Carlotta Dale

Photo of Carlotta Dale
  • Birth Name

    Carlotta Angela Coverdale
  • Born

    February 16, 1915
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Died

    December 1, 1988 (age 73)
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Orchestras

    Will Bradley
    Jan Savitt

Vocalist Carlotta Dale is best remembered for her work with Jan Savitt’s orchestra in the late 1930s. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Dale lost her father at an early age and lived in the home of her maternal grandmother until her mother remarried in the 1920s.[1] Dale had her own CBS radio program in 1935 before joining Savitt’s WCAU studio orchestra in 1936. She remained with Savitt when he took the band national in 1938. An exceptional vocalist, she once sang on the orchestra’s radio program from a hospital room while the musicians circled above Philadelphia in an airplane.

When Dale took ill in late August 1939, Savitt’s personal secretary, Barbara Stillwell, volunteered to fill in for her with the band. Savitt was so surprised at how well Stillwell could sing that he considered keeping her as co-vocalist when Dale returned. This may or many not have had any bearing on Dale’s decision to leave Savitt’s orchestra the next month, not returning from her sick leave, to take a job with NBC radio.

Soon after leaving Savitt, Dale joined Will Bradley’s orchestra, staying until March 1940. By April 1941, Dale had settled back in Philadelphia, where she sang with Dick Wharton’s orchestra at the Hotel Adelphia and Chuck Gordon’s orchestra later that year. In 1942, she began her own local radio program on Philadelphia radio station WIP as a build-up to a national show on the Mutual network.

A 1936 Billboard magazine announcement indicated that Dale and Savitt planned to get married, however later articles and official documents give the name of Dale’s husband as Pearson Lessy, identified by Billboard and Down Beat magazines as a radio singer and by the local newspaper as a furniture salesman. Lessy divorced Dale in 1938, stating that she preferred a career to marriage.[2] In April 1942, Dale married Edwin G. Dellheim, whose occupation was, according to their marriage license, the “meat business.” She subsequently retired from singing.[3]


  1. Dale’s mother and grandmother were born in Bermuda. Her father was from Delaware. ↩︎

  2. Lessy was tragically killed by gunshot wounds outside his home in March 1942. Reports give no details. ↩︎

  3. On her marriage license to Dellheim, Dale gives her name as Angela Stevenson Lessy. It’s unknown where the Stevenson came from. Was she married to a man named Stevenson prior to Lessy? The license states that she had only been married once before and lists that former husband as Lessy. Stevenson wasn’t the surname of her step-father, which was Fayho. ↩︎


  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. Radio Schedule. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 25 May 1935: 28.
  3. Radio Schedule. The Lewiston Daily Sun 28 Nov. 1935: 13.
  4. “Coming Marriages.” Billboard 9 May 1936: 29.
  5. “Program Reviews: Home Talent Hunt.” Billboard 10 Oct. 1936: 9.
  6. “Savitt Top-Hatters Will Play at Roton.” The Norwalk Hour 12 Mar. 1937: 11.
  7. McIver, Ernest D Jr. “'Round the Radio Dial.” The Free Lance-Star [Fredericksburg, VA] 28 Apr. 1937: 7.
  8. “Philly Tophatters Swing It In Airliner.” Down Beat Jun. 1937: 25.
  9. “Notes for Coming Week.” The Montreal Gazette 20 May 1938: 10.
  10. “On the Stage.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 11 Aug. 1938: 9. Print
  11. “The Reviewing Stand: Jan Savitt.” Billboard 18 Feb. 1939: 15.
  12. “Typing To Chirping.” Billboard 2 Sep. 1939: 10.
  13. “She's Versatile.” Down Beat 1 Oct. 1939: 12.
  14. “Night Club Reviews: Famous Door, New York.” Billboard 16 Mar. 1940: 20.
  15. Flynn, Ed. “Baker Signs 10-Year Glaser Pact.” Down Beat 15 Apr. 1940: 4.
  16. Abbott, Charles. “New Britton Drummer Broken in.” Down Beat 15 Apr. 1941: 21.
  17. “New Gordon Chirp.” Down Beat 15 Dec. 1941: 32.
  18. “Advertisers.” Billboard 17 Jan. 1942: 8.
  19. “Program Reviews: Chorus by Carlotta.” Billboard 21 Feb. 1942: 8.
  20. “Salesman Slain.” Reading Eagle 30 Mar. 1942: 1.
  21. “Final Bar.” Down Beat 1 May 1942: 10.
  22. “Marriages.” Billboard 9 May 1942: 30.
  23. “Tied Notes.” Down Beat 1 Jun. 1942: 10.
  24. “United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT), 1936-2007”, database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2023), Carlotta Angela Coverdale.
  25. “United States Census, 1920&rquo;, FamilySearch ( : Fri Dec 08 02:40:59 UTC 2023), Entry for Blanche M White and Ruby Coverdale, 1920.
  26. “United States Census, 1930”, FamilySearch ( : Wed Oct 04 21:26:04 UTC 2023), Entry for Joseph A Fayho and Ruby C Fayho, 1930.
  27. “Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950”, FamilySearch ( : Sun Oct 15 15:56:23 UTC 2023), Entry for Edwin G Dellheim and Angela Stevenson Lessy, 23 Apr 1942.