Der Bingle note
"Everyone knows I'm just a big, good-natured slob."
— Crosby, on himself.
"He was an average guy who could carry a tune."
— Crosby's epitaph, written by himself.
Born May 3, 1903. Died October 14, 1977. Reputedly his last words
were, "That was a great game of golf, fellas."note
A singer, actor, innovator, amateur golfer and businessman. Suffice to say, very few people agreed with his self-assessment of his singing skills.Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby
started his career as a singer and made it big in the early 1930s with Decca Records. In 1942 he recorded what would become his most famous legacy: the Irving Berlin song "White Christmas". When it was released, it stayed at #1 on the charts for over 11 weeks. It has remained a perennial Christmas favorite in the United States. In fact, Crosby did numerous Christmas Songs
, which is mainly how the younger generation is familiar with him. His album Merry Christmas (1945)
, a Cover Album
full of Christmas themed songs has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and is the second best-selling Christmas album of all time, behind Elvis Presley
's Elvis' Christmas Album
Crosby appeared in almost 80 different films over six decades. As a box-office draw, he was surpassed only by Clark Gable
and John Wayne
. He won the Best Actor Oscar
for Going My Way
in 1944. His most famous films include the Road to ...
series filmed with Bob Hope
, and of course, White Christmas
Crosby pioneered pre-recorded radio shows, and was an astute businessman. He sponsored the development of the videotape and invested in a little company called Minute Maid. At one time he was part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Crosby popularized golf and sponsored several early tournaments. He also competed in both the British and American Pro-Amateur Tournaments.
Not to be confused with Bob Crosby
, his youngest brother and a talented singer in his own right.
- Bing, of "The Rhythm Boys," Two Plus Fours (1930) — His first film.
- Billy Crocker, Anything Goes (1936) — A not very faithful adaptation of the stage Musical; Bing and Ethel Merman duet the title song.
- Larry Poole, Pennies From Heaven (1936) — He sings the title song, a big hit.
- Tony Marvin, Waikiki Wedding (1937) — He sings "Sweet Leilani," which won the Academy Award that year for Best Song
- Josh Mallon V, Road To Singapore (1940) — The first of his seven "Road" pictures with Bob Hope
- Chuck Reardon, Road To Zanzibar (1941)
- Jim Hardy, Holiday Inn, (1942)
- Geoffrey Peters, Road To Morocco (1942) — Frequently considered the best of the "Road" pictures; its title Hope and Crosby duet is often parodied.
- Father Chuck O'Malley, Going My Way (1944)
- Father Chuck O'Malley, The Bells of Saint Mary's (1945)
- Duke Johnson and Junior Hooten, Road To Utopia (1946)
- Scat Sweeny, Road To Rio (1947)
- Virgil Smith, The Emperor Waltz (1948)
- The Narrator, Brom Bones, and Ichabod Crane, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
- Hank Martin, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthurs Court (1949)
- George Cochran, Road To Bali (1952) — The only "Road" picture in color
- Bob Wallace, White Christmas (1954)
- C. K. Dexter-Haven, High Society (1956) — The Musical remake of The Philadelphia Story. Bing plays the Cary Grant part.
- Harry Turner, Road To Hong Kong (1962) — The last of the "Road" pictures.
- Allan A. Dale, Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) — A Roaring Twenties re-telling of the Robin Hood legend, with Frank Sinatra as the lead.
- Dr. Josiah Boone, Stagecoach — A remarkable performance in the role originally played by Thomas Mitchell in the 1939 John Ford Western. Bing was painted in character by Norman Rockwell.
Tropes invoked by this actor:
- Abusive Parents: After Crosby died, three of his sons claimed he was this in Real Life. Oldest son Gary first publicly did so in the book, Going My Own Way, and Lindsay and Dennis vouched for it. Another son, Phillip, vehemently denied all of it, however - leading to some very angry public statements.
- It's worth noting that Phillip did admit that his father hit them and only said that "we never got an extra whack or a cuff we didn't deserve." Make of that what you will.
- Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Happens in several of his movies.
- Deadpan Snarker: In real life and in many of his movies.
- According to legend, Crosby was clipping his hedges in his usual ratty garb when a rich woman drove up and mistook him for hired help, asking him how much he was paid. He smiled and said, "The missus lets me sleep with her."
- This is an old vaudeville routine (and has been told of everyone from Groucho Marx to Thurgood Marshall); however, Crosby is all the more likely to have used it, exactly for that reason.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe
- Expressive Ears: According to legend record executives were bothered by Crosby's large ears, fearing they would distract the audience from listening to his music. So they tried taping them against his head. Eventually it was decided that it was better to keep them the way they were. Seeing that no audience member ever complained about Crosby's ear length, they were absolutely right.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Crosby was a favorite target for parody by cartoon artists (particularly for Looney Tunes / Merrie Melodies), appearing, for instance in "Bingo Crosbyana" (1936), "Hollywood Steps Out" (1941), "What's Up, Doc?" (1949), and, many years later, transmogrified into Hugh on Taz-Mania.
- The Stoner: Bing was a quite avid smoker of marijuana. Reportedly he started smoking it early in his career, and continued to do so until 1974, where he had a lung operation. His son, Gary, has speculated it might be the cause of his laid-back and easygoing acting-style in his films.
- Those Two Actors: As mentioned before, Bing and Bob Hope in the Road to ... films. They had a Real Life friendship as well!
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Supposedly with Bob Hope.