An update on past news

Saturday, August 18, 2001

Teddy and Nanci Tanaka pose with the earliest photo
of them together. It was in 1966, and both were singers
at the Oasis Nightclub. She says she was the "second
banana." Teddy Tanaka says he is retired from show
business, but the couple still performs selected engagements.

Isle singing duo retired
from show biz

by Kelliann Shimote

Question: What ever happened to Teddy and Nanci Tanaka?

Answer: The singing duo first started in 1966 and are now retired. Their show -- first named Teddy Tanaka and the Tokyo Playmates -- consisted of singing and doing comedic impersonations. Over the years, the couple traveled throughout the United States and Japan.

In 1975 the Tanakas settled down in Honolulu to raise their three children.

"It was hard on my health, and it was hard on my family (and) my children," Nanci said. "By the time my last child came along, that was really what encouraged us to settle down and do not as much traveling and performing."

The couple continued to entertain audiences at the Ilikai and Outrigger hotels, as well as being co-hosts for Jerry Lewis' Labor Day telethons and "Televi-Digest," a local talent show Teddy helped produce.

Now Teddy is an investment company representative for the Pacific Rim, while Nanci volunteers at the Christian Fellowship Club at Iolani Schools.

"I am totally removed from show business," Teddy said. "I retired in 1981 when Harmoni was born."

But in 1998 the Tanakas, who are heavily involved with their church, released "Faith, Hope and Love," an album of religious music that was nominated for a Na Hoku Hanohano award.

The couple, now in their 50s, say Hawaii residents still ask them to sing for special occasions.

"We are pretty selective," Nanci said. "Our most recent encounter was on the Big Island," in May.

The Hawaii Kai residents spend their free time walking three miles a day, eating healthy, baby-sitting their year-old grandchild once a week and taking care of Teddy's 90-year-old mother.

"I really feel that every choice and decision that we made along the way ... was the right decision. I have no regrets," Nanci said.

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