Happy birthday Bing Crosby!

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Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor, one of the most popular performers of the 20th century. He performed on radio, television, and in films in addition to live performances. He had countless hits throughout his career including "White Christmas," "Just One More Chance," "At Your Command," and "Pennies from Heaven." He is remembered as being a pioneer of "crooning." He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the film Going My Way (1944) and is the third most popular actor of all time, in terms of ticket sales.

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Crosby was born Harry Crosby in Tacoma, Washington, the fourth of seven children. He was renamed Bing after a local paper used the joke name that a neighbor called him. He had his first experiences with music while working at an auditorium in Spokane, where he saw such acts as Al Jolson.

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After a two-year stint in a high school group, in 1925 he formed a duo with Al Rinker, brother of singer Mildred Bailey, who eventually connected them with bandleader Paul Whiteman. Their first recording was "I've Got The Girl," with Don Clark's Orchestra. Eventually a third member was added to the group, Harry Barris, and the act gained momentum. Called The Rhythm Boys, they began touring with Whiteman and his band alongside the likes of Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, and Jimmy Dorsey.

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Crosby had become the star of the show by the late 1920s, and in 1931, he made his solo debut. Several of the songs he released were that year's biggest hits, including " "Out of Nowhere," "Just One More Chance," "At Your Command," and "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)."

Throughout the 1930s, Crosby's voice became emblematic of American pop music, coining what would later be called "crooning." He appeared regularly on the radio, solo and with other musicians. He began to appear in films, including The Big Broadcast (1932). He would go on to appear in 79 films during his life and is the third most popular actor of all time, in terms of tickets sold, after Clark Gable and John Wayne. Crosby also performed regularly for the U.S. army and is remembered as being one of the most effective at boosting troop morale.

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Crosby's biggest hit came in 1941, when he performed Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" on a radio broadcast on Christmas day. Though there is no copy of the original recording, it was re-recorded and appeared in his film Holiday Inn (1942).

 

Crosby also appeared in television. His first production was The Fireside Theater in 1950, and he went on to appear on many variety shows throughout the 1950s and 60s including The Hollywood Palace.

Crosby had 41 number 1 hits during his career. Four of his songs have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame:"White Christmas", "Swinging on a Star", "Pennies from Heaven" and "Don't Fence me In."

Crosby had a somewhat dark personal life. He was depicted in his son Gary Crosby's memoir Going My Own Way as being cold, harsh, and abusive but his brother, Phillip, later denied many of his claims and accused him of writing the memoir out of greed. Two of his four sons, Lindsay and Dennis, killed themselves in 1989 and 1991 respectively.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Saturday, 03 May 2014
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