Bing Crosby
American singer, actor
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation. A multimedia star, from 1934 to 1954 Bing Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings and motion picture grosses.
Biography
Bing Crosby's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Bing Crosby
News
News abour Bing Crosby from around the web
The paddock at Del Mar Fairgrounds is where spectators gather to view the ... - Westside Today
Google News - over 5 years
Known for the slogan, “Where the surf meets the turf,” the park was originally made famous by the likes of old Hollywood stars who frequented the race scene, such as Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante and Oliver Hardy. Race season dominates this town from the
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Pets plus comedy? That's entertainment - The Spokesman Review (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
9, 7 pm to the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague. Tickets are $17 for kids 12 and under, $27 for adults, available through TicketsWest outlets. Trained dogs and cats doing tricks. That's entertainment. Heck yeah, I'm getting tickets
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Exchange Club - Daily Herald
Google News - over 5 years
Bing Crosby helped recruit him to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had an illustrious career (All-Star, World Series Champion, Cy Young Award winner awarded to the best pitcher, Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, etc.) Players and fans call him "Deacon," as
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Hillsborough Heavies Celebrate Concours d'Elegance at Crystal Springs Golf Course - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
It's one of the preeminent old-guard, upscale communities in the West, one-time home to the legendary Crockers and Hearsts, later Bing Crosby, and now the likes of Charles Schwab. Mid-way between San Francisco and the top end of Silicon Valley,
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Sunday spin: Palin not much of a draw - The Spokesman Review (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
That's one conclusion – and a charitable one, at that – to draw from an event a little more than a week ago at The Bing Crosby Theater featuring the new biographical movie about Palin. Planned as a chance to raise money for charities, food for Second
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Former homes of Bing Crosby, Anna Nicole Smith for sale - U-Pack Press Room
Google News - over 5 years
The Los Angeles homes of two late celebrities from very different eras, Bing Crosby and Anna Nicole Smith, are on the market. Online listing service Top Ten Real Estate Deals describes the 7200 square foot Bing Crosby estate as a "classic beauty" that
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Three successful restaurant groups partner on Walnut Creek eatery - Bizjournals.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Corners Tavern will take the place left vacant by Bing Crosby's; its name refers to what the area was called before it gained the "Walnut Creek" moniker in 1862. It will have 140 seats inside and 32 seats on the outdoor patio
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Euroears completes double for Baffert - ESPN
Google News - over 5 years
That was the difference between first and second in Sunday's $250000 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. Euroears ($6.80) was never challenged on the lead, led by as many as 2 1/2 lengths, and finished in track record time of 1:08.17. ... - -
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'Movies by Moonlight' series travels back in time - Corvallis Gazette Times
Google News - over 5 years
Starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. Directed by Hal Walker. Ol' Ski Nose and the Groaner are back, this time as vaudeville performers doubling as pearl divers in Australia. Of course, that's no place for men of their caliber (plus,
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Cardinals build early lead, then squander it late - Northern Virginia Daily
Google News - over 5 years
That trend continued at Bing Crosby Stadium. For the second time in a week, Cardinals closer Tyler Vanderheiden failed to hold a ninth-inning lead. The Wranglers scored three runs off two hits, three Vanderheiden walks, and a wild pitch to edge Front
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Time spent working on film with Gary Crosby was golden - Las Vegas Review-Journal
Google News - over 5 years
We all loved Bing Crosby. One of my dance class buddies, my best friend Carolyn, moved away from Austin, out to Midland, Texas, and invited me to come for a month. I was 14, so Mother said yes. I rode the Greyhound out to Midland, a horrible, dusty,
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Road to Umiat: A $400 million 'driveway' - Alaska Dispatch
Google News - over 5 years
The road is not a new take on an old Bob Hope-Bing Crosby movie but one of the state's most significant investments this year as Gov. Sean Parnell tries to get some momentum going on his plan to boost North Slope oil production and keep the
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Edith Fellows, a 1930s Child Star Trailed by Dickensian Woes, Dies at 88 - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
In the 1936 film "Pennies From Heaven," Edith Fellows played her most famous role, Patsy, a waif befriended by Bing Crosby. By MARGALIT FOX Edith Fellows, a child star of the 1930s who was known for playing orphans and urchins but whose own life was
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historic Seaview golf resort emerges from a multi-million-dollar renovation - TravelGolf.com
Google News - over 5 years
In time it would host notables such as Bing Crosby, Ben Hogan and Presidents Eisenhower, Harding, Nixon and Hoover. Today, Seaview attracts leisure guests from all over the world. Geist was a personal friend of Harding, a frequent visitor to Seaview
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Cranky Hanke's Screening Room: Der Bingle on DVD - Mountain Xpress
Google News - over 5 years
Last week was Father's Day and because of my daughter, I ended up spending a good bit of the past week watching Bing Crosby movies. In other words, she sent me the most recent Bing Crosby Collection
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Book Review: Day out of Days: Stories by Sam Shepard - Seattle Post Intelligencer (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
ORG The open road is one of the Great American Myths - from Kerouac to Easy Rider to the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movies, it's a great male fantasy of freedom and adventure. But there are physical and emotional perils to the road, no more so than in
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Is Bobby Flay the new Bing Crosby of horse racing? Is Bobby Flay the new Bing ... - Chicago Daily Herald (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Cary Grant had more than one thing in common. They were not only entertainers, but they were horse racing enthusiasts, fans and owners. As a 37 year old who has grown up in the horse industry, I often hear folks talk about
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Bing Crosby
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1977
    Age 73
    After Crosby's death in 1977, the song was re-released and reached the No.5 position in the UK Singles Chart in December 1977.
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    Crosby's last TV appearance was a Christmas special filmed in London in September 1977 and aired just weeks after his death.
    More Details Hide Details It was on this special that Crosby recorded a duet of "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Peace on Earth" with the flamboyant rock star David Bowie. It was released in 1982 as a single 45-rpm record and reached No.3 in the UK singles charts. It has since become a staple of holiday radio, and the final popular hit of Crosby's career. At the end of the century, TV Guide listed the Crosby–Bowie duet as one of the 25 most memorable musical moments of 20th-century television. Bing Crosby Productions, affiliated with Desilu Studios and later CBS Television Studios, produced a number of television series, including Crosby's own unsuccessful ABC sitcom The Bing Crosby Show in the 1964–1965 season (with co-stars Beverly Garland and Frank McHugh). The company produced two ABC medical dramas, Ben Casey (1961–1966) and Breaking Point (1963–1964), the popular Hogan's Heroes (1965–1971) military comedy on CBS, as well as the lesser-known show Slattery's People (1964–1965). Another show that Crosby Productions produced was the game show Beat the Odds.
    Not long before his death in 1977, Crosby had plans for yet another Road film in which the aging trio of himself, Hope, and Lamour search for the legendary Fountain of Youth.
    More Details Hide Details Ever media-savvy, he was alleged to have asked the scriptwriters to model The Road To The Fountain Of Youth on the Monty Python series so as to keep the humor fresh and contemporary for 1970s audiences. Warner Bros. cartoons occasionally caricatured Crosby, alternately as an animal and as himself. His recognizable appearance popped up in I've Got to Sing a Torch Song, Hollywood Steps Out and What's Up, Doc?, while bird versions appeared in The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos, Swooner Crooner and Curtain Razor. Bingo Crosbyana had an insect version of him. The Fireside Theater (1950) was Crosby's first television production. The series of 26-minute shows was filmed at Hal Roach Studios rather than performed live on the air. The "telefilms" were syndicated to individual television stations. Crosby was a frequent guest on the musical variety shows of the 1950s and 1960s. He was especially closely associated with ABC's variety show The Hollywood Palace. He was the show's first and most frequent guest host, and appeared annually on its Christmas edition with his wife Kathryn and his younger children. In the early 1970s he made two famous late appearances on the Flip Wilson Show, singing duets with the comedian.
    On October 14, 1977, at the La Moraleja Golf Course near Madrid, Crosby played eighteen holes of golf.
    More Details Hide Details His partner was World Cup champion Manuel Piñero; their opponents were club president Cesar de Zulueta and Valentin Barrios. According to Barrios, Crosby was in good spirits throughout the day, and was photographed several times during the round. At the ninth hole, construction workers building a house nearby recognized him, and when asked for a song, Crosby sang "Strangers in the Night". Crosby, who had a 13 handicap, lost to his partner by one stroke. As Crosby and his party headed back to the clubhouse, Crosby said, "That was a great game of golf, fellas." However, others say his final words were, "Let's go get a Coke." At about 6:30 pm, Crosby collapsed about 20 yards from the clubhouse entrance and died instantly from a massive heart attack. At the clubhouse and later in the ambulance, house physician Dr. Laiseca tried to revive him, but was unsuccessful. At Reina Victoria Hospital he was administered the last rites of the Catholic Church and was pronounced dead. On October 18, following a private funeral mass at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Westwood, Crosby was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
    On October 13, 1977, Crosby flew alone to Spain to play golf and hunt partridge.
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    His first performance after the accident was his last American concert, on August 16, 1977 (the day singer Elvis Presley died); when the power went out during his performance, he continued singing without amplification.
    More Details Hide Details In September, Crosby, his family, and singer Rosemary Clooney began a concert tour of Britain that included two weeks at the London Palladium. While in the UK, Crosby recorded his final album, Seasons, and his final TV Christmas special with guest David Bowie on 11 September (which aired a little over a month after Crosby's death). His last concert was in the Brighton Centre on October 10, four days before his death, with British entertainer Dame Gracie Fields in attendance. The following day he made his final appearance in a recording studio and sang eight songs at the BBC Maida Vale studios for a radio program, which also included an interview with Alan Dell. Accompanied by the Gordon Rose Orchestra, Crosby's last recorded performance was of the song "Once in a While". Later that afternoon, he met with Chris Harding to take photographs for the Seasons album jacket.
    In March 1977, after videotaping a concert at the Ambassador Theater in Pasadena for CBS to commemorate his 50th anniversary in show business, and with Bob Hope looking on, Crosby fell off the stage into an orchestra pit, rupturing a disc in his back requiring a month in the hospital.
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  • 1974
    Age 70
    Following his recovery from a life-threatening fungal infection of his right lung in January 1974, Crosby emerged from semi-retirement to start a new spate of albums and concerts.
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  • 1973
    Age 69
    Four performances by Bing Crosby have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance".
    More Details Hide Details Fisher, J. (2012). Bing crosby: Through the years, volumes one-nine (1954-56). ARSC Journal, 43(1), 127-130.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1963
    Age 59
    In 1963, Crosby received the first Grammy Global Achievement Award.
    More Details Hide Details He is one of the 22 people to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (a star for motion pictures, radio, and audio recording). Crosby also exerted an important influence on the development of the postwar recording industry. He became the first performer to pre-record his radio shows and master his commercial recordings onto magnetic tape. Through the medium of recording, Crosby constructed his radio programs with the same directorial tools and craftsmanship (editing, retaking, rehearsal, time shifting) used in motion picture production, which became the industry standard. In addition to his work with early tape recording, he helped to finance the development of videotape, bought television stations, bred racehorses, and co-owned the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.
  • 1962
    Age 58
    In 1962, Crosby was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
    More Details Hide Details He has been inducted into the halls of fame for both radio and popular music. In 2007 Crosby was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, and in 2008 into the Western Music Hall of Fame.
  • 1960
    Age 56
    Although he was passionate about his team, he was too nervous to watch the deciding Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, choosing to go to Paris with Kathryn and listen to the game on the radio.
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    In 1960, NAFI purchased KCOP from Crosby's group.
    More Details Hide Details Crosby was a fan of thoroughbred horse racing and bought his first racehorse in 1935. In 1937, he became a founding partner of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and a member of its Board of Directors. Operating from the Del Mar Racetrack at Del Mar, California, the group included millionaire businessman Charles S. Howard, who owned a successful racing stable that included Seabiscuit. Charles' son, Lindsay C. Howard became one of Crosby's closest friends; Crosby named his son Lindsay after him, and would purchase his 40-room Hillsborough, California estate from Lindsay in 1965. Crosby and Lindsay Howard formed Binglin Stable to race and breed thoroughbred horses at a ranch in Moorpark in Ventura County, California. They also established the Binglin stock farm in Argentina, where they raced horses at Hipódromo de Palermo in Palermo, Buenos Aires. A number of Argentine-bred horses were purchased and shipped to race in the United States. On August 12, 1938, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosted a $25,000 winner-take-all match race won by Charles S. Howard's Seabiscuit over Binglin's horse Ligaroti. In 1943, Binglin's horse Don Bingo won the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
  • 1959
    Age 55
    NAFI Corporation and Crosby together purchased the television station KPTV, in Portland, Oregon, for $4 million on September 1, 1959.
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  • 1957
    Age 53
    After her death, Crosby had relationships with model/Goldwyn Girl Pat Sheehan (who married his son Dennis in 1958) and actresses Inger Stevens and Grace Kelly before marrying the actress Kathryn Grant, who converted to Catholicism, in 1957.
    More Details Hide Details They had three children: Harry Lillis III (who played Bill in Friday the 13th), Mary (best known for portraying Kristin Shepard, who shot J. R. Ewing on TV's Dallas), and Nathaniel (the 1981 U.S. Amateur champion in golf).
  • 1954
    Age 50
    A Crosby-led group purchased station KCOP-TV, in Los Angeles, California, in 1954.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1951
    Age 47
    Crosby continued to finance the development of videotape. Bing Crosby Enterprises (BCE), gave the world's first demonstration of videotape recording in Los Angeles on November 11, 1951.
    More Details Hide Details Developed by John T. Mullin and Wayne R. Johnson since 1950, the device aired what were described as "blurred and indistinct" images, using a modified Ampex 200 tape recorder and standard quarter-inch (6.3 mm) audio tape moving at 360 inches (9.1 m) per second.
  • 1950
    Age 46
    Mullin continued to work for Crosby to develop a videotape recorder (VTR). Television production was mostly live television in its early years, but Crosby wanted the same ability to record that he had achieved in radio. 1950's The Fireside Theater, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, was his first television production.
    More Details Hide Details Mullin had not yet succeeded with videotape, so Crosby filmed the series of 26-minute shows at the Hal Roach Studios, and the "telefilms" were syndicated to individual television stations.
    Crosby had launched the tape recorder revolution in America. In his 1950 film Mr. Music, Crosby is seen singing into one of the new Ampex tape recorders that reproduced his voice better than anything else.
    More Details Hide Details Also quick to adopt tape recording was his friend Bob Hope. He gave one of the first Ampex Model 200 recorders to his friend, musician Les Paul, which led directly to Paul's invention of multitrack recording. His organization, the Crosby Research Foundation, also held various tape recording patents and developed equipment and recording techniques such as the laugh track that are still in use today. Along with Frank Sinatra, Crosby was also one of the principal backers behind the famous United Western Recorders recording studio complex in Los Angeles.
  • 1947
    Age 43
    Crosby wanted to change to recorded production for several reasons. The legend that has been most often told is that it would give him more time for his golf game. And he did record his first Philco program in August 1947 so he could enter the Jasper National Park Invitational Golf Tournament in September, just when the new radio season was to start.
    More Details Hide Details But golf was not the most important reason. Though Crosby did want more time to tend to his other business and leisure activities, he also sought better quality through recording, including being able to eliminate mistakes and control the timing of his show performances. Because his own Bing Crosby Enterprises produced the show, he could purchase the latest and best sound equipment and arrange the microphones his way; the logistics of microphone placement had long been a hotly debated issue in every recording studio since the beginning of the electrical era. No longer would he have to wear the hated toupee on his head previously required by CBS and NBC for his live audience shows (he preferred a hat). He could also record short promotions for his latest investment, the world's first frozen orange juice, sold under the brand name Minute Maid. This investment allowed Crosby to make more money by finding a loophole whereby the IRS couldn't tax him at a 77% rate.
    Crosby hired Mullin to start recording his Philco Radio Time show on his German-made machine in August 1947, using the same 50 reels of I.G. Farben magnetic tape that Mullin had found at a radio station at Bad Nauheim near Frankfurt while working for the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
    More Details Hide Details The crucial advantage was editing. As Crosby wrote in his autobiography: By using tape, I could do a thirty-five or forty-minute show, then edit it down to the twenty-six or twenty-seven minutes the program ran. In that way, we could take out jokes, gags, or situations that didn't play well and finish with only the prime meat of the show; the solid stuff that played big. We could also take out the songs that didn't sound good. It gave us a chance to first try a recording of the songs in the afternoon without an audience, then another one in front of a studio audience. We'd dub the one that came off best into the final transcription. It gave us a chance to ad lib as much as we wanted, knowing that excess ad libbing could be sliced from the final product. If I made a mistake in singing a song or in the script, I could have some fun with it, then retain any of the fun that sounded amusing.
    However, Murdo MacKenzie of Bing Crosby Enterprises had seen a demonstration of the German Magnetophon in June 1947—the same device that Jack Mullin had brought back from Radio Frankfurt, along with 50 reels of tape, at the end of the war.
    More Details Hide Details It was one of the magnetic tape recorders that BASF and AEG had built in Germany starting in 1935. The 6.5mm ferric-oxide-coated tape could record 20 minutes per reel of high-quality sound. Alexander M. Poniatoff ordered his Ampex company, which he'd founded in 1944, to manufacture an improved version of the Magnetophone.
  • 1945
    Age 41
    Crosby returned to the air for the last 13 weeks of the 1945–1946 season.
    More Details Hide Details The Mutual network, on the other hand, had pre-recorded some of its programs as early as the 1938 run of The Shadow with Orson Welles. And the new ABC network, which had been formed out of the sale of the old NBC Blue Network in 1943 following a federal anti-trust action, was willing to join Mutual in breaking the tradition. ABC offered Crosby $30,000 per week to produce a recorded show every Wednesday that would be sponsored by Philco. He would also get an additional $40,000 from 400 independent stations for the rights to broadcast the 30-minute show, which was sent to them every Monday on three 16-inch lacquer/aluminum discs that played ten minutes per side at 33⅓ rpm.
    During the "Golden Age of Radio", performers had to create their shows live, sometimes even redoing the program a second time for the west coast time zone. Crosby's radio career took a significant turn in 1945, when he clashed with NBC over his insistence that he be allowed to pre-record his radio shows. (The live production of radio shows was also reinforced by the musicians' union and ASCAP, which wanted to ensure continued work for their members.) In On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, historian John Dunning wrote about German engineers having developed a tape recorder with a near-professional broadcast quality standard:
    More Details Hide Details saw an enormous advantage in prerecording his radio shows. The scheduling could now be done at the star's convenience. He could do four shows a week, if he chose, and then take a month off. But the networks and sponsors were adamantly opposed. The public wouldn't stand for 'canned' radio, the networks argued. There was something magic for listeners in the fact that what they were hearing was being performed and heard everywhere, at that precise instant. Some of the best moments in comedy came when a line was blown and the star had to rely on wit to rescue a bad situation. Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Phil Harris, and also Crosby were masters at this, and the networks weren't about to give it up easily. Crosby's insistence eventually factored into the further development of magnetic tape sound recording and the radio industry's widespread adoption of it. He used his clout, both professional and financial, to innovate new methods of reproducing audio of his performances. But NBC (and competitor CBS) were also insistent, refusing to air prerecorded radio programs. Crosby walked away from the network and stayed off the air for seven months, creating a legal battle with Kraft, his sponsor, that was settled out of court.
  • 1944
    Age 40
    Crosby won an Academy Award for Best Actor for Going My Way in 1944, and was nominated for the 1945 sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's.
    More Details Hide Details He received critical acclaim for his performance as an alcoholic entertainer in The Country Girl, and received his third Academy Award nomination. Crosby starred with Bob Hope and actress Dorothy Lamour in seven Road to musical comedies between 1940 and 1962, cementing Crosby and Hope as an on-and-off duo, despite never officially declaring themselves a "team" in the sense that Laurel and Hardy or Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were teams. The series consists of Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1946), Road to Rio (1947), Road to Bali (1952), and The Road to Hong Kong (1962). Appearing solo, Crosby and Hope frequently made note of the other during their various appearances, typically in a comically insulting fashion, and they appeared together countless times on stage, radio, and television over the decades as well as cameos in numerous additional films, to the point that it became difficult for audiences to think of one without thinking of the other.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1942
    Age 38
    Crosby's recording hit the charts on October 3, 1942, and rose to No. 1 on October 31, where it stayed for 11 weeks.
    More Details Hide Details A holiday perennial, the song was repeatedly re-released by Decca, charting another 16 times. It topped the charts again in 1945, and for a third time in January 1947. The song remains the best-selling single of all time. According to Guinness World Records, Crosby's recording of "White Christmas" has "sold over 100 million copies around the world, with at least 50 million sales as singles". Crosby's recording was so popular that he was obliged to re-record it in 1947 using the same musicians and backup singers; the original 1942 master had become damaged due to its frequent use in pressing additional singles. Though the two versions are very similar, it is the 1947 recording which is most familiar today.
  • 1941
    Age 37
    The biggest hit song of Crosby's career was his recording of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", which he first introduced on a Christmas Day radio broadcast in 1941. (A copy of the recording from the radio program is owned by the estate of Bing Crosby and was loaned to CBS Sunday Morning for their December 25, 2011, program.) The song then appeared soon after in his 1942 movie Holiday Inn.
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  • 1940
    Age 36
    Crosby was a registered Republican, and actively campaigned for Wendell Willkie in 1940 against President Roosevelt, arguing that no man should serve more than two terms in the White House.
    More Details Hide Details After Willkie lost, Crosby decreed that he would never again make any open political contributions. Crosby reportedly had an alcohol problem in his youth, and may have been dismissed from Paul Whiteman's orchestra because of it, but he later got a handle on his drinking. According to Giddins, Crosby told his son Gary to stay away from alcohol, adding, "It killed your mother." After Crosby's death, his eldest son, Gary, wrote a highly critical memoir, Going My Own Way, depicting his father as cruel, cold, remote, and both physically and psychologically abusive. Gary Crosby wrote: We had to keep a close watch on our actions... When one of us left a sneaker or pair of underpants lying around, he had to tie the offending object on a string and wear it around his neck until he went off to bed that night. Dad called it "the Crosby lavalier". At the time the humor of the name escaped me...
  • 1937
    Age 33
    In 1937, Bing Crosby hosted the first National Pro-Am Golf Championship, the 'Crosby Clambake' as it was popularly known, at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, California, the event's location prior to World War II.
    More Details Hide Details Sam Snead won the first tournament, in which the first place check was for $500. After the war, the event resumed play in 1947 on golf courses in Pebble Beach, where it has been played ever since. Now the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, it has been a leading event in the world of professional golf. Crosby first took up golf at 12 as a caddy, dropped it, and started again in 1930 with some fellow cast members in Hollywood during the filming of The King of Jazz. Crosby was accomplished at the sport, with a two handicap. He competed in both the British and U.S. Amateur championships, was a five-time club champion at Lakeside Golf Club in Hollywood, and once made a hole-in-one on the 16th at Cypress Point.
  • 1936
    Age 32
    Also in 1936, Crosby exercised an option from Paramount to make a film out-of-house.
    More Details Hide Details Quickly signed to a one-picture agreement with Columbia, Crosby dreamt of having his icon and friend Louis Armstrong, an African-American, who largely influenced his singing style, in a screen adaptation of The Peacock Feather called Pennies from Heaven. Crosby talked to Harry Cohn about the matter, but he disagreed saying: " no reason to entail the expense of flying him in and having no desire to negotiate with Armstrong's crude, mob-linked but devoted manager, Joe Glaser." Bing threatened to walk out on the film and refused to discuss it with Cohn. Armstrong's musical scenes, along with some comical dialogue as well, heightened his career. Bing also had it that Armstrong made high billing alongside his white co-stars, one of the first times ever for a black performer in a wide-audience film. He starred as himself in many more films to come and had a large appreciation for Bing's unracist views, often thanking him in his later years.
    By 1936, he'd replaced his former boss, Paul Whiteman, as host of the prestigious NBC radio program Kraft Music Hall, the weekly radio program where he remained for the next ten years. "Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)", which showcased one of his then-trademark whistling interludes, became his theme song and signature tune.
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  • 1934
    Age 30
    Critically acclaimed audio engineer Steve Hoffman once stated: "By the way, Bing actually saved the record business in 1934 when he agreed to support Decca founder Jack Kapp's crazy idea of lowering the price of singles from a dollar to 35 cents and getting a royalty for records sold instead of a flat fee.
    More Details Hide Details Bing's name and his artistry saved the recording industry. All the other artists signed to Decca after Bing did. Without him, Jack Kapp wouldn't have had a chance in hell of making Decca work and the Great Depression would have wiped out phonograph records for good." His social life was hectic, his first son Gary was born in 1933 with twin boys following in 1934.
    He would appear in 79 pictures, and signed a long-term deal with Jack Kapp's new record company Decca in late 1934.
    More Details Hide Details His first commercial sponsor on radio was Cremo Cigars and increasingly his fame spread nationwide. After a long run in New York, Bing went back to Hollywood to film The Big Broadcast and his personal appearances, his records, and his radio work substantially increased his impact. The success of his first full-length film brought him a contract with Paramount and he began a regular pattern of making three films a year. On radio, he fronted his own show for Woodbury Soap for two seasons and gradually his live appearances dwindled. His records produced hit after hit at a time when record sales generally were in decline because of the Depression.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1932
    Age 28
    Crosby played the lead in a series of sound-era musical comedy short films for Mack Sennett, signed with Paramount and starred in his first full-length feature, 1932's The Big Broadcast, the first of 55 films in which he received top billing.
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  • 1931
    Age 27
    Ten of the top 50 songs for 1931 featured Crosby, either solo or with others.
    More Details Hide Details A so-called "Battle of the Baritones" with singing star Russ Columbo proved short-lived, replaced with the slogan "Bing Was King".
    His songs "Out of Nowhere", "Just One More Chance", "At Your Command" and "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)" were all among the best selling songs of 1931.
    More Details Hide Details As the 1930s unfolded, Crosby became the leading singer in America.
    On September 2, 1931, Crosby made his solo radio debut.
    More Details Hide Details Before the end of the year, he signed with both Brunswick Records and CBS Radio. Doing a weekly 15-minute radio broadcast, Crosby quickly became a huge hit.
    A settlement was reached with the Ambassador Hotel and Bing made his first solo national radio broadcast in September 1931 and then went on to star at the New York Paramount Theatre.
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    His gramophone records in 1931 broke new ground as his powerful and emotional singing started to change the face of popular music forever.
    More Details Hide Details Their low salaries at the Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel had led the Rhythm Boys to walk out, causing union problems for Bing. Bing's brother, Everett, interested Bill Paley of CBS in his brother and Paley beckoned Bing to come to New York.
  • 1930
    Age 26
    Crosby was married twice. His first wife was actress/nightclub singer Dixie Lee, to whom he was married from 1930 until her death from ovarian cancer in 1952; they had four sons: Gary, twins Dennis and Phillip, and Lindsay.
    More Details Hide Details The 1947 Susan Hayward film, Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman, is indirectly based on Lee's life. Bing and Dixie along with their children lived at 10500 Camarillo Street in North Hollywood for over five years.
    Bing had married Dixie Lee in September 1930 and after a threatened divorce in March 1931, he started to apply himself seriously to his career.
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  • 1928
    Age 24
    Crosby soon became the star attraction of the Rhythm Boys, and in 1928 he had his first number one hit with the Whiteman orchestra, a jazz-influenced rendition of "Ol' Man River".
    More Details Hide Details In 1929, the Rhythm Boys appeared in the film The King of Jazz with Whiteman but Bing's growing dissatisfaction with Whiteman led to the Rhythm Boys leaving his organization. They joined the Gus Arnheim Orchestra performing nightly in The Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel. Singing with the Arnheim Orchestra, Bing's solos began to steal the show, while the Rhythm Boys act gradually became redundant. Harry Barris wrote several of Crosby's subsequent hits including "At Your Command", "I Surrender Dear", and "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams". In the early months of 1931, a solo recording contract came Bing's way, Mack Sennett signed him to make film shorts and a break with the Rhythm Boys became almost inevitable.
  • 1926
    Age 22
    Hired for $150 a week in 1926, they made their debut with Whiteman on December 6 at the Tivoli Theatre in Chicago.
    More Details Hide Details Their first recording, in October 1926, was "I've Got the Girl", with Don Clark's Orchestra, but the Columbia-issued record did them no vocal favors, as it was inadvertently recorded at a speed slower than it should have been, which increased the singers' pitch when played at 78 rpm. Throughout his career, Crosby often credited Mildred Bailey for getting him his first important job in the entertainment business. Initial successes with Whiteman were followed by disaster when they reached New York and for a while Whiteman must have thought of letting them go. Possibly Bing might have been retained as Whiteman was already using him as a solo performer on record, but the prospects for Rinker must have been bleak. However, the addition of pianist and aspiring songwriter Harry Barris made all the difference to the act and "The Rhythm Boys" were born. The additional voice meant that the boys could be heard more easily in the large New York theaters and they quickly became a real success. A year touring with Whiteman performing and recording with musicians Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Eddie Lang and Hoagy Carmichael, provided valuable experience and then they were sent out on tour alone. Much has been written about the escapades of the three men during this period and clearly they were living life to the full. Despite all of this, Bing was continuing to develop and when the Rhythm Boys rejoined the Whiteman troupe in 1929, he had matured considerably as a performer.
  • 1925
    Age 21
    In October 1925, Crosby and his partner Al Rinker, brother of singer Mildred Bailey, decided to seek fame in California and they traveled to Los Angeles where they met up with Mildred Bailey.
    More Details Hide Details She introduced them to her show business contacts and the Fanchon and Marco Time Agency hired them for thirteen weeks to take part in a revue called The Syncopation Idea, starting at the Boulevard Theater in Los Angeles and then on the Loew's circuit. They each earned $75 a week. Bing and Al Rinker began as a minor part of The Syncopation Idea and it was there that they started to develop as entertainers. They had a lively and individual style and they were particularly popular with college students. After The Syncopation Idea closed, Bing and Al obtained work in the Will Morrissey Music Hall Revue which must have been fascinating if insecure. However, their skills were further honed during their time with Morrissey and when they subsequently had the chance to present their own independent act, they blossomed and were quickly spotted by the Paul Whiteman organization. At that time, it was felt that Whiteman needed something different and entertaining to break up the musical selections he was presenting and Crosby and Rinker filled this requirement admirably. After less than a year in full-time show business, they had become part of one of the biggest names in the entertainment world.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1923
    Age 19
    In 1923, Crosby was invited to join a new band composed of high school students a few years younger than himself.
    More Details Hide Details Al Rinker, Miles Rinker, James Heaton, Claire Pritchard and Robert Pritchard, along with drummer Crosby, formed the Musicaladers, who performed at dances both for high school students and club-goers. The group did perform on Spokane radio station KHQ, but disbanded after two years. Crosby and Al Rinker then obtained work at the Clemmer Theatre in Spokane (now known as the Bing Crosby Theater). Crosby was initially a member of a vocal trio called 'The Three Harmony Aces' with Al Rinker accompanying on piano from the pit, to entertain between the films. Bing and Al continued at the Clemmer Theatre for several months often with three other men - Wee Georgie Crittenden, Frank McBride and Lloyd Grinnell - and they were billed as 'The Clemmer Trio' or 'The Clemmer Entertainers' depending which men were used.
  • 1920
    Age 16
    Crosby graduated from Gonzaga High School (today's Gonzaga Prep) in 1920 and enrolled at Gonzaga University.
    More Details Hide Details He attended Gonzaga for three years, but did not earn a bachelor's degree. As a freshman, he played on the university's baseball team. The university granted him an honorary doctorate in 1937.
  • 1917
    Age 13
    In 1917, Crosby took a summer job as property boy at Spokane's "Auditorium", where he witnessed some of the finest acts of the day, including Al Jolson, who held Crosby spellbound with his ad libbing and spoofs of Hawaiian songs.
    More Details Hide Details Crosby later described Jolson's delivery as "electric".
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1910
    Age 6
    In 1910, seven-year-old Harry Crosby Jr. was forever renamed.
    More Details Hide Details The Sunday edition of the Spokesman-Review published a feature called "The Bingville Bugle". Written by humorist Newton Newkirk, The Bingville Bugle was a parody of a hillbilly newsletter filled with gossipy tidbits, minstrel quips, creative spelling, and mock ads. A neighbor, 15-year-old Valentine Hobart, shared Crosby's enthusiasm for "The Bugle" and noting Crosby's laugh, took a liking to him and called him "Bingo from Bingville". Eventually the last vowel was dropped and the nickname stuck.
  • 1906
    Age 2
    In 1906, Crosby's family moved to Spokane, and in 1913, Crosby's father built a house at 508 E. Sharp Ave.
    More Details Hide Details The house now sits on the campus of Crosby's alma mater Gonzaga University and formerly housed the Alumni Association. He was the fourth of seven children: brothers Larry (1895–1975), Everett (1896–1966), Ted (1900–1973), and Bob (1913–1993); and two sisters, Catherine (1904–1974) and Mary Rose (1906–1990). His parents were Harry Lowe Crosby, Sr. (1870–1950), a bookkeeper, and Catherine Helen "Kate" (née Harrigan; 1873–1964). Crosby's mother was a second generation Irish-American. His father was of English descent; some of his ancestors had emigrated to America in the 17th century, and included Mayflower passenger William Brewster (c. 1567 – April 10, 1644).
  • 1903
    Born
    Crosby was born on May 3, 1903 in Tacoma, Washington, in a house his father built at 1112 North J Street.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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