Nanci Lee Brown was born in Baltimore, MD in the 40s and was raised in Miami, FL, where she began singing professionally at an early age. She moved to CA, experienced a failed marriage and accepted a six-week gig of military bases on Oahu, followed by the
Oasis nightclub in the 60s, where Teddy Tanaka was headlining, following his success in Japan. The owners encouraged them to form an act together: the Tokyo Playmates.
They opened six months later at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas after becoming husband and wife, and toured North America for a decade, performing in hotels, nightclubs and casinos. They returned to Honolulu in the mid 70s, earning a local renown as Teddy & Nanci Tanaka, recorded five albums and did many television shows in the U.S. and Japan, before retiring in the 80s from the stage to raise a family.
Retirement from the stage brought both fulfillment and frustration. Teddy began drinking and coming home late from a restaurant they opened in Kalihi. Nanci was teaching I.C.F. at Iolani School and became Hawaii’s first state coordinator for Moms In Touch, Int’l, a
prayer ministry for children and their school. Their marriage was in trouble, so she sought the Lord in prayer. God answered!
The whole family accepted Jesus Christ Easter of 1986 followed by the group’s baptism. Transformed, Teddy & Nanci committed themselves to music ministry, performing for the Lord in Hawaii and Japan in churches, special events, and on television and they recorded their first Christian CD, “Faith, Hope & Love” a Testimonial and hosted “Rejoice” on Hawaii Television.
Teddy was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2013. Nanci left the River of Life Mission to care for him. They went to the Mayo Clinic in MN and surgery in LA, but he
died the day after Thanksgiving in Hawaii in 2014, with family at his side.
Though Nanci could not imagine life without him after 50 years together, she continues working at the River of Life Mission as an administrative assistant. And she continues their music ministry singing whenever she’s invited to praise His name!