a sailor’s outfit, and he also appeared in episodes of the Ed Sulllivan Show. After her husband’s death in 1959, Eva Vicki Lamouret married Robert Sherman Hender; they divorced in 1973. She died in Maitland, Florida on May 29, 2002.
Dixie Jewell Ross (also known as Veda Victoria Ross; stage name “Elmira“) was born on August 9, 1929, in Loraine, Texas. Using her sister’s name Veda Victoria Ross, she married English entertainer Dickie Henderson in London on July 10, 1948; they had a son and a daughter. Dixie Henderson died aged 33, on her wedding anniversary, July 10, 1963, following an overdose of barbiturates.