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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's family and fans were devastated by the news of his passing. According to his longtime friend, Bob Hope, "If friends could have been made to order, I would have asked for one like Bing."
A special memorial was held at New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral shortly after Crosby's death. Nearly 3,000 admirers attended the ceremony,
to remember and honor the late entertainer. Crosby's family also held a small private funeral for the singer in Culver City, California, which was attended by Bob Hope and Rosemary Clooney, among a few other close friends of Crosby's from Hollywood.
Crosby was laid to rest next to his first wife, Dixie Lee. The couple had been married from 1930 to 1952, when she died of ovarian cancer. Crosby was survived by his four sons from his first marriage, Gary, Lindsay, Phillip and Dennis; as well as by his second wife, Kathryn, and their three children, Nathaniel, Harry and Mary Frances.
Several years after his death, Crosby's reputation as the mellow, cool paternal type was shattered by allegations made by his son Gary. He claimed in his 1983 tell-all memoir Going My Own Way that Bing was a cruel father who used to physically abuse his sons. Gary's brothers were divided on the book. Phillip played down these claims, but Lindsay supported Gary's stories.
As the new millennium began, a public effort ignited to remember Crosby and restore some of his legacy. Jazz critic Gary Giddins re-examined the singer's early work in Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams (2001). In 2005, the Film Society of Lincoln Center hosted a retrospective of Crosby's films. Regardless of what he did or didn't do in his personal life, Crosby changed the sound and style of popular music. His songs are a part of the American soundtrack, and can still be heard on the radio, on television programs and in films.
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