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Bing Crosby biography 
 

Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby Biography


Bing wooed fans with a sensuous voice, wit, and good looks.
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Bing wooed fans with a sensuous voice, wit, and good looks.

Harry Lillis 'Bing' Crosby (May 3, 1903 - October 14, 1977) was a popular American singer and actor of Irish descent, whose career spanned multiple generations. In 1992, Artie Shaw offered his opinion of Crosby's place in American culture in these terms: 'The thing you have to understand about Bing Crosby is that he was the first hip white person born in the United States'1.

Contents

Youth

Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma, Washington and grew up with Al Rinker, the younger brother of singer Mildred Bailey, in Spokane. Crosby and Rinker used Bailey's connections and joined Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys after attending Gonzaga University. He sang with dance bands from 1925 to 1930.

Popular success

Bing Crosby came to national attention while with the popular Whiteman Orchestra, with whom he made his film debut in King of Jazz (1930). From then on he was a top stage and radio performer and a top-selling recording artist. His style of singing soon won him the title of 'Crooner of the Century'.

Crosby's biggest musical hit was his recording of the Irving Berlin classic 'White Christmas'. He first sang the song in 1942, and it became one of the best-selling recordings of all time. He collected 21 other gold records, including 'I'll Be Home for Christmas', 'Too-Ra-Lo-Ra-Loo-Ral' and 'Swinging on a Star'. In 1962 he became the first recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. His popularity as a singer was matched by his success as an actor. He appeared in dozens of movies from the 1930s1960s, and received the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1944.

Crosby also had regular radio shows from the 1930s1950s, during the 1940s he recorded many songs with the Andrews Sisters, he starred in a network television sitcom in 1964–1965, and made numerous short films and television appearances.

Crosby's desire to pre-record his radio shows was a significant factor in the development, and in the radio industry's adoption, of magnetic tape recording. History repeated itself when he was asked to do a television show and demanded that it be pre-recorded, which spurred the development and adoption of videotape.

Golfballs for the Scrap Rubber Drive during
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Golfballs for the Scrap Rubber Drive during WWII

Crosby recorded a version of Little Drummer Boy with David Bowie just one month prior to his death. The duet went on to attain cult status and charted well in countries around the world.

Personal life

Crosby was married twice. He married nightclub singer Dixie Lee in 1930 and was married to her until her death in 1952. They had four sons. Dixie was an alcoholic, and the 1947 film Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman is indirectly based on her life. After Dixie's death, Bing married the much-younger actress Kathryn Grant in 1957 and had three more children with her, including actress Mary Crosby, best known as being the woman who shot J.R. Ewing on Dallas.

Bing effectively had two families — his children from the marriages being of different generations.

After his death, his eldest son from his first marriage, Gary, wrote a controversial memoir (Going My Own Way) depicting him as an autocratic and abusive father. Two of his children, Lindsay and Dennis, committed suicide.

Denise Crosby, Dennis' daughter, is also an actress and best known for her role as Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

There has been some uncertainty about Crosby's date of birth, but this has been cleared up by biographer Gary Giddins. (Due to instructions from his family, the year of birth engraved on Bing Crosby's tombstone is 1904, rather than the correct date, 1903.)

Last words

Crosby was a keen amateur golfer who appeared in many charity events. He died after a round of eighteen holes in which he shot a respectable 85. Of his death, biographer Giddins has written: 'His last words were characteristic. Walking off the eighteenth green of the La Moraleja Golf Club, in a suburb of Madrid, Bing Crosby said, 'That was a great game of golf, fellas,' and then took a few steps and was gone'2. Shortly after 6:00 p.m. October 14, 1977, he suffered a massive heart attack.

Crosby was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Filmography

Crosby's films included (an incomplete listing):

The comedy road movies, with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour, including:

Samples

References

  • Giddins, Gary. A Pocketful of Dreams: The Early Years, 1903-1940. Boston, New York, & London: Little, Brown and Company, 2001. ISBN 0316886459
  1. A Pocketful of Dreams, p. 259
  2. A Pocketful of Dreams, p. 3

External links



This biography is published under the GNU Licence






Items to buy by Bing Crosby



The Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth (Piano/Vocal/Chords). By David Bowie and Bing Crosby. For Keyboard; Piano; Voice. This edition: Piano/Vocal/Chords. Artist/Personality; Piano/Vocal/Chords; Sheet; Solo. Original Sheet Music Edition. Christmas; Winter. 6 pages. Published by Alfred Music Pu

...more info



The Way You Look Tonight "By Bing Crosby, Jerome Kern, Rod Stewart, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Buble. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Film/TV; Jazz; Love; Standards; Wedding. 3 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

...more info



Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? "By Bing Crosby. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Standards. 3 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

...more info



The Second Time Around By Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. By James Van Heusen. For Piano/Vocal/Chords. Standard and Movies. 4 pages. Published by Alfred Music. Digital Sheet Music

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Make Believe "By Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby, Jerome Kern, Benny Goodman, and Show Boat (Musical). For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Film/TV; Jazz; Musical/Show; Standards. 5 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

...more info



Moonlight Becomes You "By Bing Crosby and Engelbert Humperdinck. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Jazz; Love; Standards. Piano/Vocal/Guitar. 4 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

...more info



"It's Been A Long, Long Time" "By Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Harry James, June Christy, and Frank Sinatra. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Jazz; Love; Musical/Show; Standards. 3 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

...more info



Good Night Sweetheart "By Bing Crosby and Dean Martin. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Jazz; Standards. 3 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

...more info



Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas In Hawaii) By Bing Crosby. Christmas; Pop; Standards. UKE. 2 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music

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Mele Kalikimaka By Bing Crosby. Christmas; Pop; Standards. UKE. 5 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music

...more info



Silver Bells (Discovery Level 2). By Bing Crosby. Arranged by Audrey Snyder. 3-Part Mixed. Discovery Christmas Choral. 12 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Silver Bells (Discovery Level 2). By Bing Crosby. Arranged by Audrey Snyder. 2-Part. Discovery Christmas Choral. 12 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Galway Bay "By Bing Crosby. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Country; Irish; Traditional. 3 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

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Whispering "By Bing Crosby. By John Schonberger. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Standards. 4 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

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A Marshmallow World By Bing Crosby. Arranged by Phillip Keveren. For piano. Christmas; Pop; Standards. Big-Note. 3 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music

...more info



A Marshmallow World By Bing Crosby. For piano. Christmas; Pop; Standards. Big Note. 3 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music

...more info



The Anniversary Waltz By Bing Crosby. Standards. Piano/Vocal/Guitar. 4 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music

...more info



Don't Fence Me In By Bing Crosby With The Andrews Sisters. Arranged by Vic Schoen. For big band with vocal quartet. Western Swing. Medium. Full score and set of parts. Published by Jazz Lines Publications

...more info



Pennies From Heaven By Bing Crosby. Standards. Piano/Vocal/Guitar. 6 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music

...more info



Silver Bells (Discovery Level 2). By Bing Crosby. Arranged by Audrey Snyder. VoiceTrax CD. Discovery Christmas Choral. CD only. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



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