Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer, musician and actor. The first multimedia star, he was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century worldwide. He was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses from 1926 to 1977. He made over 70 feature films and recorded more than 1,600 songs.
His early career coincided with recording innovations that allowed him to develop an intimate singing style that influenced many male singers who followed, such as
Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and actor. Nicknamed the " Chairman of the Board" and later called "Ol' Blue Eyes", Sinatra was one of the most popular entertainers of the 1940s, 1950s, and ...
Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como (; May 18, 1912 – May 12, 2001) was an Italian-American singer, actor and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century, he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years, after signing ...
Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, actor and comedian. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed "The King of Cool". M ...
, Dick Haymes
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), or simply Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the " King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. His ener ...
John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 19408 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist who achieved worldwide fame as founder, co-songwriter, co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of ...
magazine said that he was "the person who had done the most for the morale of overseas servicemen" during World War II. In 1948, American polls declared him the "most admired man alive", ahead of
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color lin ...
Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII ( it, Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (; 2 March 18769 October 1958), was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2 March 1939 until his death in October 1958. Before his ...
In 1948, ''Music Digest'' estimated that his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music in America.
Crosby won the Academy Award for Best Actor
for his performance in ''
Going My Way
''Going My Way'' is a 1944 American musical comedy drama film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. Written by Frank Butler and Frank Cavett based on a story by McCarey, the film is about a new young priest tak ...
'' (1944) and was nominated for its sequel, '' The Bells of St. Mary's
'' (1945), opposite
Ingrid Bergman (29 August 191529 August 1982) was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films, television movies, and plays.Obituary ''Variety'', 1 September 1982. With a career spanning five decades, she is often ...
, becoming the first of six actors to be nominated twice for playing the same character. He was the number one box office attraction for five consecutive years, 1944 to 1948. At his screen apex in 1946, Crosby starred in three of the year's five highest-grossing films: ''The Bells of St. Mary's'', '' Blue Skies
'' and '' Road to Utopia
''. In 1963, Crosby received the first Grammy Global Achievement Award
He is one of 33 people to have three stars on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a historic landmark which consists of more than 2,700 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, Califo ...
, in the categories of motion pictures, radio, and audio recording. He was also known for his collaborations with his friend
Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003) was a British-American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer and dancer. With a career that spanned nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in more than 70 short and feature films, with 5 ...
, starring in the '' Road to...
'' films from 1940 to 1962.
Crosby influenced the development of the post World War II recording industry
. After seeing a demonstration of a German broadcast quality reel-to-reel tape recorder
brought to the United States by John T. Mullin
, he invested $50,000 in the California electronics company
Ampex is an American electronics company founded in 1944 by Alexander M. Poniatoff as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a portmanteau, created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.AbramsoThe Histor ...
to build copies. He then persuaded ABC to allow him to tape his shows. He became the first performer to prerecord his radio shows and master his commercial recordings onto magnetic tape
. Today, Crosby is usually associated with the Christmas season, thanks in large part to Irving Berlin's musical film ''Holiday Inn''
, in which he starred and sang songs such as "White Christmas"
and "Happy Holiday"
Through the medium of audio recording, he constructed his radio programs with the same directorial tools and craftsmanship (editing, retaking, rehearsal,
In broadcasting, time shifting is the recording of programming to a storage medium to be viewed or listened to after the live broadcasting. Typically, this refers to TV programming but it can also refer to radio shows via podcasts.
In recent year ...
) used in motion picture production, a practice that became the industry standard. In addition to his work with early audio tape recording, he helped finance the development of videotape, bought television stations, bred racehorses, and co-owned the
The Pittsburgh Pirates are an American professional baseball team based in Pittsburgh. The Pirates compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. Founded as part of the American Associ ...
baseball team, during which time the team won two
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada, contested since 1903 between the champion teams of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The winner of the Wor ...
(1960 and 1971).
Crosby was born on May 3, 1903,
[Grudens, 2002, p. 236. "Bing was born on May 3, 1903. He always believed he was born on May 2, 1904."]
, Washington, in a house his father built at 1112 North J Street. In 1906, his family moved to
Spokane ( ) is the largest city and county seat of Spokane County, Washington, United States. It is in eastern Washington, along the Spokane River, adjacent to the Selkirk Mountains, and west of the Rocky Mountain foothills, south of the Cana ...
in Eastern Washington state
, where he was raised.
In 1913, his father built a house at 508 E. Sharp Avenue. The house sits on the campus of his alma mater,
Gonzaga University (GU) () is a private Jesuit university in Spokane, Washington. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Founded in 1887 by Joseph Cataldo, an Italian-born priest and Jesuit missionary, the ...
. It functions today as a museum housing over 200 artifacts from his life and career, including his Oscar.
He was the fourth of seven children: brothers Laurence Earl "Larry"
(1895–1975), Everett Nathaniel (1896–1966), Edward John "Ted" (1900–1973), and George Robert "Bob"
(1913–1993); and two sisters, Catherine Cordelia (1904–1974) and Mary Rose (1906–1990). His parents were Harry Lowe Crosby (1870–1950), a bookkeeper, and Catherine Helen "Kate" (née Harrigan; 1873–1964). His mother was a second generation Irish-American
His father was of Scottish
descent; an ancestor, Simon Crosby, emigrated from
England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces o ...
in the 1630s during the Puritan migration to New England
. Through another line, also on his father's side, Crosby is descended from '' Mayflower
'' passenger William Brewster
( – 1644).
In 1917, Crosby took a summer job as property boy at Spokane's Auditorium, where he witnessed some of the acts of the day, including
Al Jolson (born Eizer Yoelson; June 9, 1886 – October 23, 1950) was a Lithuanian-American Jews, Jewish singer, comedian, actor, and vaudevillian. He was one of the United States' most famous and highest-paid stars of the 1920s, and was self-bi ...
, who held him spellbound with ad-lib
bing and parodies of Hawaiian songs
. He later described Jolson's delivery as "electric".
Crosby graduated from Gonzaga High School (today's Gonzaga Preparatory School
) in 1920 and enrolled at Gonzaga University. He attended Gonzaga for three years but did not earn a degree.
As a freshman, he played on the university's baseball team. The university granted him an honorary doctorate in 1937. Today, Gonzaga University houses a large collection of photographs, correspondence, and other material related to Crosby.
On November 8, 1937, after Lux Radio Theatre
of '' She Loves Me Not
Joan Blondell (born Rose Joan Bluestein; August 30, 1906 – December 25, 1979) was an American actress who performed in film and television for 50 years.
Blondell began her career in vaudeville. After winning a beauty pageant, she embarked on ...
asked Crosby how he got his nickname:
As it happens, that story was pure whimsy for dramatic effect; the
The Associated Press (AP) is an American non-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. It produces news reports that are distributed to its members, U.S. newsp ...
had reported as early as February 1932—as would later be confirmed by both Bing himself and his biographer Charles Thompson—that it was in fact a neighbor—Valentine Hobart, circa 1910—who had named him "Bingo from Bingville" after a comic feature in the local paper called '' The Bingville Bugle
'' which the young Harry liked. In time, Bingo got shortened to Bing.
In 1923 Crosby was invited to join a new band composed of high-school students a few years younger than himself. Al
and Miles Rinker (brothers of singer
Mildred Bailey (born Mildred Rinker; February 27, 1907 – December 12, 1951) was a Native American jazz singer during the 1930s, known as "The Queen of Swing", "The Rockin' Chair Lady" and "Mrs. Swing". She recorded the songs " For Sentiment ...
), 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 performed on Spokane radio station KHQ, but disbanded after two years.] Crosby and Al Rinker 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. Crosby 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 The Clemmer Trio or The Clemmer Entertainers depending who performed.
In October 1925, Crosby and Rinker decided to seek fame in California
California is a state in the Western United States, located along the Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the most populous U.S. state and the 3rd largest by area. It is also the mo .... They traveled to Los Angeles
Los Angeles ( ; es, Los Ángeles, link=no , ), often referred to by its initials L.A., is the List of municipalities in California, largest city in the U.S. state, state of California and the List of United States cities by population, sec ..., where Bailey introduced them to her show business contacts. The Fanchon and Marco Time Agency hired them for thirteen weeks for the revue ''The Syncopation Idea'' starting at the Boulevard Theater in Los Angeles and then on the Loew's circuit. They each earned $75 a week. As minor parts of ''The Syncopation Idea'' Crosby and Rinker started to develop as entertainers. They had a lively style that was popular with college students. After ''The Syncopation Idea'' closed, they worked in the Will Morrissey Music Hall Revue. They honed their skills with Morrissey. When they got a chance to present an independent act, they were spotted by a member of the Paul Whiteman organization.
Whiteman needed something different to break up his musical selections, and Crosby and Rinker filled this requirement. After less than a year in show business, they were attached to one of the biggest names. Hired for $150 a week in 1926, they debuted with Whiteman on December 6 at the Tivoli Theatre in Chicago. Their first recording, in October 1926, was "I've Got the Girl" with Don Clark's Orchestra, but the Columbia-issued record was inadvertently recorded at a slow speed, which increased the singers' pitch when played at 78 rpm. Throughout his career, Crosby often credited Bailey for getting him his first important job in the entertainment business.
The Rhythm Boys
Success with Whiteman was followed by disaster when they reached New York. Whiteman considered letting them go. However, the addition of pianist and aspiring songwriter Harry Barris made the difference, and The Rhythm Boys were born. The additional voice meant they could be heard more easily in large New York theaters. Crosby gained valuable experience on tour for a year with Whiteman and performing and recording with Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden,
Thomas Francis Dorsey Jr. (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956) was an American jazz trombonist, composer, conductor and bandleader of the big band era. He was known as the "Sentimental Gentleman of Swing" because of his smooth-toned tromb ..., Jimmy Dorsey
James Francis Dorsey (February 29, 1904 – June 12, 1957) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, composer and big band leader. He recorded and composed the jazz and pop standards "I'm Glad There Is You (In This World of Ordinary Peop ..., Eddie Lang
Eddie Lang (born Salvatore Massaro, October 25, 1902 – March 26, 1933) was an American musician who is credited as the father of jazz guitar. During the 1920s, he gave the guitar a prominence it previously lacked as a solo instrument, as p ..., and Hoagy Carmichael
Hoagland Howard Carmichael (November 22, 1899 – December 27, 1981) was an American musician, composer, songwriter, actor and lawyer. Carmichael was one of the most successful Tin Pan Alley songwriters of the 1930s, and was among the first .... He matured as a performer and was in demand as a solo singer.
Crosby became the star attraction of the Rhythm Boys. In 1928 he had his first number one hit, a jazz-influenced rendition of " Ol' Man River
"Ol' Man River" is a show tune from the 1927 musical ''Show Boat'' with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. The song contrasts the struggles and hardships of African Americans with the endless, uncaring flow of the Mississip ...". In 1929, the Rhythm Boys appeared in the film '' King of Jazz
'' King of Jazz'' is a 1930 American pre-Code color musical film starring Paul Whiteman and his orchestra. The film title refers to Whiteman's popular cultural appellation. At the time the film was made, "jazz", to the general public, meant jazz ...'' with Whiteman, but Crosby's growing dissatisfaction with Whiteman led to the Rhythm Boys leaving his organization. They joined the Gus Arnheim Orchestra, performing nightly in the Coconut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel. Singing with the Arnheim Orchestra, Crosby's solos began to steal the show while the Rhythm Boys' act gradually became redundant. Harry Barris wrote several of Crosby's hits, including "At Your Command", " I Surrender Dear", and " Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams". When Mack Sennett signed Crosby to a solo recording contract in 1931, a break with the Rhythm Boys became almost inevitable. Crosby married Dixie Lee in September 1930. After a threat of divorce in March 1931, he applied himself to his career.
Success as a solo singer
'' 15 Minutes with Bing Crosby'', his nationwide solo radio debut, began broadcasting on September 2, 1931. The weekly broadcast made him a hit.
Before the end of the year, he with both Brunswick Records
Brunswick Records is an American record label founded in 1916.
Records under the Brunswick label were first produced by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, a company based in Dubuque, Iowa which had been manufacturing prod ... and CBS Radio
CBS Radio was a radio broadcasting company and radio network operator owned by CBS Corporation and founded in 1928, with consolidated radio station groups owned by CBS and Westinghouse Broadcasting/Group W since the 1920s, and Infinity Broa .... " 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 among the best selling songs of 1931.
Ten of the top 50 songs of 1931 included Crosby with others or as a solo act. A "Battle of the Baritones" with singer Russ Columbo
Ruggiero Eugenio di Rodolfo Colombo (January 14, 1908 – September 2, 1934), known as Russ Columbo, was an American baritone, songwriter, violinist and actor. He is famous for romantic ballads such as his signature tune "You Call It Madness ... proved short-lived, replaced with the slogan "Bing Was King". Crosby played the lead in a series of musical comedy short films for Mack Sennett, signed with Paramount, and starred in his first full-length film 1932's '' The Big Broadcast
''The Big Broadcast'' is a 1932 American pre-Code musical comedy film directed by Frank Tuttle and starring Bing Crosby, Stuart Erwin, and Leila Hyams. Based on the play ''Wild Waves'' by William Ford Manley, the film is about a radio-singer ...'' (1932), the first of 55 films in which he received top billing. He would appear in 79 pictures. He signed a contract with Jack Kapp's new record company, Decca, in late 1934.
His first commercial sponsor on radio was Cremo Cigars and his fame spread nationwide. After a long run in New York, he went back to Hollywood to film '' The Big Broadcast
''The Big Broadcast'' is a 1932 American pre-Code musical comedy film directed by Frank Tuttle and starring Bing Crosby, Stuart Erwin, and Leila Hyams. Based on the play ''Wild Waves'' by William Ford Manley, the film is about a radio-singer ...''. His appearances, records, and radio work substantially increased his impact. The success of his first film brought him a contract with Paramount, and he began a pattern of making three films a year. He led his radio show for Woodbury Soap for two seasons while his live appearances dwindled. His records produced hits during the Depression when sales were down. Audio engineer Steve Hoffman 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. 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 frantic. His first son Gary was born in 1933 with twin boys following in 1934. By 1936, he replaced his former boss, Paul Whiteman, as host of the weekly NBC radio program '' Kraft Music Hall'', where he remained for the next ten years. " Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)", with his trademark whistling, became his theme song and signature tune.
Crosby's vocal style helped take popular singing beyond the " belting" associated with Al Jolson
Al Jolson (born Eizer Yoelson; June 9, 1886 – October 23, 1950) was a Lithuanian-American Jews, Jewish singer, comedian, actor, and vaudevillian. He was one of the United States' most famous and highest-paid stars of the 1920s, and was self-bi ... and Billy Murray, who had been obligated to reach the back seats in New York theaters without the aid of a microphone. As music critic Henry Pleasants
Henry Clay Pleasants (February 16, 1833 – March 26, 1880) was a coal mining engineer and an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He is best known for organizing the building of a tunnel filled with explosives under the Con ... noted in ''The Great American Popular Singers'', something new had entered American music, a style that might be called "singing in American" with conversational ease. This new sound led to the popular epithet '' crooner
Crooner is a term used to describe primarily male singers who performed using a smooth style made possible by better microphones which picked up quieter sounds and a wider range of frequencies, allowing the singer to access a more dynamic range ...''.
Crosby admired Louis Armstrong
Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed "Satchmo", "Satch", and "Pops", was an American trumpeter and vocalist. He was among the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades and several e ... for his musical ability, and the trumpet maestro was a formative influence on Crosby's singing style. When the two met, they became friends. In 1936, Crosby exercised an option in his Paramount contract to regularly star in an out-of-house film. Signing an agreement with Columbia for a single motion picture, Crosby wanted Armstrong to appear in a screen adaptation of ''The Peacock Feather'' that eventually became '' Pennies from Heaven''. Crosby asked Harry Cohn, but Cohn had no desire to pay for the flight or to meet Armstrong's "crude, mob-linked but devoted manager, Joe Glaser Joseph G. Glaser (December 17, 1896 – June 6, 1969) was an artist manager known for his involvement in the careers of jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday.
Glaser was the son of a Chicago family of Russian Jewi ...". Crosby threatened to leave the film and refused to discuss the matter. Cohn gave in; Armstrong's musical scenes and comic dialogue extended his influence to the silver screen, creating more opportunities for him and other African Americans to appear in future films. Crosby also ensured behind the scenes that Armstrong received equal billing with his white co-stars. Armstrong appreciated Crosby's progressive attitudes on race, and often expressed gratitude for the role in later years.
During World War II
World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposing ..., Crosby made live appearances before American troops who had been fighting in the European Theater. He learned how to pronounce German from written scripts and read propaganda broadcasts intended for German forces. The nickname "Der Bingle" was common among Crosby's German listeners and came to be used by his English-speaking fans. In a poll of U.S. troops at the close of World War II, Crosby topped the list as the person who had done the most for G.I. morale, ahead of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (born David Dwight Eisenhower; ; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War I ..., and Bob Hope
Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003) was a British-American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer and dancer. With a career that spanned nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in more than 70 short and feature films, with 5 ....
The June 18, 1945, issue of '' Life
Life is a quality that distinguishes matter that has biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from that which does not, and is defined by the capacity for growth, reaction to stimuli, metabolism, energy ...'' magazine stated, "America's number one star, Bing Crosby, has won more fans, made more money than any entertainer in history. Today he is a kind of national institution." "In all, 60,000,000 Crosby discs have been marketed since he made his first record in 1931. His biggest best seller is "White Christmas" 2,000,000 impressions of which have been sold in the U.S. and 250,000 in Great Britain." "Nine out of ten singers and bandleaders listen to Crosby's broadcasts each Thursday night and follow his lead. The day after he sings a song over the air – any song – some 50,000 copies of it are sold throughout the U.S. Time and again Crosby has taken some new or unknown ballad, has given it what is known in trade circles as the 'big goose' and made it a hit single-handed and overnight... Precisely what the future holds for Crosby neither his family nor his friends can conjecture. He has achieved greater popularity, made more money, attracted vaster audiences than any other entertainer in history. And his star is still in the ascendant. His contract with Decca runs until 1955. His contract with Paramount runs until 1954. Records which he made ten years ago are selling better than ever before. The nation's appetite for Crosby's voice and personality appears insatiable. To soldiers overseas and to foreigners he has become a kind of symbol of America, of the amiable, humorous citizen of a free land. Crosby, however, seldom bothers to contemplate his future. For one thing, he enjoys hearing himself sing, and if ever a day should dawn when the public wearies of him, he will complacently go right on singing—to himself."
The biggest hit song of Crosby's career was his recording of
Irving Berlin (born Israel Beilin; yi, ישראל ביילין; May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989) was a Russian-American composer, songwriter and lyricist. His music forms a large part of the Great American Songbook.
Born in Imperial Russi ...'s " White Christmas", which he 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
''CBS News Sunday Morning'' (normally shortened to ''Sunday Morning'' on the program itself since 2009) is an American news magazine television program that has aired on CBS since January 28, 1979. Created by Robert Northshield and original ho ...'' for their December 25, 2011, program. The song appeared in his films '' Holiday Inn'' (1942), and—a decade later—in ''White Christmas'' (1954). His record hit the charts on October 3, 1942, and rose to number 1 on October 31, where it stayed for 11 weeks. A holiday perennial, the song was repeatedly re-released by Decca, charting another sixteen times. It topped the charts again in 1945 and a third time in January 1947. The song remains the bestselling single of all time. His recording of "White Christmas", has sold over 50 million copies around the world. His 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. In 1977, after Crosby died, the song was re-released and reached No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart. Crosby was dismissive of his role in the song's success, saying "a jackdaw with a cleft palate could have sung it successfully".
In the wake of a solid decade of headlining mainly smash hit musical comedy films in the 1930s, Crosby starred with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour in six of the seven '' Road to'' musical comedies between 1940 and 1962 (Lamour was replaced with Joan Collins in '' The Road to Hong Kong'' and limited to a lengthy cameo), cementing Crosby and Hope as an on-and-off duo, despite never declaring themselves a "team" in the sense that Laurel and Hardy or Martin and Lewis (
Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, actor and comedian. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed "The King of Cool". M ... and Jerry Lewis) were teams. The series consists of '' Road to Singapore
''Road to Singapore'' is a 1940 American semi-musical comedy film directed by Victor Schertzinger and starring Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope. Based on a story by Harry Hervey, the film is about two playboys trying to forget previo ...'' (1940), '' Road to Zanzibar
''Road to Zanzibar'' is a 1941 Paramount Pictures semi-musical comedy film starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour, and marked the second of seven pictures in the popular "'' Road to …''" series made by the trio. It takes place in ...'' (1941), '' Road to Morocco'' (1942), '' Road to Utopia'' (1946), '' Road to Rio'' (1947), '' Road to Bali
''Road to Bali'' is a 1952 American comedy film directed by Hal Walker and starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. Released by Paramount Pictures on November 19, 1952, the film is the sixth of the seven '' Road to …'' movies. It wa ...'' (1952), and '' The Road to Hong Kong'' (1962). When they appeared solo, Crosby and Hope frequently made note of the other in a comically insulting fashion. They performed together countless times on stage, radio, film, and television, and made numerous brief and not so brief appearances together in movies aside from the "Road" pictures, '' Variety Girl'' (1947) being an example of lengthy scenes and songs together along with billing.
In the 1949 Disney animated film '' The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad'', Crosby provided the narration and song vocals for ''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'' segment. In 1960, he starred in '' High Time'', a collegiate comedy with Fabian Forte and Tuesday Weld
Tuesday Weld (born Susan Ker Weld; August 27, 1943) is an American actress and model. She began acting as a child and progressed to mature roles in the late 1950s. She won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Female Newcomer in 1960. Over t ... that predicted the emerging gap between him and the new younger generation of musicians and actors who had begun their careers after World War II. The following year, Crosby and Hope reunited for one more ''Road'' movie, '' The Road to Hong Kong'', which teamed them up with the much younger Joan Collins
Dame Joan Henrietta Collins (born 23 May 1933) is an English actress, author and columnist. Collins is the recipient of several accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, a People's Choice Award, two Soap Opera Digest Awards and a Primetime ... and Peter Sellers. Collins was used in place of their longtime partner Dorothy Lamour, whom Crosby felt was getting too old for the role, though Hope refused to do the film without her, and she instead made a lengthy and elaborate cameo appearance. Shortly before his death in 1977, he had planned another ''Road'' film in which he, Hope, and Lamour search for the Fountain of Youth.
He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for '' Going My Way
''Going My Way'' is a 1944 American musical comedy drama film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. Written by Frank Butler and Frank Cavett based on a story by McCarey, the film is about a new young priest tak ...'' in 1944 and was nominated for the 1945 sequel, '' The Bells of St. Mary's''. He received critical acclaim for his performance as an alcoholic entertainer in '' The Country Girl'' and received his third Academy Award nomination.
''The Fireside Theater'' (1950) was his first television production. The series of 26-minute shows was filmed at
Hal Roach Studios
Hal Roach Studios was an American motion picture and television production studio. Known as ''The Laugh Factory to the World'', it was founded by producer Hal Roach and business partners Dan Linthicum and I.H. Nance as the Rolin Film Company on Ju ... rather than performed live on the air. The "telefilms" were syndicated to individual television stations. He was a frequent guest on the musical variety shows of the 1950s and 1960s, appearing on various variety shows as well as numerous late-night talk shows and his own highly rated specials. Bob Hope memorably devoted one of his monthly NBC specials to his long intermittent partnership with Crosby titled "On the Road With Bing". Crosby was associated with ABC's '' The Hollywood Palace'' as the show's first and most frequent guest host and appeared annually on its Christmas edition with his wife Kathryn and his younger children, and continued after ''The Hollywood Palace'' was eventually canceled. In the early 1970s, he made two late appearances on the '' Flip Wilson Show'', singing duets with the comedian. His last TV appearance was a Christmas special, '' Merrie Olde Christmas'', taped in London in September 1977 and aired weeks after his death. It was on this special that he recorded a duet of " The Little Drummer Boy
"The Little Drummer Boy" (originally known as "Carol of the Drum") is a popular Christmas song written by American composer Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. First recorded in 1951 by the Trapp Family, the song was further popularized by a 1 ..." and " Peace on Earth" with rock musician David Bowie
David Robert Jones (8 January 194710 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie ( ), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, he is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the .... Their duet 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 20th century, ''TV Guide'' listed the Crosby-Bowie duet one of the 25 most memorable musical moments of 20th-century television.
Bing Crosby Productions, affiliated with Desilu Studios and later CBS Television Studios
CBS Studios, Inc. is an American television production company which is a subsidiary of CBS Entertainment Group unit of Paramount Global. It was formed on January 17, 2006, by CBS Corporation as CBS Paramount Television, as a renaming of the ..., 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
''Hogan's Heroes'' is an American television sitcom set in a Nazi German prisoner-of-war (POW) camp during World War II. It ran for 168 episodes (six seasons) from September 17, 1965, to April 4, 1971, on the CBS network, the longest broadcas ...'' (1965–1971) military comedy on CBS, as well as the lesser-known show '' Slattery's People'' (1964–1965).
Singing style and vocal characteristics
Crosby was one of the first singers to exploit the intimacy of the microphone rather than use the deep, loud vaudeville style associated with
Al Jolson (born Eizer Yoelson; June 9, 1886 – October 23, 1950) was a Lithuanian-American Jews, Jewish singer, comedian, actor, and vaudevillian. He was one of the United States' most famous and highest-paid stars of the 1920s, and was self-bi .... He was, by his own definition, a "phraser", a singer who placed equal emphasis on both the lyrics and the music. Paul Whiteman's hiring of Crosby, with phrasing that echoed jazz, particularly his bandmate Bix Beiderbecke's trumpet, helped bring the genre to a wider audience. In the framework of the novelty-singing style of the Rhythm Boys, he bent notes and added off-tune phrasing, an approach that was rooted in jazz. He had already been introduced to Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer widely renowned during the Jazz Age. Nicknamed the " Empress of the Blues", she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1930s. Inducted into the Rock and ... before his first appearance on record. Crosby and Armstrong remained warm acquaintances for decades, occasionally singing together in later years, e.g. "Now You Has Jazz" in the film '' High Society'' (1956). In Crosby's performances, the presence of jazz phrasing, jazz rhythm and jazz improvisation varied depending on the piece of music, but those were elements that Crosby frequently used. This can be observed particularly in his straight jazz work during the late 1920s/early 1930s, his recordings with Buddy Cole and His Trio from the mid 1950s, as well as in his numerous collaborations with such jazz musicians as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Venuti, or Eddie Lang. However, while Crosby can be called a jazz singer, he was not strictly only a jazz singer as he modeled the style and techniques to a broad scope of music that he performed, ranging from Jazz to Country to even such material as operetta arias.
During the early portion of his solo career (about 1931–1934), Crosby's emotional, often pleading style of crooning was popular. But Jack Kapp, manager of Brunswick and later Decca, talked him into dropping many of his jazzier mannerisms in favor of a clear vocal style. Crosby credited Kapp for choosing hit songs, working with many other musicians, and most important, diversifying his repertoire into several styles and genres. Kapp helped Crosby have number one hits in Christmas music
Christmas music comprises a variety of genres of music regularly performed or heard around the Christmas season. Music associated with Christmas may be purely instrumental, or, in the case of Christmas carol, carols or songs, may employ lyr ..., Hawaiian music
The music of Hawaii includes an array of traditional and popular styles, ranging from native Hawaiian folk music to modern rock and hip hop. Styles like slack-key guitar are well known worldwide, while Hawaiian-tinged music is a frequent part ..., and country music
Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated in the Southern and Southwestern United States in the early 1920s. It primarily derives from blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, o ..., and top-thirty hits in Irish music
Irish music is music that has been created in various genres on the island of Ireland.
The indigenous music of the island is termed Irish traditional music. It has remained vibrant through the 20th and into the 21st century, despite global ..., French music, rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, frequently abbreviated as R&B or R'n'B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantl ..., and ballad
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French ''chanson balladée'' or '' ballade'', which were originally "dance songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and ...s.
Crosby elaborated on an idea of Al Jolson's: phrasing, or the art of making a song's lyric ring true. "I used to tell Sinatra over and over," said Tommy Dorsey, "there's only one singer you ought to listen to and his name is Crosby. All that matters to him is the words, and that's the only thing that ought to for you, too."
Critic Henry Pleasants
Henry Clay Pleasants (February 16, 1833 – March 26, 1880) was a coal mining engineer and an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He is best known for organizing the building of a tunnel filled with explosives under the Con ... wrote in 1985: hilethe octave B flat to B flat in Bing's voice at that time 930sis, to my ears, one of the loveliest I have heard in forty-five years of listening to baritones, both classical and popular, it dropped conspicuously in later years. From the mid-1950s, Bing was more comfortable in a bass range while maintaining a baritone quality, with the best octave being G to G, or even F to F. In a recording he made of ' Dardanella
"Dardanella" is a popular song published in 1919 by McCarthy & Fisher, Inc., a firm owned by Fred Fisher, lyricist, for music composed by Felix Bernard and Johnny S. Black.
Bandleader Ben Selvin (1898–1980) recorded "Dardanella" for several ...' with Louis Armstrong in 1960, he attacks lightly and easily on a low E flat. This is lower than most opera basses care to venture, and they tend to sound as if they were in the cellar when they get there.
Crosby's was among the most popular and successful musical acts of the 20th century. ''
A billboard (also called a hoarding in the UK and many other parts of the world) is a large outdoor advertising structure (a billing board), typically found in high-traffic areas such as alongside busy roads. Billboards present large advertis ...'' magazine used different methodologies during his career. But his chart success remains impressive: 396 chart singles, including roughly 41 number 1 hits. Crosby had separate charting singles every year between 1931 and 1954; the annual re-release of "White Christmas" extended that streak to 1957. He had 24 separate popular singles in 1939 alone. Statistician Joel Whitburn at ''Billboard'' determined that Crosby was America's most successful recording act of the 1930s and again in the 1940s. In 1960 Crosby was honored as "First Citizen of Record Industry" based on having sold 200 million discs. Sources differ regarding the number of copies he sold: 300 million or even 500 million. The single "White Christmas" sold over 50 million copies according to '' Guinness World Records
''Guinness World Records'', known from its inception in 1955 until 1999 as ''The Guinness Book of Records'' and in previous United States editions as ''The Guinness Book of World Records'', is a reference book published annually, listing world ...''.
For fifteen years (1934, 1937, 1940, 1943–1954), Crosby was among the top ten acts in box-office sales, and for five of those years (1944–1948) he topped the world. He sang four Academy Award
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit for the American and international film industry. The awards are regarded by many as the most prestigious, significant awards in the entertainment ind ... winning songs – "Sweet Leilani" (1937), "White Christmas" (1942), " Swinging on a Star" (1944), "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" (1951) – and won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in '' Going My Way
''Going My Way'' is a 1944 American musical comedy drama film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald. Written by Frank Butler and Frank Cavett based on a story by McCarey, the film is about a new young priest tak ...'' (1944).
A survey in 2000 found that with 1,077,900,000 movie tickets sold, Crosby was the third most popular actor of all time, behind Clark Gable (1,168,300,000) and John Wayne (1,114,000,000). The ''International Motion Picture Almanac'' lists him in a tie for second-most years at number one on the All Time Number One Stars List with Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, and Burt Reynolds. His most popular film, '' White Christmas'', grossed $30 million in 1954 ($ million in current value).
He received 23 gold and platinum records, according to the book ''Million Selling Records''. The Recording Industry Association of America did not institute its gold record certification program until 1958 when Crosby's record sales were low. Before 1958, gold records were awarded by record companies. Crosby charted 23 ''Billboard'' hits from 47 recorded songs with the Andrews Sisters
The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne Sophia Andrews (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), soprano Maxene Anglyn Andrews (January ..., whose Decca record sales were second only to Crosby's throughout the 1940s. They were his most frequent collaborators on disc from 1939 to 1952, a partnership that produced four million-selling singles: " Pistol Packin' Mama
"Pistol Packin' Mama" was a " Hillbilly"-Honky Tonk record released at the height of World War II that became a nationwide sensation, and the first "Country" song to top the Billboard popular music chart. It was written by Al Dexter of Troup ...", " Jingle Bells
"Jingle Bells" is one of the best-known and most commonly sung American songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title "The One Horse Open Sleigh" in September 1857. It has been claimed t ...", " Don't Fence Me In", and "South America, Take it Away". They made one film appearance together in '' Road to Rio'' singing "You Don't Have to Know the Language", and sang together on the radio throughout the 1940s and 1950s. They appeared as guests on each other's shows and on Armed Forces Radio Service during and after World War II. The quartet's Top-10 ''Billboard'' hits from 1943 to 1945 include "The Vict'ry Polka", "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Town of Berlin (When the Yanks Go Marching In)", and "Is You Is or Is You Ain't (Ma' Baby?)" and helped morale of the American public.
In 1962, Crosby was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is a special Grammy Award that is awarded by The Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording." .... He has been inducted into the halls of fame for both radio and popular music. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame and in 2008 the Western Music Hall of Fame.
Popularity and influence
Crosby's popularity around the world was such that in an interview with Dorothy Masuka, the best-selling African recording artist in Africa, she stated "Only Bing Crosby the famous American crooner sold more records than me in Africa." His great popularity throughout
Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area ... led other African singers to emulate him, including Dolly Rathebe
Dolly Rathebe ( OIS) (2 April 1928 – 16 September 2004) was a South African musician and actress who performed with the Elite Swingsters jazz band, and in Alf Herbert's ''African Jazz and Variety Show''.
Rathebe died on 16 September 2004 f ..., Masuka, and Míriam Makeba, known locally as "The Bing Crosby of Africa" though she is female.
Presenter Mike Douglas commented in a 1975 interview, "During my days in the Navy in World War II
World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposing ..., I remember walking the streets of Calcutta, India, on the coast; it was a lonely night, so far from my home and from my new wife, Gen. I needed something to lift my spirits. As I passed a Hindu sitting on the corner of a street, I heard something surprisingly familiar. I came back to see the man playing one of those old Vitrolas, like those of RCA with the horn speaker. The man was listening to Bing Crosby sing, "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive". I stopped and smiled in grateful acknowledgment. The Hindu nodded and smiled back. The whole world knew and loved Bing Crosby." His popularity in India led many Hindu singers to imitate and emulate him, notably Kishore Kumar, considered the "Bing Crosby of India".
Throughout Europe and Russia, Crosby was also known as "Der Bingle", a pseudonym coined in 1944 by Bob Musel, an American journalist based in London, after Crosby had recorded three 15-minute programs with Jack Russin for broadcast to Germany from ABSIE.
According to Shoshana Klebanoff, Crosby became one of the richest men in the history of show business. He had investments in real estate, mines, oil wells, cattle ranches, race horses, music publishing, baseball teams, and television. He made a fortune from the Minute Maid Orange Juice Corporation, in which he was a principal stockholder.
Role in early tape recording
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 had to do two live radio shows on the same day, three hours apart, for the East and West Coasts.
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
The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) () is an American not-for-profit performance-rights organization (PRO) that collectively licenses the public performance rights of its members' musical works to venues, broadca ..., which wanted to ensure continued work for their members.) In ''On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio'', John Dunning wrote about German engineers having developed a tape recorder with a near-professional broadcast quality standard:
Crosby's insistence eventually factored into the further development of magnetic tape sound recording
An audio tape recorder, also known as a tape deck, tape player or tape machine or simply a tape recorder, is a sound recording and reproduction device that records and plays back sounds usually using magnetic tape for storage. In its presen ... and the radio industry's widespread adoption of it. He used his clout, both professionally and financially, for innovations in audio. But NBC and CBS refused to broadcast prerecorded radio programs. Crosby left the network and remained off the air for seven months, creating a legal battle with his sponsor Kraft that was settled out of court. He returned to broadcasting for the last 13 weeks of the 1945–1946 season.
The Mutual Network, on the other hand, pre-recorded some of its programs as early as 1938 for '' The Shadow
The Shadow is a fictional character created by magazine publishers Street & Smith and writer Walter B. Gibson. Originally created to be a mysterious radio show narrator, and developed into a distinct literary character in 1931 by writer Walter ...'' with Orson Welles. ABC was formed from the sale of the NBC Blue Network in 1943 after a federal antitrust
Competition law is the field of law that promotes or seeks to maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies. Competition law is implemented through public and private enforcement. It is also known as antitrust l ... suit and 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 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 (40-cm) lacquer discs that played ten minutes per side at rpm.
Murdo MacKenzie of Bing Crosby Enterprises had seen a demonstration of the German Magnetophon
Magnetophone, or simply Magnetophon, was the brand or model name of the pioneering reel-to-reel tape recorder developed by engineers of the German electronics company AEG in the 1930s, based on the magnetic tape invention by Fritz Pfleumer. AE ... in June 1947—the same device that Jack Mullin had brought back from Radio Frankfurt with 50 reels of tape, at the end of the war. 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 Ampex
Ampex is an American electronics company founded in 1944 by Alexander M. Poniatoff as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a portmanteau, created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.AbramsoThe Histor ..., which he founded in 1944, to manufacture an improved version of the Magnetophone.
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. The advantage was editing. As Crosby wrote in his autobiography:
Mullin's 1976 memoir of these early days of experimental recording agrees with Crosby's account:
Crosby invested $50,000 in Ampex with the intent to produce more machines. In 1948, the second season of Philco shows was recorded with the Ampex Model 200A and Scotch 111 tape from 3M. Mullin explained how one new broadcasting technique was invented on the Crosby show with these machines:
Crosby started the tape recorder revolution in America. In his 1950 film '' Mr. Music'', he is seen singing into an Ampex tape recorder that reproduced his voice better than anything else. Also quick to adopt tape recording was his friend Bob Hope. He gave one of the first Ampex Model 300 recorders to his friend, guitarist Les Paul
Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, and his protot ..., which led to Paul's invention of multitrack recording
Multitrack recording (MTR), also known as multitracking or tracking, is a method of sound recording developed in 1955 that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources or of sound sources recorded at different times to create a .... His organization, the Crosby Research Foundation, held tape recording patents and developed equipment and recording techniques such as the laugh track that are still in use today. [Sterling, C. H., & Kittross, J. M. (1990). Stay Tuned: A Concise History of American broadcasting (2nd ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth.]
With Frank Sinatra, Crosby was one of the principal backers for the United Western Recorders
United Western Recorders was a two-building recording studio complex in Hollywood that was one of the most successful independent recording studios of the 1960s. The complex merged neighboring studios United Recording Corp. on 6050 Sunset Boul ... studio complex in Los Angeles.
Mullin continued to work for Crosby to develop a
A video tape recorder (VTR) is a tape recorder designed to record and playback video and audio material from magnetic tape. The early VTRs were open-reel devices that record on individual reels of 2-inch-wide (5.08 cm) tape. They were ... (VTR). Television production was mostly live television
Live television is a television production broadcast in real-time, as events happen, in the present. In a secondary meaning, it may refer to streaming television over the Internet when content or programming is played continuously (not on demand ... in its early years, but Crosby wanted the same ability to record that he had achieved in radio. ''The Fireside Theater'' (1950) sponsored by Procter & Gamble
The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is an American multinational Final good, consumer goods corporation headquartered in Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, founded in 1837 by William Procter (industrialist), William Procter and James Gamble (industr ..., was his first television production. 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 continued to finance the development of videotape. Bing Crosby Enterprises gave the world's first demonstration of videotape recording in Los Angeles on November 11, 1951. 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
Ampex is an American electronics company founded in 1944 by Alexander M. Poniatoff as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a portmanteau, created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.AbramsoThe Histor ... 200 tape recorder and standard quarter-inch (6.3 mm) audio tape moving at 360 inches (9.1m) per second.
Television station ownership
A Crosby-led group purchased station KCOP-TV, in Los Angeles, California, in 1954.
NAFI Corporation and Crosby purchased television station KPTV in Portland, Oregon, for $4 million on September 1, 1959. In 1960, NAFI purchased KCOP from Crosby's group. In the early 1950s, Crosby helped establish the CBS television affiliate in his hometown of Spokane, Washington. He partnered with Ed Craney, who owned the CBS radio affiliate KXLY (AM)
KXLY (920 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Spokane, Washington. It broadcasts a news/talk radio format with the branding "920 News Now". The station is owned by QueenB Radio, with its license held by Morgan Murphy Media.
Studios and of ... and built a television studio west of Crosby's alma mater, Gonzaga University
Gonzaga University (GU) () is a private Jesuit university in Spokane, Washington. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Founded in 1887 by Joseph Cataldo, an Italian-born priest and Jesuit missionary, the .... After it began broadcasting, the station was sold within a year to Northern Pacific Radio and Television Corporation.
Thoroughbred horse racing
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
Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse racing facility in the northeastern United States, located in Elmont, New York, just east of the New York City limits. It was opened on May 4, 1905.
It is operated by the non-profit New York Racin ... in Elmont, New York. The Binglin Stable partnership came to an end in 1953 as a result of a liquidation of assets by Crosby, who needed to raise enough funds to pay the hefty federal and state inheritance taxes on his deceased wife's estate. The Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar Racetrack is named in his honor.
Crosby had a keen interest in sports. In the 1930s, his friend and former college classmate, Gonzaga head coach, Mike Pecarovich, appointed Crosby as an assistant football coach. From 1946 until his death, he owned a 25% share of the
The Pittsburgh Pirates are an American professional baseball team based in Pittsburgh. The Pirates compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. Founded as part of the American Associ .... Although he was passionate about the 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 its radio broadcast. Crosby had arranged for Ampex
Ampex is an American electronics company founded in 1944 by Alexander M. Poniatoff as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a portmanteau, created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.AbramsoThe Histor ..., another of his financial investments, to record the NBC
The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial broadcast television and radio network. The flagship property of the NBC Entertainment division of NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, its headquarters a ... telecast on kinescope
Kinescope , shortened to kine , also known as telerecording in Britain, is a recording of a television program on motion picture film, directly through a lens focused on the screen of a video monitor. The process was pioneered during the 1940 .... The game was one of the most famous in baseball history, capped off by Bill Mazeroski
William Stanley Mazeroski (born September 5, 1936), nicknamed "Maz" and "The Glove", is an American former second baseman in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1956 to 1972. A 7-time All-S ...'s walk-off home run that won the game for Pittsburgh. He apparently viewed the complete film just once, and then stored it in his wine cellar, where it remained undisturbed until it was discovered in December 2009. The restored broadcast was shown on MLB Network
The MLB Network is an American television sports channel dedicated to baseball. It is primarily owned by Major League Baseball, with Warner Bros. Discovery through its sports unit, Comcast's NBC Sports Group, Charter Communications, and Cox C ... in December 2010.
Crosby was also an avid golfer. He first took up golf at age 12 as a caddy. He was already spending much time on the golf course while touring the country in a vaudeville act or with Paul Whiteman's orchestra in the mid to late 1920s. Eventually, Crosby became accomplished at the sport, at his best reaching a two handicap. He competed in both the British
British may refer to:
Peoples, culture, and language
* British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies.
** Britishness, the British identity and common culture
* British English, ... 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 hole at Cypress Point.
In 1937, Crosby hosted the first 'Crosby Clambake', a pro-am tournament at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, California, the event's location prior to World War II. 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 Pro-Am, the tournament is a staple of the PGA Tour
The PGA Tour (stylized in all capital letters as PGA TOUR by its officials) is the organizer of professional golf tours in the United States and North America. It organizes most of the events on the flagship annual series of tournaments also k ..., having featured Hollywood stars and other celebrities.
In 1950, Crosby became the third person to win the William D. Richardson award, which is given to a non-professional golfer "who has consistently made an outstanding contribution to golf". In 1978, he and Bob Hope were voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship. He is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame
The World Golf Hall of Fame is located at World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida, in the United States, and it is unusual among sports halls of fame in that a single site honors both men and women. It is supported by a consortium of 26 ..., having been inducted in 1978.
Crosby also was a keen fisherman. In the summer of 1966, he spent a week as the guest of Lord Egremont, staying in Cockermouth
Cockermouth is a market town and civil parish in the Borough of Allerdale in Cumbria, England, so named because it is at the confluence of the River Cocker as it flows into the River Derwent. The mid-2010 census estimates state that Coc ... and fishing on the River Derwent. His trip was filmed for '' The American Sportsman'' on ABC, although all did not go well at first as the salmon
Salmon () is the common name for several commercially important species of euryhaline ray-finned fish from the family Salmonidae, which are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic (genus ''Salmo'') and North Pacific (genus '' Oncorhync ... were not running. He did make up for it at the end of the week by catching a number of sea trout.
Crosby was married twice. His first wife was actress and 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 or Denis is a first or last name from the Greco-Roman name Dionysius, via one of the Christian saints named Dionysius.
The name came from Dionysus, the Greek god of ecstatic states, particularly those produced by wine, which is somet ... and Phillip, and Lindsay. '' Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman'' (1947) is based on Lee's life. The Crosby family lived at 10500 Camarillo Street in North Hollywood for more than five years. After his wife died, Crosby had relationships with model Pat Sheehan (who married his son Dennis in 1958) and actresses Inger Stevens and Grace Kelly before marrying actress Kathryn Grant, who converted to Catholicism, in 1957. They had three children: Harry Lillis III (who played Bill in '' Friday the 13th''), Mary Frances (best known for portraying Kristin Shepard
Kristin Marie Shepard is a fictional character on the American television series ''Dallas'', played by Mary Crosby (1979–1981) and, briefly, by Colleen Camp (1979). The character also made one appearance on ''Dallas''s spin-off series, ''Knots ... on TV's '' Dallas''), and Nathaniel (the 1981 U.S. Amateur champion in golf).
Particularly during the late 1930s and through the 1940s Bing Crosby's domestic life was tragically dominated by his wife's excessive drinking. His efforts to cure her with the help of specialists failed. Tired of Dixie's drinking, he even asked her for a divorce in January 1941. During the 1940s, Crosby consistently had difficulties trying to stay away from home while also trying to be there as much as possible for his children.
Crosby had one confirmed extramarital affair between 1945 and the late 1940s, while married to his first wife Dixie. Actress Patricia Neal
Patricia Neal (born Patsy Louise Neal, January 20, 1926 – August 8, 2010) was an American actress of stage and screen. A major star of the 1950s and 1960s, she was the recipient of an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, and tw ... (who herself at the time was having an affair with the married Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper; May 7, 1901May 13, 1961) was an American actor known for his strong, quiet screen persona and understated acting style. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice and had a further three nominations, a ...) wrote in her 1988 autobiography ''As I Am'' about a trip on a cruise ship to England with actress Joan Caulfield in 1948:
In the most recent Crosby biography, ''Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star; the War Years, 1940-1946'', Gary Giddins published excerpts from an original diary of two sisters, Violet and Mary Barsa, who, as young women, used to stalk Crosby in New York City during December 1945 and January 1946 and who detailed their observations in the diary. The document reveals that during that time Crosby was indeed taking Joan Caulfield out to dinner, visited theaters and opera houses with her and that Caulfield and a person in her company entered the Waldorf Hotel where Crosby was staying. However, the document also clearly indicates that at their meetings a third person, on most instances Caulfield's mother, was present. In 1954, Joan Caulfield admitted to a relationship with a "top film star" who was a married man with children who at the end chose his wife and children over her. Joan's sister Betty Caulfield confirmed the romantic relationship between Joan and Bing Crosby. Despite being a Catholic, Crosby was seriously considering divorce in order to marry Caulfield. Either in December 1945 or January 1946 Crosby approached Cardinal Francis Spellman with his difficulties with dealing with his wife's alcoholism and his love for Caulfield and his plan to file for divorce. According to Betty Caulfield, Spellman told Crosby: "Bing, you are Father O'Malley and under no circumstances can Father O'Malley get a divorce." Around the same time, Crosby talked to his mother about his intentions and she protested. Ultimately, Crosby chose to end the relationship and to stay with his wife. Bing and Dixie reconciled and he continued trying to help her overcome her alcohol issues.
Crosby reportedly had an alcohol problem between the late 1920s and early 1930s, but he got a handle on his drinking in 1931.
Crosby told Barbara Walters in a 1977 televised interview that he thought marijuana should be legalized because he figured it would make it much easier for the authorities to have a proper legal control over the market.
In December 1999 the New York Post published an article by Bill Hoffmann and Murray Weiss called ''Bing Crosby's Single Life'' which claimed that "recently published" FBI files revealed connections with figures in the Mafia "since his youth". However, Crosby's FBI files had already been published in 1992 and provide no indication that Crosby had ties to the Mafia except for one major, but accidental encounter in Chicago in 1929 which is not mentioned in the files, but is told by Crosby himself in his as-told-to autobiography ''Call Me Lucky''. In the over 280 pages of Crosby's FBI files all but one reference to organized crime or gambling dens are content of a few of the many threats that Bing Crosby received throughout his life. The comments made by FBI investigators in the memos discredited the claims made in the letters. In all the files there is only one single reference to a person associated with the Mafia. In a memorandum dated January 16, 1959, it is said:
"The Salt Lake City Office has developed information indicating that Moe Dalitz received an invitation to join a deer hunting party at Bing Crosby's Elko, Nevada, ranch, together with the crooner, his Las Vegas dentist and several business associates."
However, Crosby had already sold his Elko ranch a year earlier, in 1958, and it is doubtful how much he was really involved in that meeting.
Crosby and his family lived in the San Francisco area for many years. In 1963, he and his wife Kathryn moved with their 3 young children from Los Angeles to a $175,000 10-bedroom Tudor estate in Hillsborough because they did not want to raise their children in Hollywood, according to son Nathaniel. This house went up for sale by its current owners in 2021 for $13.75 million. In 1965, the Crosbys moved to a larger, 40-room French-chateau style house on nearby Jackling Drive, where Kathryn Crosby continued to reside after Bing's death. This house served as a setting for some of the family's Minute Maid orange juice television commercials.
After Crosby's death, his eldest son, Gary, wrote a highly critical memoir, ''Going My Own Way'' (1983), depicting his father as cruel, cold, remote, and physically and psychologically abusive.
While acknowledging that corporal punishments took place, there were reports of all of Gary's immediate siblings distancing themselves from the abuse claims, either in public or in private.
Crosby's younger son Phillip vociferously disputed his brother Gary's claims about their father. Around the time Gary published his claims, Phillip stated to the press that "Gary is a whining, bitching crybaby, walking around with a two-by-four on his shoulder and just daring people to nudge it off." Nevertheless, Phillip did not deny that Crosby believed in corporal punishment. In an interview with '' People
A person ( : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of pro ...'' magazine, Phillip stated that "we never got an extra whack or a cuff we didn't deserve".
Shortly before Gary's book was actually published, Lindsay said, "I'm glad arydid it. I hope it clears up a lot of the old lies and rumors." Unlike Gary, Lindsay stated that he preferred to remember "all the good things I did with my dad and forget the times that were rough". "Lindsay Crosby supported his brother (Gary) at the time of its publication but had a tempered view of its revelations. 'I never expected affection from my father so it didn’t bother me,' he once told an interviewer.'"
However, after the book (which, aside of the abuse claims, was largely a self critique) was published, Lindsay addressed the abuse claims and what the media had made out of them:
Dennis Crosby reportedly "said his older brother (Gary) was the most severely treated of the four boys. 'He got the first licking, and we got the second.'"
Gary's first wife of 19 years, Barbara Cosentino, of whom Gary wrote in his book, "I could confide in her about Mom and Dad and my childhood", and with whom Gary stayed friendly after the divorce, stated:
Gary Crosby's adopted son, Steven Crosby, said in a 2003 interview:
Bing's younger brother, singer and jazz bandleader Bob Crosby, recalled at the time of Gary's revelations that Bing was a "disciplinarian", as their mother and father had been. He added, "We were brought up that way."
In an interview for the same article, Gary clarified that Bing "was like a lot of fathers of that time. He was not out to be vicious, to beat children for his kicks."
The author of the most recent biography on Bing Crosby, Gary Giddins, claims that Gary Crosby's memoir is not reliable on many instances and cannot be trusted on the abuse stories.
Crosby's will established a blind trust in which none of the sons received an inheritance until they reached the age of 65, intended by Crosby to keep them out of trouble. They were instead receiving several thousand dollars per month from a trust left in 1952 by their mother, Dixie Lee. The trust, tied to high-performing oil stocks, folded in December 1989 following the 1980s oil glut
The 1980s oil glut was a serious surplus of crude oil caused by falling demand following the 1970s energy crisis. The world price of oil had peaked in 1980 at over US$35 per barrel (equivalent to $ per barrel in dollars, when adjusted for in ....
Lindsay Crosby died in 1989 at age 51, and Dennis Crosby died in 1991 at age 56, both by suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Mental disorders (including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety disorders), physical disorders (such as chronic fatigue syndrome), and ... from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Gary Crosby died of lung cancer in 1995 at age 62, and Phillip Crosby died of a heart attack in 2004 at age 69.
Widow Kathryn Crosby
Kathryn Crosby (born Olive Kathryn Grandstaff; November 25, 1933) is a retired American actress and singer who performed in films under the stage names Kathryn Grant and Kathryn Grandstaff.
Life and career
Born Olive Kathryn Grandstaff in Wes ... dabbled in local theater productions intermittently and appeared in television tributes to her late husband.
Nathaniel Crosby, Crosby's younger son from his second marriage, is a former high-level golfer who won the U.S. Amateur in 1981 at age 19, becoming the youngest winner in the history of that event at the time. Harry Crosby
Harry Crosby (June 4, 1898 – December 10, 1929) was an American heir, World War I veteran, ''bon vivant'', poet, and publisher who for some epitomized the Lost Generation in American literature. He was the son of one of the richest banking fam ... is an investment banker who occasionally makes singing appearances.
Denise Michelle Crosby is an American actress and model known for portraying Security Chief Tasha Yar mainly in season one of '' Star Trek: The Next Generation'', and Yar's daughter, the half-Romulan Commander Sela, in subsequent seasons. She ..., Dennis Crosby's daughter, is also an actress and is known for her role as Tasha Yar on '' Star Trek: The Next Generation'' and for the recurring role of the Romulan Sela after her withdrawal from the series as a regular cast member. She also appeared in the 1989 film adaptation of Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy novels. Described as the "King of Horror", a play on his surname and a reference to his high ...'s novel '' Pet Sematary''.
In 2006, Crosby's niece through his sister Mary Rose, Carolyn Schneider, published the laudatory book ''Me and Uncle Bing''.
There have been disputes between Crosby's two families beginning in the late 1990s. When Dixie died in 1952, her will provided that her share of the community property be distributed in trust to her sons. After Crosby's death in 1977, he left the residue of his estate to a marital trust for the benefit of his widow, Kathryn, and HLC Properties, Ltd., was formed for the purpose of managing his interests, including his right of publicity. In 1996, Dixie's trust sued HLC and Kathryn for declaratory relief as to the trust's entitlement to interest, dividends, royalties, and other income derived from the community property of Crosby and Dixie. In 1999, the parties settled for approximately $1.5 million. Relying on a retroactive amendment to the California Civil Code, Dixie's trust brought suit again, in 2010, alleging that Crosby's right of publicity was community property, and that Dixie's trust was entitled to a share of the revenue it produced. The trial court granted Dixie's trust's claim. The California Court of Appeal reversed, however, holding that the 1999 settlement barred the claim. In light of the court's ruling, it was unnecessary for the court to decide whether a right of publicity can be characterized as community property under California law.
Health and death
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. In March 20, 1977, after videotaping a concert "Bing - 50th Anniversary Gala" special at the Ambassador Auditorium 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. His first performance after the accident was his last American concert, on August 16, 1977, the day
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), or simply Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the " King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. His ener ... died, at the Concord Pavilion in Concord
Concord may refer to:
* Pact or treaty, frequently between nations (indicating a condition of harmony)
* Harmony, in music
* Agreement (linguistics), a change in the form of a word depending on grammatical features of other ..., California. When the electric power failed during his performance, he continued singing without amplification.
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
A season is a division of the year based on changes in weather, ecology, and the number of daylight hours in a given region. On Earth, seasons are the result of the axial parallelism of Earth's tilted orbit around the Sun. In temperate and p ...'', and his final TV Christmas special with guest David Bowie
David Robert Jones (8 January 194710 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie ( ), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, he is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the ... on September 11 (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 Gracie Fields
Dame Gracie Fields (born Grace Stansfield; 9 January 189827 September 1979) was an English actress, singer, comedian and star of cinema and music hall who was one of the top ten film stars in Britain during the 1930s and was considered the hi ... in attendance. The following day he made his final appearance in a recording studio and sang eight songs at the BBC's 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.
On October 13, 1977, Crosby flew alone to Spain
, image_flag = Bandera de España.svg
, image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg
, national_motto = '' Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond")
, national_anthem = (English: "Royal March")
, ... to play golf and hunt partridge. On October 14, at the La Moraleja Golf Course near Madrid, Crosby played 18 holes of golf. His partner was World Cup
A world cup is a global sporting competition in which the participant entities – usually international teams or individuals representing their countries – compete for the title of world champion. The event most associated with the concept ... champion Manuel Piñero; their opponents were club president César de Zulueta and Valentín 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
"Strangers in the Night" is a song composed by Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder. Kaempfert originally used it under the title "Beddy Bye" as part of the instrumental score for the movie ''A Man Could Get ...". Crosby, who had a 13 handicap, won with his partner by one stroke. At about 6:30 pm, as Crosby and his party headed back to the clubhouse, Crosby said, "That was a great game of golf, fellas. Let's go have a Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. Originally marketed as a temperance drink and intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton in Atlan ...." These were his last words. About from the clubhouse entrance, Crosby collapsed 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
The last rites, also known as the Commendation of the Dying, are the last prayers and ministrations given to an individual of Christian faith, when possible, shortly before death. They may be administered to those awaiting execution, mortal ... of the Catholic Church and was pronounced dead. He was 74 years old.
On October 18, 1977, following a private funeral Mass at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Westwood, Crosby was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. (His tombstone incorrectly identified his year of birth as 1904 instead of 1903.) A plaque was placed at the golf course in his memory.
Crosby is a member of the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in the radio division.
The family created an official website on October 14, 2007, the 30th anniversary of Crosby's death.
In his autobiography ''Don't Shoot, It's Only Me!'' (1990), Bob Hope wrote, "Dear old Bing, as we called him, the ''Economy-sized Sinatra''. And what a voice. God I miss that voice. I can't even turn on the radio around Christmas time without crying anymore."
Calypso musician Roaring Lion wrote a tribute song in 1939 titled "Bing Crosby", in which he wrote: "Bing has a way of singing with his very heart and soul / Which captivates the world / His millions of listeners never fail to rejoice / At his golden voice...."
Bing Crosby Stadium in Front Royal, Virginia, was named after Crosby in honor of his fundraising and cash contributions for its construction from 1948 to 1950.
In 2006, the former Metropolitan Theater of Performing Arts ('The Met') in Spokane
Spokane ( ) is the largest city and county seat of Spokane County, Washington, United States. It is in eastern Washington, along the Spokane River, adjacent to the Selkirk Mountains, and west of the Rocky Mountain foothills, south of the Cana ..., Washington, was renamed to The Bing Crosby Theater.
Crosby has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a historic landmark which consists of more than 2,700 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, Califo .... One each for radio, recording, and motion pictures.
Crosby wrote or co-wrote lyrics to 22 songs. His composition " At Your Command" was number 1 for three weeks on the U.S. pop singles chart beginning on August 8, 1931. " I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You" was his most successful composition, recorded by
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and leader of his eponymous jazz orchestra from 1923 through the rest of his life. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ellington was bas ..., Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and actor. Nicknamed the " Chairman of the Board" and later called "Ol' Blue Eyes", Sinatra was one of the most popular entertainers of the 1940s, 1950s, and ..., Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Sphere Monk (, October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer. He had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including " 'Round Midnight", " ..., Billie Holiday, and Mildred Bailey
Mildred Bailey (born Mildred Rinker; February 27, 1907 – December 12, 1951) was a Native American jazz singer during the 1930s, known as "The Queen of Swing", "The Rockin' Chair Lady" and "Mrs. Swing". She recorded the songs " For Sentiment ..., among others. Songs co-written by Crosby include:
# "That's Grandma" (1927), with Harry Barris and James Cavanaugh
# "From Monday On" (1928), with Harry Barris and recorded with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke on cornet, number 14 on US pop singles charts
# "What Price Lyrics?" (1928), with Harry Barris and Matty Malneck
# "Ev'rything's Agreed Upon" (1930), with Harry Barris
# " At Your Command" (1931), with Harry Barris and Harry Tobias, US, number 1 (3 weeks)
# "Believe Me" (1931), with James Cavanaugh and Frank Weldon
# " Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)" (1931), with Roy Turk
Roy is a masculine given name and a family surname with varied origin.
In Anglo-Norman England, the name derived from the Norman ''roy'', meaning "king", while its Old French cognate, ''rey'' or ''roy'' (modern ''roi''), likewise gave rise t ... and Fred Ahlert, US, no. 4; US, 1940 re-recording, no. 27
# "You Taught Me How to Love" (1931), with H. C. LeBlang and Don Herman
# " I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You" (1932), with Victor Young and Ned Washington, US, no. 5
# "My Woman" (1932), with Irving Wallman and Max Wartell
# "Cutesie Pie" (1932), with Red Standex and Chummy MacGregor
John Chalmers MacGregor (March 28, 1903 – March 9, 1973), better known as Chummy MacGregor, a musician and composer, was the pianist in The Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1936 to 1942. He composed the songs "Moon Dreams", "It Must Be Jelly ('Cause ...
# "I Was So Alone, Suddenly You Were There (1932), with Leigh Harline, Jack Stern and George Hamilton
# "Love Me Tonight" (1932), with Victor Young and Ned Washington, US, no. 4
# " Waltzing in a Dream" (1932), with Victor Young and Ned Washington, US, no.6
# "You're Just a Beautiful Melody of Love" (1932), lyrics by Bing Crosby, music by Babe Goldberg
# "Where Are You, Girl of My Dreams?" (1932), written by Bing Crosby, Irving Bibo, and Paul McVey, featured in the 1932 Universal film '' The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood''
# "I Would If I Could But I Can't" (1933), with Mitchell Parish
Mitchell Parish (born Michael Hyman Pashelinsky; July 10, 1900 – March 31, 1993) was an American lyricist, notably as a writer of songs for stage and screen.
Parish was born to a Jewish family in Lithuania, Russian Empire in July 19 ... and Alan Grey
# "Where the Turf Meets the Surf" (1941) with Johnny Burke and James V. Monaco.
# "Tenderfoot" (1953) with Bob Bowen and Perry Botkin, originally issued using the pseudonym of "Bill Brill" for Bing Crosby.
# "Domenica" (1961) with Pietro Garinei / Gorni Kramer / Sandro Giovannini
# " That's What Life is All About" (1975), with Ken Barnes, Peter Dacre, and Les Reed, US, AC chart, no. 35; UK, no. 41
# "Sail Away from Norway" (1977) – Crosby wrote lyrics to go with a traditional song.
Grammy Hall of Fame
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".
* '' 15 Minutes with Bing Crosby'' (1931,
CBS Broadcasting Inc., commonly shortened to CBS, the abbreviation of its former legal name Columbia Broadcasting System, is an American commercial broadcast television and radio network serving as the flagship property of the CBS Entertainme ...), Unsponsored. 6 nights a week, 15 minutes.
* '' The Cremo Singer'' (1931–1932, CBS), 6 nights a week, 15 minutes.
* '' 15 Minutes with Bing Crosby'' (1932, CBS), initially 3 nights a week, then twice a week, 15 minutes.
* '' Chesterfield Cigarettes Presents Music that Satisfies'' (1933, CBS), broadcast two nights a week, 15 minutes.
* '' Bing Crosby Entertains'' (1933–1935, CBS), weekly, 30 minutes.
* '' Kraft Music Hall'' (1935–1946, NBC
The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial broadcast television and radio network. The flagship property of the NBC Entertainment division of NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, its headquarters a ...), Thursday nights, 60 minutes until January 1943, then 30 minutes.
* '' Bing Crosby on Armed Forces Radio in World War II'' (1941–1945; World War II).
* '' Philco Radio Time'' (1946–1949, ABC), 30 minutes weekly.
* '' This Is Bing Crosby'' (The Minute Maid Show) (1948–1950, CBS), 15 minutes each weekday morning; Bing as disc jockey.
* '' The Bing Crosby – Chesterfield Show
''The Bing Crosby Show for Chesterfield'' was a 30-minute musical variety old-time radio program starring entertainer Bing Crosby. The series ran on CBS Radio from 1949–1952.
The series was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes and was usually ...'' (1949–1952, CBS), 30 minutes weekly.
* '' The Bing Crosby Show for General Electric
''The Bing Crosby Show for General Electric'' was a 30-minute variety old-time radio program starring entertainer Bing Crosby. The series ran on CBS radio from 1952-1954.
The series was sponsored by the General Electric company and was usually ...'' (1952–1954, CBS), 30 minutes weekly.
* '' The Bing Crosby Show (1954–1956)'' (CBS), 15 minutes, 5 nights a week.
* '' A Christmas Sing with Bing (1955–1962)'', (CBS, VOA and AFRS), 1 hour each year, sponsored by the Insurance Company of North America
Insurance Company of North America (INA) is the oldest stock insurance company in the United States, founded in Philadelphia in 1792. It was one of the largest American insurance companies of the 19th and 20th centuries before merging with Conn ....
* '' The Ford Road Show Featuring Bing Crosby'' (1957–1958, CBS), 5 minutes, 5 days a week.
* '' The Bing Crosby – Rosemary Clooney Show'' (1960–1962, CBS), 20 minutes, 5 mornings a week, with Rosemary Clooney.
Awards and nominations
* Fisher, J. (2012). "Bing Crosby: Through the years, volumes one-nine (1954–56)." ''ARSC Journal'', 43(1), 127–130.
* Crosby interviewe
1971 July 8
* Klebanoff, Shoshana. "Crosby, Bing" ''American National Biography'' (2000
* Osterholm, J. Roger. ''Bing Crosby: A Bio-Bibliography''. Greenwood Press, 1994.
* Prigozy, R. & Raubicheck, W., ed. ''Going My Way: Bing Crosby and American Culture''. The Boydell Press, 2007.
* Crosby, Bing. '' Call Me Lucky'' (1953)
* Crosby, Bing. ''Bing: The Authorized Biography'' (1975), written with Charles Thompson.
* Bookbinder, Robert. ''The Films of Bing Crosby'' (Lyle Stuart, 1977)
* Giddins, Gary. ''Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams-The Early Years 1903-1940'' (Back Bay Books, 2009
** Giddins, Gary. ''Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946'' (Little, Brown, 2018
* Gilbert, Roger. "Beloved and Notorious: A Theory of American Stardom, with Special Reference to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra." ''Southwest Review'' 95.1/2 (2010): 167–184
* Morgereth, Timothy A. ''Bing Crosby: a discography, radio program list, and filmography'' (McFarland & Co Inc Pub, 1987).
* Pitts, Michael, et al. ''The Rise of the Crooners: Gene Austin, Russ Columbo, Bing Crosby, Nick Lucas, Johnny Marvin and Rudy Vallee'' (Scarecrow Press, 2001).
* Prigozy, Ruth, and Walter Raubicheck, eds. ''Going My Way: Bing Crosby and American Culture'' (University of Rochester Press, 2007), essays by scholars.
* Includes a chapter on Crosby's involvement in the making of "White Christmas" and an interview with record producer Ken Barnes.
* Schofield, Mary Anne. "Marketing Iron Pigs, Patriotism, and Peace: Bing Crosby and World War II—A Discourse." ''Journal of Popular Culture'' 40.5 (2007): 867–881.
* Smith, Anthony B. "Entertaining Catholics: Bing Crosby, Religion and Cultural Pluralism in 1940s America." ''American Catholic Studies'' (2003) 11#4: 1-1
* Teachout, Terry. "The Swinging Star: Why is Bing Crosby forgotten?' ''Commentary'' (Nov 2018), Vol. 146 Issue 4, pp 51–54.
* Includes an interview
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