Vocalist Betty Van began her career singing on Los Angeles radio station KHJ at age 17. When she graduated from high school, she toured with Kenny Baker’s orchestra before being invited to join Benny Goodman in mid-1937. She remained with the band only a few months, replaced by Martha Tilton in October. After leaving Goodman, she sang on the nightclub circuit.
In 1939, Van was with Vito Musso’s orchestra. When Musso, a former Goodman saxophonist, turned his band over to Johnny “Scat” Davis in mid-1939, Van remained, but in October Davis decided to change gears from swing to sweet music, and both she and Musso left. Musso formed a new band with Van as vocalist.
In summer 1940, Van sang with Sonny Dunham. Later that year she was with Charles Dant’s NBC orchestra, leaving for a year and then returning in November 1941. In April 1942, Van joined Jack Teagarden’s band, touring with them before retiring to marry a fellow with the last name of Guzzardi.
After her marriage, Van initially settled in the Los Angeles area but later moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where her husband’s career took her and their four children. The family later moved to Guatemala before returning to California. Betty Van passed away in 2005 at the age of 86.
Guzzardi’s first name is not mentioned in any records. ↩︎