Born Irene Endyke, January 17, 1918, in Lawrence, MA
Died of cancer, November 1, 1971, in Greenville., NC
Edward “Corky” Cornelius (1941–1943) (his death); 1 child Corine b.1943
Charlie Spivak (1950–1971) (her death)
orn in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Irene was the only daughter of Adam and Bella Endyke. She left St. Patrick’s High School four months before her graduation to begin a singing career which ultimately carried her to the top of her profession.
Her first big band job was with Dan Murphy and his Musical Skippers in 1935, with whose band she became an instant success. She flew back to Lawrence on graduation night for her diploma. Miss Daye was featured with Murphy’s band for two and a half years before leaving to join the Mal Hallett group in 1938, replacing Teddy Grace.
She was with Hallett for only five months when Gene Krupa heard her sing and asked her if she would audition with his band. Early one morning at 4 a.m., after the Hallett orchestra had completed its night’s work at Mercantile Hall, she went to the Arcadia Restaurant in Philadelphia to sing for Krupa. Tired as she was, she sang a number of songs and Krupa found the number one singer he was searching for. He signed her to a contract and she was with him for three years from 1938 to 1941. During this time she made some outstanding records with the band, including “Drum Boogie” and “Drummin’ Man,” and became one of the country’s favorite vocalists. She left in January 1941, went to the Coast and on the 16th of February married Ed “Corky” Cornelius, left-handed trumpet player previously with the Krupa band who had left to join Glen Gray’s Casa Loma Orchestra. Corky had won Irene over in a romance triangle with another Krupa band member, saxophonist Sam Donahue. Not long after their marriage the couple had a daughter, Corine, born October 14, 1943 and Irene retired to become a mother and housewife.
Sadly, Corky passed away shortly before Corine’s birth of kidney failure on August 3, 1943 and at the death of her husband, Irene decided to return to signing. When June Hutton and the Stardusters left the Charlie Spivak band she joined as a vocalist.
This was late in 1944 and some of her greatest recognition as a female vocalist came with the Spivak band. Some of her outstanding records, many of which have become collector’s items, include “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home,” “It’s been a Long, Long Time,” “Golden Earrings” and “I’ll Never Say Goodbye.”
Miss Daye and Spivak were eventually married March 31, 1950, in Greenwich, Conn. Announcement of the marriage was made in a radio broadcast by the orchestra leader at Torrington, Conn., where the band was playing at a March of Dimes benefit. Shortly after their marriage, Mrs. Spivak left the band and she and Spivak moved to South Miami, Fla., where they bought a home and which served as the base of operations for the Spivak orchestra. Irene then spent her time handling the business affairs of the Spivak organization and making a home for her husband when he wasn’t on the road. When Spivak finally took a permanent job at the Ye Olde Fireplace restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina, they divided their residency between there and Miami.
At 11:55 p.m. on November 1, 1971, Irene Daye Spivak died after a long battle with cancer at the William G. Sirrine Hospital in Greenville, S.C.. During the height of her singing career, she was ranked in official music publications as one of the leading female vocalists. One of the top compliments ever paid her came from Bing Crosby, who said, “Irene Daye is one of the finest girl singers I have ever heard.”