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Bobby Darin was an American singer, songwriter and actor who became a ubiquitous presence in pop entertainment in the late 1950s and 1960s.
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Around this time, Darin also established himself as one of the top acts in Las Vegas. He became a popular crooner,
not unlike his hero Frank Sinatra. Yet Darin drew inspiration from a broader musical background and was a more restless and ambitious performer. Darin became such a force in Las Vegas that he reportedly even helped Wayne Newton get his career off the ground there.
On the music charts, Darin enjoyed such hits as "Beyond the Sea" and "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby." He even had success with his take on country music with "Things" and "You're the Reason I'm Living." A song he wrote for his wife Sandra Dee, "18 Yellow Roses," also proved to be a hit with fans.
Darin had his last major hit in 1966 with his take on the folk song "If I Were a Carpenter." Around this time, his marriage to actress Sandra Dee came to end. The couple had one son named Dodd together before splitting up.
As music tastes were changing, Darin himself seemed to be evolving. He became more politically and campaigned on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy during his 1968 presidential bid. Kennedy's assassination that June was a devastating blow to Darin. Around this time, he opened his own label Direction Records and continued to explore his interest in folk music and protest songs. Darin wrote "Simple Song of Freedom," which became a hit for Tim Hardin.
In the early 1970s, Darin signed with Motown Records. His later efforts failed to attract much of an audience, but he still remained popular with his live act in Las Vegas. Darin's heart problems finally caught up with him. On December 20, 1973, he died of heart failure in Hollywood, California. Darin was only 37 years old at the time. He was survived by his second wife Andrea Joy Yeager, whom he had married the previous year, and his son Dodd.
While he may be gone, Darin's music still lives on. His songs have appeared on numerous film and television soundtracks, including Goodfellas, American Beauty and The Sopranos. Actor Kevin Spacey helped bring Darin's life story to the big screen in Beyond the Sea in 2004. Spacey starred and directed the project and served as its co-writer as well.
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