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Bing Crosby sang such hit songs as the ever-popular holiday classic "White Christmas." The beloved crooner was also a star of radio, movies and television.
Bing Crosby - Mini Biography (4:21)
Born Harry Lillis Crosby on May 3, 1903, "Bing" launched his popular radio show in 1931. He began to star in films, winning an Academy Award for Going My Way in 1944. Throughout his career, he dominated the music charts. He died in 1977.
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Crosby also starred in 1936's Pennies from Heaven, which gave him another hit single with its title track.
Crosby's film career continued to flourish, reaching its peak in the 1940s. He co-starred with comedian Bob Hope in the wildly popular series of Road pictures,
which began with 1940's The Road to Singapore. The on-screen dynamic duo forged a genuine affection for each other off-screen as well. Crosby and Hope remained friends for life, and appeared together in numerous films. With Dorothy Lamour along as their female lead, they made seven Road movies together.
The following year, Crosby teamed up with another musical star, Fred Astaire, for Holiday Inn. The film featured music by Irving Berlin, including one of Crosby's all-time greatest hits, "White Christmas." Taking a paternal turn, Crosby starred as Father Chuck O'Malley in 1944's Going My Way. He played a warm and worldly Roman Catholic priest, who helps straighten out a group of young kids and, in turn, helps his parish. This dramatic role netted Crosby his one and only Academy Award win, which reprised for 1945's The Bells of St. Mary's.
Returning to light comedies, Crosby reunited with Hope for 1946's Road to Utopia and 1947's Road to Rio. According to some reports, Crosby was the top box office star from 1944 to 1947. To this day, he remains one of the all-time top grossing film performers. Crosby continued to appear in musicals, such as 1954's White Christmas, with Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney. With the movie's title song, Crosby once again scored a Top 10 hit. He had more than 300 hit singles during his long career.
That same year, Crosby gave what some critics call his best dramatic performance. He played an alcoholic actor in The Country Girl, with Grace Kelly playing his wife. Crosby received his final Academy Award nomination for his work on the film. Two years later, he and Kelly teamed up again for the musical comedy High Society, along with fellow crooner Frank Sinatra. Crosby made his last Road film with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour in 1962's The Road to Hong Kong.
While his film work tapered off in the 1960s, Crosby focused more on the small screen. He appeared in numerous televisions specials and, from 1964 to 1970, hosted the variety program The Hollywood Palace. He also tried his hand at situation comedy in 1964, with The Bing Crosby Show, but the series was short-lived.
Crosby and his family—his three children from his second marriage—became holiday favorites as they appeared in their own Christmas special each year in the 1970s. On the 1977 special, he performed a duet with David Bowie on two holiday classics, "Peace on Earth" and "The Little Drummer Boy." Crosby also enjoyed making guest appearances on such programs as The Tonight Show and The Carol Burnett Show.
A golf devotee, Crosby helped establish the Bing Crosby National Pro-Amateur tournament in the late 1930s. He continued to play his beloved sport during his last years and, tragically, died while golfing in Spain on October 14, 1977. He had suffered a heart attack after playing 18 holes on a course near Madrid.
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