SPITALNY, PHIL (7 Nov. 1890-11 Oct. 1970), composer, conductor, and clarinetist, was born in Odessa, RUSSIAN EMPIRE (in present-day Ukraine), to Jacob and Rachel Spitalny. He attended the Odessa Conservatory and toured Russia as a child clarinet prodigy.
His family immigrated to Cleveland in 1905, and Spitalny played in and directed local bands in Cleveland and Boston, including a 50-piece symphony orchestra in one of Boston's larger movie houses. He conducted his own orchestra on radio, in hotels, and on recordings and made a successful New York debut in 1930. In 1934, Spitalny organized an all-girl orchestra, which made its debut at the Capital Theater in New York and performed on the radio program "The Hour of Charm" beginning in January 1935. The girl's orchestra continued performing on the radio, in concerts, and eventually on television; in 1937 the group received the Achievement Award from the radio committee of the Woman's National Exposition of Arts and Industries for the most distinguished work of women in radio that year. Spitalny composed songs such as "Madelaine," "Enchanted Forest," "It's You, No One But You," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "The Kiss I Can't Forget," and "Pining for You."
In June, 1946, he married Evelyn Kaye Klein, a member of the all-girl orchestra. He had one child, Norma (Rein), from an earlier marriage to Rose Swirsky, also a Russian immigrant. Spitalny died in Miami Beach, Florida, and was buried in the Ridge Road Cemetery of Cleveland.