Name at birth: Harry Lillis Crosby
Bing Crosby was one of the biggest American music and movie stars of the mid-20th century, and his recording of "White Christmas" is perhaps the best-known holiday pop song of all time. Bing Crosby started out as a member of the Rhythm Boys, a jazz vocal trio, before going solo in the early 1930s. He quickly became a radio star as a silky-smooth crooner who could sing both pop and jazz. As such he is often credited with inspiring Frank Sinatra and other modern pop singers. (Crosby's languid improvisation, "buh-buh-buh-boooo," was widely parodied.) Crosby also became a film star, winning an Oscar for his portrayal of a good-natured priest in the 1944 movie Going My Way. His long-running comic feud with comedian Bob Hope was milked for laughs on their radio and TV shows, and they co-starred in a series of movies that became known as the "road films": The Road to Singapore (1940), The Road to Hong Kong (1962) and five other films between. (Their co-star in many of the road movies was actress Dorothy Lamour.) Bing Crosby first sang the tune "White Christmas" in the movie Holiday Inn (1942); his recording of the tune remains a holiday favorite, and for many years was the biggest-selling single of all time. (The song's popularity led to another Crosby film, White Christmas, in 1953.) In the 1960s and '70s Bing's annual Christmas special was a popular TV fixture. He died in 1977 on a golf course in Spain, having just completed the 18th hole.
Crosby’s nickname “Bing” grew out of his childhood interest in a comic strip titled The Bingville Bugle… He attended Gonzaga University… Bing Crosby’s theme song was The Blue of the Night… His older brother Bob Crosby was a popular singer in the 1930s and 1940s; he eventually led his own band, the Bob-Cats, and hosted The Bob Crosby Show on radio in the 1940s… Bing Crosby is the father of actress Mary Crosby and the grandfather of actress Denise Crosby. Mary Crosby played Kristin Shepard, the gal who shot J.R. Ewing on the TV series Dallas; Denise Crosby played Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation… Bing and his family are no relation to singer David Crosby… Bing Crosby and Bob Hope both started golf tournaments; Crosby’s famous pro-am was held for many years at Pebble Beach golf club in California… Bing Crosby was the topic of the 2001 biography A Pocketful of Dreams by author Gary Giddins.