Charlie Spivak was born on February 17, 1907 in Kiev, Ukraine. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1910 and grew up in New Haven, Connecticut where he began playing the trumpet at an early age.
He was a member of Don Cavallaro’s orchestra before joining Phil Sprecht’s band in 1924. Spivak continued to move from group to group, joining Ben Pollack in 1931, the Dorsey Brothers and later Ray Noble in 1934, Bob Crosby and Tommy Dorsey in 1938, and finally Jack Teagarden in 1939.
Spivak formed his own band in November, 1939 (financed by Glenn Miller) and, although his first orchestra failed within a year, his second attempt shortly after was more successful as he kept his band together until 1959.
Charlie Spivak was first married to Freda Braverman (Fritzi) in 1932. The marriage ended in divorce in 1947. He subsequently married his vocalist, Irene Daye, in 1950 (formerly with Gene Krupa's Orchestra). Irene died in 1971. In 1974 Spivak married Wilma H. “Dubby” Lambert, a local singer he met while playing at Ye Olde Fireplace restaurant in Greenville, S.C. Spivak passed away March 1, 1982.
Charlie Spivak was a highly acclaimed trumpet player and well-known for his recording of “Star Dreams.” Spivak created his characteristic soft tone by playing with a mute, a device used to muffle the sound of his trumpet. In his later years he also played without the mute and was praised for this open trumpet tone as well.
See also Spivak, Charlie – Biography file in the South Caroliniana-Secondary Documents Collection.