Buddy Di Vito

Photo of Buddy Di Vito
  • Birth Name

    Anthony Di Vito
  • Born

    March 1, 1920
  • Died

    May 31, 2006 (age 86)
    Sun City, Arizona
  • Orchestras

    Harry James

Though not well remembered today, Buddy Di Vito served as vocalist for Harry James during much of the mid-1940s. Di Vito proved popular with audiences and critics, though he failed to turn this success into national stardom. After leaving James, he returned to his hometown of Chicago, where he worked on the local circuit as both a singer and a bandleader into the 1960s.

As a youth, Di Vito delivered newspapers and studied singing with Russell Brookes. In 1942, he joined the Gay Claridge orchestra at Chicago’s famous Edgewater Beach Hotel, where he was heard over the radio. He remained with Claridge into at least early 1943, and by late 1943 he had become part of Eddie Oliver’s band at the same location. Di Vito’s big break came in January 1944 when James hired him to replace the recently drafted Buddy Moreno. Down Beat reported that Di Vito was 23 years old at the time and unmarried.

Di Vito became a fixture with the James band over the next three-and-a-half years, sticking around through its several reorganizations and his multiple brushes with the draft. Both James and Di Vito received draft notices in early 1944, with James breaking up the band in April. When both men found themselves reclassified as 4-F, James quickly reformed his orchestra with Di Vito returning. Di Vito was drafted a second time in November and left the band, with Billy Usher replacing him. Again, however, he was reclassified as 4-F, and he returned to James, with Usher being released. Di Vito received a third draft notice in January 1945, and for the third time he was reclassified 4-F. James didn’t bother to replace him on this occasion, simply bringing in Jimmy Cook to sub until Di Vito returned.

When James took a six-week vacation in January 1946, Di Vito kept busy with a series of one nighters, including a run at the Silver Frolics club in Chicago with singing cousin Mike Di Vito. James announced another six-week break in November which eventually dragged on for five-and-a-half months. During this extended vacation, Buddy again worked solo until James finally reorganized in April. According to one review, Di Vito was so well-received in Milwaukee as a single that he had to beg off after five encores.

Post-Band Years

During his time with James, Di Vito placed high in several reader and professional polls, including second place in the category of best male band vocalist in Down Beat’s 1944 contest. He remained with James until December 1947, when he finally went out on his own. Returning to Chicago, he debuted an eleven-piece orchestra in May 1948 which played the Upper Midwest and northern Great Plains region. Female vocalists included Jean Charles, Loretta Downes, and Gloria Van. The outfit was active through mid-1949 but by July of that year had disbanded.

Di Vito continued to sing in the Chicago area through at least 1966, briefly forming a new orchestra in 1956 which remained active through early 1958. He recorded on Tower Records in 1951, the Chance label in late 1953, and the Trio and Carol labels in 1954. Di Vito co-wrote his 1954 Trio recording “Give Me Your Heart for Christmas.”

Di Vito eventually settled in Los Angeles and later retired to Arizona. In 1979, he married Mildred Martin in Las Vegas. Buddy Di Vito passed away in 2006 at age 86.

Di Vito’s last name proved difficult for the press and record labels, who variously misspelled it De Vito, Devito, DiVito, or Divito.


  1. “On the Air: Gay Claridge.” Billboard 8 Aug. 1942: 20.
  2. “On the Air: Gay Claridge.” Billboard 6 Mar. 1943: 22.
  3. “Horn Changes Vocalists; Hint HJ Near Draft.” Down Beat 15 Feb. 1944: 3.
  4. “Bands Dug by the Beat: Harry James.” Down Beat 15 Jun. 1944: 15.
  5. “De Vito Put Through Second Army Check.” Down Beat 15 Sep. 1944: 2.
  6. “Buddy DeVito Rejoins Horn.” Down Beat 1 Nov. 1944: 1.
  7. “Billy Usher to Sing for James.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1944: 1.
  8. “Male Singer (With Band).” Down Beat 1 Jan. 1945: 13.
  9. “James to Take Over Pabst Summer Airer.” Down Beat 15 Feb. 1945: 14.
  10. “Army Rejects Two Vocalists.” Down Beat 1 Mar. 1945: 6.
  11. “James Vacations 7 Weeks.” Billboard 6 Oct. 1945: 17.
  12. “Buddy Di Vito On Chi Vacation.” Down Beat 11 Feb. 1946: 17.
  13. “Night Club Reviews: The Showboat, Milwaukee.” Billboard 18 Jan. 1947: 36.
  14. “On the Stand: Harry James.” Billboard 31 May 1947: 23.
  15. “On the Stand: Harry James.” Billboard 25 Oct. 1947: 36.
  16. “Music as Written.” Billboard 27 Dec. 1947: 21.
  17. Hallock, Ted. “Jazz Drops A-Bomb As Chi. Ops Scream.” Down Beat 31 Dec. 1947: 4.
  18. “Leads Band.” Down Beat 6 May 1948: 16.
  19. Hallock, Ted. “Chicago Band Briefs.” Down Beat 10 May 1948: 4.
  20. “On His Own.” Down Beat 2 Jun. 1948: 2.
  21. “Music as Written.” Billboard 17 Jul. 1948: 20.
  22. “Chicago Band Briefs.” Down Beat 3 Nov. 1948: 5.
  23. Advertisement. “Buddy DiVito.” Down Beat 6 Nov. 1948: 45.
  24. “Two Scrambles Appear In Poll.” Down Beat 15 Dec. 1948: 12.
  25. “Music as Written.” Billboard 22 Jan. 1949: 20.
  26. “New Numbers.” Down Beat 28 Jan. 1949: 10.
  27. Harris, Pat. “Chicago Band Briefs.” Down Beat 22 Apr. 1949: 4.
  28. Galli, Tony. “Temple Band A Top Crew.” Down Beat 29 Jul. 1949: 6.
  29. “Music as Written.” Billboard 6 Aug. 1949: 33.
  30. Harris, Pat. “Chicago Band Briefs.” Down Beat 21 Oct. 1949: 4.
  31. Tracy, Jack. “Chicago Band Briefs.” Down Beat 13 Jul. 1951: 6.
  32. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 1 Sep. 1951: 76.
  33. “Modern Shipping Disks to 35 Distribs For New Subsidiary.” Billboard 15 Dec. 1951: 22.
  34. “Strictly Ad Lib: Chicago.” Down Beat 28 Jan. 1953: 3.
  35. “Popular Record Reviews.” Billboard 13 Feb. 1954: 56.
  36. “Music as Written.” Billboard 16 Oct. 1954: 24.
  37. “Popular Records: Vocalists.” Billboard 29 Dec. 1954: 11.
  38. “Buddy's Back.” Austin News [Chicago, Illinois] 1 Aug. 1956: 14G.
  39. “The Shillelagh.” Arlington Heights Herald [Arlington Heights, Illinois] 13 Mar. 1958: n.p.
  40. Schikel, Steve. “Around 'n' About.” Austin News [Chicago, Illinois] 15 Oct. 1958: 24G.
  41. “Paar's Lady Of Comedy At Colomb's Now.” Economist [Chicago, Illinois] 30 Mar. 1960: n.p.
  42. Advertisement. “Nic'Ondro's Supper Club.” Park Forest Star [Park Forest, Illinois] 8 Feb. 1962: 39.
  43. Advertisement. “Lake Lounge.” Bellwood Star-Sentinel [Melrose Park, Illinois] 29 Dec. 1966: 12.
  44. “Nevada Marriage Index, 1956-2005,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VVZL-DG3 : 20 September 2019), Anthony Buddy Divito and Mildred Maxine Martin, 1979.
  45. “United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JGX7-PJ8 : 11 January 2021), Anthony Di Vito, 31 May 2006; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  46. “United States Public Records, 1970-2009,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KR8F-L7K : 3 December 2019), Buddy A Divito, 1996.