The career of vocalist Dee Parker is confusing. There may have been two Dee Parkers—one who sang with Vaughn Monroe’s orchestra and another who sang with Jimmy Dorsey. It’s not completely clear from sources whether they were the same person or two different people.
The first Parker sang with Monroe from April to August 1944. After leaving the band, she worked on Broadway, briefly appearing in the musical Mexican Hayride before joining Star and Garter on the road in Chicago.
In November 1945, the second Parker joined Dorsey’s band. Reports at the time state that this Parker had been appearing as a soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and that she was married to Michigan Theater Orchestra conductor and WXYZ musical director Phil Brestoff. The same source also states that she had been singing under her “own name of Del Parker” and would change it to Dee in order to avoid confusion with another Del Parker. This would seem to suggest a completely different person than the former Monroe vocalist, yet a week later one reviewer referred to her as an “ex-Vaughn Monroe canary.”
Whatever the connection, the second Parker impressed critics. She remained with Dorsey through summer 1947, often dueting with Bob Carroll. In 1948, she recorded solo on the Mercury label. By 1951, though, Parker had settled back in Detroit, where she sang with her husband’s orchestra. By 1952, she was appearing on Detroit area television station WXYZ. Known as “Auntie Dee,” she hosted six different half-hour shows, which each had different sponsors, as well as her own 25-minute radio program. Over the years she promoted and showcased many up-and-coming local singers.