CAIRO – 14 October 2017: marks the day that Bing Crosby, famed Hollywood singer and actor, passes away in 1977, leaving behind a legacy as one of the best-selling music artists of all time and the most popular in America.
Crosby was born as Harry Lillis Crosby on May 3, 1903, the fourth of seven children in a working-class family in Tacoma, Washington.
Crosby got his famous stage name after an illustrated parody newspaper he loved as a young boy, titled the "Bingville Bugle."
Originally planning to become a lawyer, Crosby decided instead to follow his heart and pursue a career in music. He started off with a group called the Musicaladers in High School, and by the mid 1920s had formed a musical duo with his friend Al Rinker, who was famous for helping to write Disney’s "Everybody wants to be a Cat."
The pair headed off to Los Angeles to try their luck, and became a popular act known as "Two Boys and a Piano." Crosby started off with a love of Jazz, which heavily influenced his style and lead to him forming a band known as the Rhythm Boys.
It was his radio performances that shot Crosby to stardom, and his relaxed voice and casual presence won him over with audiences. By the early 1930s, Crosby had signed a contract with Paramount Pictures, and he first starred in 1932’s "The Big Broadcast," a film that featured various radio stars.
Though he did not have the looks that were considered conventionally attractive for a leading man, Crosby still managed to win people over just by attitude, giving out a warm and relaxed presence on the screen.
His music helped America through the Great Depression and World War II.
As the 1940s came along, Crosby’s fame was only rising higher and higher. By 1944 he starred in his best known film yet, "Going My Way," which won seven Oscars and earned Crosby the Academy Award for Best Leading Actor. Starring as Father Chuck O'Malley, Crosby played a young Catholic priest, who helps lead a gang of stray kids on the right path and wins the approval of his superior.
Prior to that in the same year he starred in "Holiday Inn," which featured one of Crosby’s biggest musical hits, "White Christmas." In this musical comedy, Crosby starred as Jim Hardy, owner of an inn that is only open for the holidays who aims for the affection of the gorgeous Linda Mason, played by Marjorie Reynolds.
"White Christmas" became one of Crosby’s biggest songs, defining everything appealing about the holiday season, and the world’s best-selling single song of all-time;
Unfortunately, Crosby’s personal life was a cold opposite to his warm film persona. In a memoir released by his eldest son, Gary Crosby, in 1983, Gary held nothing back in discussing the harsh treatment Crosby gave his family with first wife Dixie Lee, regularly insulting them and physically abusing them and putting them to hard work at the family farm. Crosby’s harsh discipline was a way to ensure his sons did not grow up as "Hollywood Brats," though his treatment is believed to have led to the suicides of two of his sons.
Later in life, Crosby regretted how harsh he was with his first family, and his second marriage showed a softer side of him, though Gary never really forgave his father. Crosby passed away at the age of 74 in Spain, his once shining legacy slowly faded from the spotlight except for the background tracks of classic films.