What they said about Bing Crosby ...

Maxene Andrews, of the Andrews Sisters, on Bing's hats and moods.
Patty Andrews, of the Andrews Sisters, on Bing's moods.
Eddy Arnold, country music Hall-of-Famer, on country music's debt to Bing.
Eddy Arnold recalls the only time he met Bing. (MP3 Audio format)
Ken Barnes, Bing's record producer (1974-77), on Bing's treatment of his fans.
Count Basie, composer, talks about his 1972 recording session with Bing.
Tony Bennett, singer, talks about Bing's influence on pop music.
Ingrid Bergman, actress, on her relationship with Bing during Bells of St. Mary's.
Ingrid Bergman describes a practical joke she played on Bing.
Sonny Burke, record producer, on Bing's recording habits.
James Cagney, actor, talks about Bing's appearance at a Victory Caravan rally during World War II.
Frank Capra, movie director, on Bing's acting ability.
Kitty Carlisle, costar with Bing in two 1930s movies.
Carroll Carroll, Kraft Music Hall writer, on the creation of Bing's image.
Carroll Carroll describes Bing's unpredictability.
Rosemary Clooney, singer, on working with Bing.
Rosemary Clooney describes an evening with Humphrey Bogart and Bing.
Rosemary Clooney describes an evening with Grace Kelly and Bing.
Rosemary Clooney describes her return to showbusiness after her nervous breakdown.
Joan Collins, Bing and Bob's female lead in The Road to Hong Kong, describes working with Bing.
Alistair Cooke, BBC correspondent to America, on Bing's humility.
Bing talks about winning the Oscar for best actor.
Bing describes his first wife, Dixie.
Bing discusses the difficulties of being a celebrity parent.
Bing addresses the critics who called him too tough on his kids.
Bing describes his use of corporal punishment.
Bing talks about his courtship of his second wife, Kathryn.
Bing talks about his paparazzi and his burnout in 1954.
Bing talks about Frank Sinatra.
Bing talks about rock and roll.
Bing responds to the news of Elvis Presley's death.
Gary Crosby, Bing's oldest son, on Bing as his father.
Gary Crosby on Bing's confusion regarding his kids' behavior.
Gary Crosby, recovered alcoholic, on his changing relationship with his father.
Gary Crosby talks about his respect for his father.
Gary Crosby on the failure of Bing's methods in raising his first family.
Gary Crosby on how raising his own child helped him re-evaluate Bing.
Gary Crosby talks about his mother, Dixie Lee.
Gary Crosby on Bing as a father to his second family.
Barbara Crosby, Gary's first wife (1962-81), on Gary's relationship to Bing.
Phillip Crosby, Bing's son, on Bing as a parent.
Phillip Crosby responds to Gary's book, "Going My Own Way."
Phillip Crosby on Bing and Gary.
Lindsay Crosby, Bing's son, on Bing as a father.
Larry Crosby, Bing's brother and publicist, on working for Bing.
Bob Crosby, Bing's brother, on Bing's refusal to loan him money.
Bob Crosby talks about living in the shadow of Bing.
Everett Crosby, Bing's brother and manager, talks about Bing's shyness.
Kathryn Crosby, Bing's second wife, on her attraction to Bing.
Kathryn Crosby on Bing's difficulties expressing affection.
Kathryn Crosby talks about Bing in bed.
Kathryn Crosby about Bing's lack of interest in domesticity.
Kathryn Crosby on Bing's favorite tunes.
Mary Frances Crosby, Bing's daughter, on Bing's difficulties expressing affection.
Mary Frances Crosby on Bing as a father.
Sammy Davis Jr. talks about Bing on the set of "Robin and the 7 Hoods."
Mike Douglas, singer and talk show host, talks about doing a show at Bing's home in 1975.
Alan Fisher, Bing's butler (1961-77), talks about Bing's personality.
Rhonda Fleming, actress, describes what it was like to work with Bing.
Will Friedwald, Sinatra biographer, compares Crosby and Sinatra.
Phil Harris, bandleader, talks about Bing's personality.
Bob Hope talks about Bing's influence at Paramount in the '40s.
Bob Hope talks about his friend and partner.
Dorothy Kirsten, classical singer, talks about her relationship to Bing.
Dorothy Lamour, actress, talks about Bing's personality.
Dorothy Lamour, talks about Bing's shyness.
Peggy Lee, singer, talks about her night out with Bing in San Francisco in 1955.
Dean Martin talks about "The Man."
Johnny Mercer, songwriter, on Bing's personality.
Donald O'Connor, dancer, on his admiration for Bing.
Henry Pleasants, music critic, on Bing's vocal range.
Nelson Riddle, arranger, on Bing's personality.
George Seaton, director, on Bing's dramatic role in "The Country Girl."
Frank Sinatra talks about his respect for Bing.
Frank Sinatra talks about Bing's success as a vocalist.
Mel Torme, songwriter and jazz vocalist, on first meeting Bing.
Mel Torme recalls his 1975 visit to Bing's home.
Rudy Vallee, crooner, on seeing Bing perform in Baltimore in 1927.
Wilfred Hyde-White, British actor, compares Sinatra and Crosby.


Return to Bing's Home Page ||| Developed by Steven Lewis

Maxene Andrews:
I never saw him without his hat in all the years I knew him. I also say that he could be very moody, and when he came into the recording studio we could always tell what mood he was in by looking at his hat. When he'd walk in, if his hat was square on his head, you didn't kid around with him. But if it was back a little bit, sort of jaunty, then you could have a ball. Even if he came in and he was, for whatever reason, in a sour mood, he was always great with us. We always had a wonderful time. Bing was the perfection artist to work with -- at least with us. We worked with so many artists that left you wanting. Bing never did. (Bingang, Dec. '92, p9) RETURN



Patty Andrews:
I would honestly say that I don't know Bing. When he'd walk in the studio you'd get to know what mood he was in. I would look at him and if I thought he was unapproachable that day I wouldn't say anything to him and we all felt that way. (Thompson, p237) RETURN



Eddy Arnold:
Bing was fantastic. I have many, many of his records today. He recorded so many of the country songs like "You Are My Sunshine," "It Makes No Difference Now," "Walkin' the Floor Over You." He recorded the first hit I ever had [Just a Little Lovin']. On and on and on. And he did them straight. He never made fun of them. He always did 'em in a melodic way. And, of course, the songs became well known because of his popularity. The songs took on the popularity of the whole country. Do you know who was Winston Churchill's favorite singer and song during World War II? It was Bing Crosby's record of "You Are My Sunshine." (Eddy Arnold: An Inside Look, interviewed by Ralph Emery, TNN, 1991.) RETURN



Ken Barnes:
It was impossible for anyone who met Bing Crosby not to be impressed by him. Most people loved him and admired him as a performer and as a person. Certain people, it must be admitted, disliked him intensely for a variety of reasons -- none of which were ever apparent to me .... Certainly, he had a tendency to be enigmatic. But he was never boorish or unkind to anyone. Also I can honestly say that I have never seen a star who was more considerate to his fans than Bing was. (Barnes, The Crosby Years, p60) RETURN



Count Basie:
... we spent a three-day session making an album with Bing Crosby. I don't remember who got that one through, but I was very thrilled at the idea that we were going to be doing something with the Bingle.... He had put his own personal touch on so many fine tunes that had become standards down through the years. Whenever old Bing took to a tune, there was never any questions about who that was. His personal touch was a standard in itself. We did eleven tracks during those three sessions. There was no problem running them down; but they didn't run out as great as I had hoped. I don't really know what happened that everything didn't come off better than it did. I really don't know, but I don't think that was really Bing's schtick.... But I was still very happy about the whole thing, because it gave me a chance to do work with him. I really think Bing was right at home when he could have his pipe and Pops [Louis Armstrong]. I think that was really his life, anything he and Louis could do. They fit so good. That's what I was thinking about all during the while we were in the studio those three days. If old Louis just would have walked in there on any of those numbers, everything would have fallen in place.... Bing and Pops were something together. (Count Basie, Good Morning Blues, p362) RETURN



Tony Bennett:
I call myself a `Bing Crosby singer.' I was very influenced by Bing. I liked the essence of Bing. He made us all a living; he showed us all how to communicate as popular singers by relaxing. He was blessed by the fact he liked to sing. It had nothing to do with fame or ambition. You could feel him being transformed as soon as he got into a tune, and he got carried away until it was finished. He was shy of any category, because he just sang whatever he liked. And I like that. I don't like saying I'm a jazz singer or a pop singer; I don't like categories. I just like to sing, and I like Bing for that reason. Country, pop, classical, jazz, whatever -- if he liked the melody, he did it. (from an interview by George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, June 19, 1997)



Tony Bennett:
Just imagine something five times stronger than the popularity of Elvis Presley and the Beatles put together. Bing Crosby dominated all of the airwaves. He was the only guy who had hour shows on radio stations, where other artists would just have one record played. (PBS interview, 1999) RETURN



Ingrid Bergman:
From the minute I played in The Bells of St. Mary's everybody knew what I should do forever afterwards. I should be a nun! ... I loved doing my first comedy scenes, because no one knew I could play comedy before this. It was also such a delight to be directed by Leo [McCarey]. But I didn't get to know Bing Crosby at all. He was very polite and nice, and couldn't have been more pleasant, but he was always surrounded by a little group of three or four men chattering away and protecting him from everybody else. I asked who they were and I was told they were his gagmen. (Bergman, My Story, p147) RETURN



Ingrid Bergman:
Actually I played an extra gag on Bing and Leo at the end of the picture. It was the very last scene, the last shot we had to do. Sister Benedict is very unhappy because she is being sent away to some health resort, and she thinks it is because she is not good at her job, and no good with the children. Everybody else knows it's because she has TB and until she recovers her health she can't work with the children. In this very last shot, Father O'Malley thinks it better she be told the truth. So Bing tells me, and my face lights up with joy because ... TB is nothing compared with thinking that I can't look after the children. I say, "Thank you, Father, thank you with all my heart." And Bing answers, "If you're ever in trouble, sister, just dial 'O' for O'Malley," and I reply gratefully, "Thank you, I will." I walk away, and that's the end of the picture. "Fine," shouted Leo. "That's it. That's great. Wrap it up." But I turned to him and said, "Do you mind? Could I do that scene just once more? I think I could do it just a little better." Leo looked surprised because he knew that the scene was as good as we'd ever get, and the film was finally finished; but being such a nice man he said, "Okay, okay ... if you want to. All right, fellas, one more take, here we go ...." So that time I said, "Thank you, Father, oh, thank you with all my heart." And I threw my arms around Bing and kissed him right on the mouth. Bing nearly fell down with shock. Everybody stood up. "Cut! Stop the cameras! Cut, for heaven's sake, cut!" The priest acting as consultant came running up, actually running, in a great state: "Now this is going too far, Miss Bergman, we simply can't allow that. A Catholic nun kissing a Catholic father ... you can't have such a thing in a movie ..." I was already grinning all over my face. Bing was just recovering from the assault, and I looked around and, of course, Leo had caught on and he was laughing his head off. The crew got the joke, too, and now even the priest realized it was all a big joke. (Bergman, My Story, p148-49) RETURN



Sonny Burke:
I don't think there's anybody better in the studio than Bing. He and Sinatra are two of the finest people I've ever worked with from that standpoint. When Bing comes into the studio, he's there to perform and nothing else. He's a pure professional and is that much of a pro that he doesn't tolerate anyone else who isn't. Bing is probably one of the fastest studies I've ever seen. He's got great ears. He has something approaching total recall, in that it doesn't take him long to get the feeling of a piece and learn it. (Thompson, p96) RETURN



James Cagney:
At our opening show in Soldier Field, Chicago, there was a crowd of 130,000 .... Bing walked out to a reception for which the adjective "triumphant" is inadequate. He stood there in that very humble, charming way of his .... After the audience explosion died down, Bing said, "Whadda yez wanna hear?" and they exploded again until the stadium walls nearly buckled. After they subsided, he said, "Ya wanna leave it to me?" and they blew up again. Finally, he said, "Hit me, Al," and our orchestra conductor, Al Newman, started his boys off on "Blues in the Night." They had played only the first two bars when the audience went into rapturous applause once more. Bing finished the song, and never in my life have I heard anything like it. I got the traditional goose pimples just standing there, listening. He did another, same thing .... When Bing came offstage, the perspiration on him was an absolute revelation to me. Here he had been to all appearances perfectly loose and relaxed, but not at all. He was giving everything he had in every note he sang, and the apparent effortlessness was a part of his very hard work. (Cagney by Cagney, Doubleday, 1976) RETURN



Frank Capra:
I rate him in the top ten of all actors. He'd do anything and do it well. (Thompson, p243) RETURN



Kitty Carlisle:
I did two shows with Bing. And he never talked to me. I think he just didn't want to talk to me. The only time he did talk to me was when he showed me a nice, rather modest, diamond necklace, and he asked me "Do you think my wife would like this?" I said, "I'm sure she'd love it!" And that was the end of it. But he must have liked me because he had to have OK'd me for his films. He had control (over) who starred with him. He was simply the best singer I had ever heard. He was the best singer of the (big band era singers). (The Desert Sun, 18 Jan. 2006) RETURN



Carroll Carroll:
I have been credited with giving Bing Crosby a style of talking.... The reason early Crosby/Kraft radio shows sounded stilted was that Bing simply resisted talking. He didn't want to be bothered with scripts and rehearsals. He just wanted to sing. Finally, we conceived the idea of putting lines in the guests' scripts that were not in Bing's script. No performer wants to wind up with egg on his face, and Bing rose to the bait. Always quick enough with a quip in the locker room at Lakeside, he fell back on this natural resource. Between this, and the language I wrote for him which he enjoyed speaking, the public image known as Bing Crosby evolved. (from The Old Time Radio Book by Ted Sennett, p68-69) RETURN



Carroll Carroll:
He perplexed me sometimes with the changes he would make to the script. He'd change a word arbitrarily. Say it was 'beautifully.' He'd change it to 'magnificently.' I'd think, well, he doesn't like 'beautifully' for some reason. So the next time I'd want to use the word I'd use 'magnificently' instead and he'd change it back to 'beautifully.' (Thompson, p75) RETURN



Rosemary Clooney:
Over the years Bing and I have done movies together, recordings, radio, television -- the whole entertainment circle.... The best way to get along with Bing was to forget first of all that he was Bing Crosby. It was not always easy. I know that every now and then something would strike me when we were working together -- the tilt of his pipe or the set of his hat -- the Crosby image -- and I'd say to myself, "What the hell am I doing singing here with Bing Crosby?" (Clooney, This for Remembrance, p232) RETURN



Rosemary Clooney:
One night during the White Christmas filming, Bing and I went to dinner at Bobby Dolan's house.... Bogart was also a guest that night and as we entered the door Bogey called out, "Here comes Miss Clooney and Mr. Crosby." So right away you know Bogey is up to his usual mischief. Bing never discusses his politics, but everybody knew that he was quite a conservative and it was assumed that he was a staunch member of the Republican party. So Bogey picked up on something I said and made a big to-do about it, hoping to get Bing to bite. I asked Bogey, "Where's Betty tonight?" "Oh, Miss Bacall is on the road with Adlai Stevenson," and he went into quite a speech about Mr. Stevenson for Bing's benefit.... It was Bogart's way of causing a little stir -- hoping that Bing would say something on behalf of Mr. Eisenhower. But Bing didn't bite. Completely ignored the remarks. With no reaction, Bogey gave up. People usually didn't let Bogart pass that easily, but Bing did. (Clooney, This for Remembrance, p235) RETURN



Rosemary Clooney:
Bing was never much of a partygoer, but he did come to my house -- he was really nice about that -- and I would have dinner at his house quite often.... I remember one night he invited me to dinner with Grace Kelly.... This was some time before he married Kathryn. As a matter of fact, I think Grace may have wondered why I was there. But Bing and I were just friends -- always. Nothing else. Just great friends. His boys were also my friends. (Clooney, This for Remembrance, p235) RETURN



Rosemary Clooney:
I was at a party one night just before Christmas of 1975 and Bing was there.... As an aside he said, "I'm doing a benefit on March 17. Would you like to join us?" ... I figured it would be a one-night stand and that would be the end of it. Nobody told me that it was the kick-off of Bing's 50th year in show business. He treated it so casually. So I said, "Of course, I'll be glad to appear," and I promptly forgot it. While on a cruise, halfway through the Panama Canal, I got word from a fellow passenger that the Los Angeles Times had carried a big announcement of the forthcoming Bing Crosby Concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion -- and that they were sold out. When I got home and tried to obtain tickets for my kids I got my first clue that I was to be a part of something astronomical in the business. I immediately developed a bad case of nerves.... All of a sudden I had these pangs of the sick Rosemary I had been: Could I handle such a major event? Maybe I should just ignore it and it would go away, or maybe I could develop some throat trouble .... As the date grew closer, though, I sat down and had a little one-on-one talk with myself. "Rosemary," I said, "you either do it or you'll be right back where you were in 1968".... I was terrified when I walked out on the stage that night, but the reviews were fantastic for me. The analysis, all the work I'd been doing handling my own problems, were now a solid base for me. I could do anything I wanted to. I was the old Rosemary Clooney. The reviews, I'm sure, encouraged Bing to invite me to go on his tour, which I'd known nothing about and which would include the Palladium in London. I accepted. Photographs of Bing and me together were on the wire services all over the world. Rosemary was back, indeed. (Clooney, This for Remembrance, p237-238) RETURN



Rosemary Clooney:
Bing had a tremendous personal dignity and reserve that were not easy to penetrate. I think people finally touched him in a way, perhaps, he had not been touched before.... I believe it was the next to the last night at the Palladium [October 1977]. I saw him as he moved away from the microphone, opened his arms up to the audience, and said, "I love you." Then he put his arms around himself in a big bear hug -- to demonstrate to them just how much love he had for them. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. Bing had never been that demonstrative with an audience in his life. (Clooney, This for Remembrance, 2nd edition, p242-243) RETURN



Joan Collins:
I liked Bob Hope immensely.... Bing Crosby, on the other hand, was a different breed: offhand, grumpy and vague. He appeared me to always as an old man acting very young, or a young man who looked old. His face was like a piece of crumpled tissue paper and I never felt his eyes when he looked at me. They looked through me. He did not endear himself to the crew, and he had the revolting habit of spitting on the set or wherever he happened to be. We spent days shooting on stage that had sawdust on the floor, and he would clear his throat and aim a great wad of pipe spit on the piles of sawdust scattered around, to the chagrin of the tiny Cockney in charge of sweepig the set.... Crosby puffed away on his pipe, oblivious to all the activity going on around him. We were standing in the middle of the set getting the final light checks for our love scene, and Bing had spat at least three times that morning.... I arranged my face into the correct loving expression to gaze into Crosby's bland blue eyes and smell his rancid breath and wondered again how people could think an actress's life was just a bowl of cherries." (Joan Collins Past Imperfect: An Autobiography, Berkley Book, 1985, p183-84) RETURN



Alistair Cooke:
I can't think of another man with anything like his fame, who was so unrattled by it. Perhaps he was one of those people who, though not at all selfish, are deeply self-centered -- what they call 'a very private person.' Because he couldn't identify deeply with other people's troubles, he was able to appear, and to be, everybody's buddy. He was the least exhibitionist celebrity I've ever known, and because death is so dramatic, so showy, some of us cannot believe he won't show up in the locker room tomorrow and say, "Well, skipper, how's tricks?" (BBC broadcast Two for the Road, 1977) RETURN



Bing:
I'd been nominated, so I knew there was a chance, but I just thought it was a kind of popularity award. I'd done some charitable things, a lot of shows, benefits, I was a golfer and that was that. It was a war year and all the good talent was away and I figured they reckoned "give it to this guy -- he's not a bad fellow." (Thompson, p111) RETURN



Bing:
She was a very fine woman. I was devoted to her. She was very timid, terribly shy. It was awfully difficult to get her to make any kind of public appearance and that was the reason she never did anything more in show business. She just hated the exposure and the necessity to work with strangers .... When she did get to know anybody she was a marvelous friend and a great deal of fun. (Thompson, p172) RETURN



Bing:
My situation as a father is maybe a bit more complicated than that which faces most dads. Raising the sons of a movie star presents special problems. When the children of people prominent in show business go to school or to entertainments or to parties, the solid, well-grounded kids they meet at those places pay them no special attention, but there's always a bunch of bubble-heads who make a fuss over a boy whose father or mother's name is known in the entertainment world. "With all the money your old man's got, you'll never have to work," they tell him. Or, "you mean you've got only one car?" and they ladle out the old goo. If the kid who gets this treatment is a little susceptible -- as some of mine are -- such guff can spoil them. My slant on such buttering up is this: there's an old Italian proverb which says, "Never kiss a baby unless he's asleep...." When I want to be especially flattering to one of my offspring, I say, "Nice goin'" and let it go at that. (Call Me Lucky, 1953, p203) RETURN



Bing:
Some of my friends think I'm too tough a disciplinarian with my sons.... When the twins, Dennis and Philip, were seventeen and Gary was eighteen, I set up a few rules to govern their checking-in-with-the-old-man hours while they were at Hayden. The twins had to be in by ten o'clock at night and Gary had to show at eleven.... As a result, I've had some bitter arguments with my sons. They've come home at ten o'clock wearing a lip on them that would trip a pig, disgruntled at having to fall in with my fuddy-duddy notions, forced to leave while the fun was still going on and fifteen- and fourteen-year-olds were staying up. This made them feel embarrassed. But it's my claim that no kid that young has any business out after ten o'clock, fooling around with an automobile or laughing it up in beer parlors. A growing boy ought to get nine or ten hours' sleep, but my main concern is the trouble they might get into. (Call Me Lucky, 1953, p204) RETURN



Bing:
There have been times when I couldn't tell whether I was Captain Bligh in a Hawaiian sport shirt or the cream puff of the world, for Dixie used to tell me that I was too lax, that I wasn't strict enough, and that I forgot our boys' transgressions too soon. She used to reproach me with, "You punish them; then ten minutes later you're taking them to a movie. That's bad. You should let the memory of their punishment linger so they'll remember it." Lax or not, I'll bet they remember the spankings they got when they were younger. I laid in a big leather belt -- similar to the one I'd back up to at Gonzaga in the hand of Father Sharp -- and when they did something particularly outrageous -- for example, going into Dixie's room, taking her canary out of its cage, and giving it what they called "a summer suit" by plucking its feathers -- I summer-suited them by taking their pants down and fanning their rears. They remember that all right. But I admit I haven't licked them for several years. They've grown too big. I don't duck too good any more, and they might wheel and duck me... So when punishment is indicated, I take their liberties away from them. (Call Me Lucky, 1953, p205-206) RETURN



Bing:
We were going to get married three or four times and then I'd lose my courage. I was fearful that there'd be a lot of criticism. I was a bit timorous about it, but finally I figured that if I could just do it secretly and privately, and then let the news come out, it would be all right. Her mother was furious. She said that I married Kathryn for the publicity. (Thompson, p190) RETURN



Bing:
The sycophants that hang about, the press, the photographers, the song publishers and pluggers and the pests of all descriptions that grab me everytime I step outside my front door weary me indescribably. Succinctly, John, I seem to have had it. Maybe a year or so away will make me feel differently, and my interest will revive. (1954 letter to John Scott Trotter) RETURN



Bing:
Frank's hotheaded, he does things that get him into the papers, but if he likes you, you've got a friend whose friendship is fanatically loyal. If he likes you, he'll do anything for you or give you anything he's got; but if he doesn't like you, he can be the most ornery cuss you've ever known. And it doesn't lake him long to find out in which classification he places you. He hates pomposity and he hates anyone in authority who he doesn't think is qualified to have authority. And he'll go to great lengths to make such phonies uncomfortable. (Saturday Evening Post, May 11, 1957, p120) RETURN



Bing:
Let's talk about what rock and roll is. It's really a new name for an old musical medium. Years ago they called this kind of music 'race records.' By that they didn't mean Negro music; they just meant blues. Then gradually, the name changed to rhythm and blues; now it's called rock and roll.... The beat's old too. It's a rolling bass repeated over and over under a blues melody. Maybe the beat is accentuated a little more; maybe those who play it put in more variations on their rolling bass. They always have their right hand high up on the piano, playing triplicates as fast as they can. It's got a flavoring of boogie, but it always has that basic rolling-bass pattern. If you try to say the beat in words, it comes out 'shoo-beedoo-bee-doo.' (Saturday Evening Post, May 11, 1957, p119) RETURN



Bing:
Oh, I'm shocked. It's a sad thing to hear. A young man like Presley, just a young fella, so vibrant, so influential all through the years of American popular music and now you tell me he's gone. It's hard to believe. It'll be a great loss. (NBC news interview 16 Aug. 1977) RETURN



Gary Crosby (1975):
I'm sure father had received threats against us that we didn't even know about and probably will never know about. Not knowing about it made it tough for us. We couldn't figure out why we couldn't do what the other guys did. So to us it was like he was chaining us up. He was over-strict, but at least it was because he really cared and was something he really felt deeply about .... (Thompson, p87) RETURN



Gary Crosby:
It was inconceivable to him [Bing] that the outside world wouldn't treat us [Bing's children] the same as it treated him. He had never experienced being on the receiving end of hatred and anger. He liked everyone, and everyone liked him back. He was a very civilized man. We were not civilized. We were wild Indians, and he didn't have it in him to comprehend why we drank and carried on and did all the dumb things we did. (Going My Own Way, p284) RETURN



Gary Crosby:
It took me a long time to get through my noggin that the hours we [Bing and Gary] spent together weren't so awful. Eventually, though, I began to notice that he didn't seem to be coming down on me anymore. He wasn't acting so cold and disapproving. He wasn't lecturing me about all the things I was doing wrong. He seemed to be accepting me for pretty much what I was. I suppose to his way of thinking he no longer had that much to bitch about. I had stopped drinking and using. I had married a good Catholic woman he liked. I was raising a son and not doing too bad a job of it. I wasn't carrying on like a maniac when I worked. I looked halfway responsible to him, and now that I was a lot closer to what he wanted, he was able to let up. Most likely he was sick and tired of the fight anyhow. I began to realize he probably hadn't been fighting me for years, but because no truce had been called I'd been keeping the war going all by myself. (Going My Own Way, p283) RETURN



Gary Crosby:
Once he [Bing] got off my case I was able to relax and take another look at him. I found myself thinking, "All right now, this man has done some good things in his life. Try to name some of them." That wasn't hard. He made millions of people happy through his talent. He contributed God knows how many dollars to dozens of good causes. He played hundreds of benefits, giving away for free what he could have been selling for a bundle. "Okay, suppose some other man did these things. What would you think of him?" Well, hell, I'd think he was a damn good guy, really a good man, a straight dude. "Well, if he did them, then he must be a good guy too, right? That doesn't make for a bad person." I had to agree with that. So the anger was only about the way he had been with me and my brothers, and about how the people who bought his persona judged us by what they thought him to be. (Going My Own Way, p285) RETURN



Gary Crosby:
The old man [Bing] believed what he believed, and he thought he was doing right. He wasn't any tougher than a lot of fathers of his generation. And a lot of kids can handle that kind of upbringing without any difficulty. It was too bad that my brothers and I didn't buy it and turn out the way he wanted. That would have made it very comfortable for everyone. But whatever the reasons, we didn't. Linny and the twins clammed up like a shell. I bulled my neck and fought him tooth and nail all the way down the line. To my own destruction. The discipline just didn't work with us. (Going My Own Way, p285) RETURN



Gary Crosby:
I empathized with Steve [Gary's adopted son] so strongly that at first I couldn't bring myself to impose on him any of the things I had hated when I was a kid. Well, no child likes discipline, but now that I was on the other end of the stick it didn't take long to realize that some of it was necessary. I saw that I couldn't just let him run wild in the streets doing whatever he liked. That wasn't good for him either. I saw that there had to be limits, rules and some form of punishment when they were broken.... I began to see that it wasn't so easy being a parent. I'm not sure if that helped soften my attitude toward the old man [Bing], but it had to have some effect. (Going My Own Way, p280) RETURN



Gary Crosby:
She [Dixie] used to call him [Bing] "the romantic singer of songs you love to hear." She would kid him, but she would always give an honest opinion of what he did -- good, bad or whatever. She always said what she thought and he listened to her. (Thompson, p172) RETURN



Gary Crosby (1975):
He takes a lot more. You can see him looking at them [Bing's second brood] sometimes like he'd like to give them a shot in the back of the head -- but he kind of holds himself back a little and listens to them a little more. Whatever mistakes he thought he'd made with us, he is making sure he's not going to make with them. (Thompson, p220) RETURN



Barbara Crosby:
I do not know if what's in the book ("Going My Own Way") is true but he never said anything to me about whippings. I think it all got a little out of hand. I certainly never witnessed anything between him and his father. I couldn't believe it when I read the book because it just didn't sound like Gary. (STAR, March 29, 1983, p18) RETURN



Phillip Crosby:
I'm real tough with my kids and our father was that way because he had been raised that way. His mother was a very beloved woman, but she was a tyrant. She had the fear of all -- my dad, his four brothers and my two aunts -- up until she died. ... So dad was very strict, but he was fair. Of course, our mother was very strict too, because we were four very high-spirited kids. She'd let us have it and then when Dad got home that night she'd give him the story. And we'd get it again! It was always a double-header. (Thompson, p156) RETURN



Phillip Crosby:
He [Gary Crosby] was being interviewed on television about the book ["Going My Own Way"] and I couldn't believe my ears -- he was trying to build a case for child abuse. My parents were strict but they weren't overstrict. They had a very definite set of rules and guidelines -- for example, don't talk back to a grown-up, never speak disrespectfully to your teachers. I would not call any of the punishment 'beatings' -- that word has the connotation of someone picking up a two-by-four and whacking you until drawing blood. Most of the time Dad just whacked him across the hands. He and Mom did use the belt once in a while, but only when we definitely deserved it. RETURN



Phillip Crosby:
My dad was not the monster my lying brother said he was, He was strict, but my father never beat us black and blue and my brother Gary was a vicious, no-good liar for saying so. I have nothing but fond memories of dad, going to studios with him, family vacations at our cabin in Idaho, boating and fishing with him. To my dying day, I'll hate Gary for dragging dad's name through the mud. He wrote it [Going My Own Way] out of greed. He wanted to make money and knew that humiliating our father and blackening his name was the only way he could do it. He knew it would generate a lot of publicity and that was the only way he could get his ugly, no-talent face on television and in the newspapers. My dad was my hero. I loved him very much. And he loved all of us too, including Gary. He was a great father. (GLOBE, 1999, interviewed by Neil Blincow) RETURN



Lindsay Crosby (1975):
I know the older boys got it a little worse than I did. I was the last one, so I kind of got away with murder. They had to be in bed pretty early, compared to other kids, and as I look back on it now I can see that it all makes sense and Dad did it for a reason. I know if I had something to do he'd let me do it, but he wanted me home at a reasonable hour. (Thompson, p155) RETURN



Larry Crosby:
I don't think anything has been a struggle for Bing. Everything comes easy, but he's not a detail man. Here at the office he thinks we can do everything in one day, when actually it takes weeks. He wants it right now! He's a pretty good boss, but I think he listens to too many people. (Thompson, p100) RETURN



Bob Crosby:
In 1934, I formed my own band. As it was customary then ... I started with road hops. But before long, we stopped hopping. No more dough! In desperation, I wired Bing for funds -- and was turned down cold! But just as I was ready to call it quits, I got the necessary money from a third party, who had been instructed by Bing to help me out, without letting me know where the help came from. He wanted me to learn to stand on my own feet, and to make it impossible for me to thank him. Bing was always hesitant to accept appreciation in any form. (Bingang, July '93, p11) RETURN



Bob Crosby:
I didn't want to be compared with Bing. I didn't want people to say his brother Bing sings better than he does. I knew darned well I had a better band than he had! Of course, he never had a band. I think probably the one trait that would concern me about brother Bing would be his lack of responsibility. He is a loner; he likes to take care of Harry Lillis Crosby and he does take care of Harry Lillis Crosby. (Thompson, p165) RETURN



Everett Crosby:
Seems corny to say of a fellow who's as much in the public eye as Bing has been for more than fifteen years, that he's shy; is bashful. But that's a fact -- except around close, very old friends. He HATES to have people come up and pat him o the back. On compliments, he chokes. Even if I should give him a pat on the back, tell him I think he's great -- which, very confidentially, I do -- he'd think I'd gone crazy. (Bingang, July '93, p8) RETURN



Kathryn Crosby:
I was never a fan. I never collected Bing Crosby records. I never saw Bing Crosby movies. I fell in love with the man. (Thompson, p179) RETURN



Kathryn Crosby:
Bing has a very private feeling about life, and marriage and death. He doesn't like to share certain things.... Bing has said all the lovely words to the very lovely ladies on the screen, but he had very good writers! Innately, he's very sensitive and I think when it came to saying words that would commit him, he would be doubly reticent without his script ... He wrote letters like weather reports. Like "It's now cold and clear up in Pebble Beach; the golf is good and the skies are blue ..." (Thompson, p187) RETURN



Kathryn Crosby:
People who didn't know thought Bing had difficulty expressing affection. Not at all. As I was to learn much later, the secret was in that top button on the pajamas. If it was fastened, it was going to be a quiet read in bed and lights out at 10 p.m. after chaste prayers. If it was unbuttoned, however, watch out. (My Life with Bing, p 29) RETURN



Kathryn Crosby:
I didn't know then [1954] that this pattern was to be repeated throughout our lives. When he had me where he thought he wanted me -- at home, being domestic -- the discussion of pablum, potty training, and rosebush pruning bored him to tears. When I was away acting, he caught fire, perhaps reacting to a sparkle in my eyes. He became agitated, distressed, demanding, jealous. In short -- heaven. (My Life with Bing, p 39) RETURN



Kathryn Crosby:
Now [1955] he was playing what was to become a familiar tune. It ran "Whenever you're away from me, Baby, I want you all alone and blue" in the key of B-flat. I would come to know it as an old and dear refrain, a constant in the relationship of Harry Lillis Crosby and Olive Kathryn Grandstaff. I hadn't yet played the flip side enough to become familiar with it, but I was to learn that it was "And I'll do exactly as I please and tell you nuthin' at all," in the key of C-Major. (My Life with Bing, p 53) RETURN



Mary Frances Crosby:
In contrast to Mother -- who is a soft, warm, affectionate Southern lady -- he was very uncomfortable with expressing his feelings. He'd use sarcasm or criticism to slip in a compliment upside-down. Or we'd hear of his praise from other people. If I kissed him goodnight, he'd pull away. If I hugged him too long, he'd squirm. It was fun playing against his resistance, because I knew he secretly loved the tenderness he found so hard to express. RETURN



Mary Frances Crosby:
Growing up as Bing's daughter is something that I am very proud of. I love being his kid. I am from good stock, as they say. I am proud to have his genes and the genes of my mother in my body. I think they make me strong and talented and good. On a more personal level, it was great because Daddy had always had boys and he never had a girl. He didn't know what to do with me as a girl. It was terrific. He taught me how to play baseball and how to hunt and how to fish. I am, to this day, an incorrigible tomboy. And we got serenaded with "White Christmas." (quoted from Toxic Fame by Joey Berlin, p319-20) RETURN



Sammy Davis:
I'm working with three of the biggest guys in the business -- so I can't wait for the first day when we all get around the piano to rehearse a song called 'Mr Booze.' In this there are so many Crosbyisms, all the things that we and millions of people have loved him for. And I'm standing there, and I missed my cue five times because I'm watching him. Frank [Sinatra] said, "What the hell is wrong with you?" I said "To hell with you, Frank, I'm listening to Bing Crosby!" Everybody just broke up. (Thompson, p208) RETURN



Mike Douglas:
Talk about being comfortable with who you are. We did an entire show at Bing Crosby's magnificent home at Burlingame in Northern California. My first idol, Bing Crosby. If there was a singer, a performer, and a man I aspired to be like, it was Bing Crosby. In my youth, it was the mellifluous tones of his voice that came over the radio, beckoning me to sing along. In my navy days in World War II, I remember walking the streets of Calcutta, India, on shore leave one lonely night, so far from my home and my new bride, Gen. I needed something to lift my spirits. As I passed a Hindu man sitting at a street corner, I heard something strikingly familiar, I turned to see the man cranking one of those ancient Victrolas, like the one on the RCA logo with the horn-shaped speaker, and I heard Bing Crosby singing "Accentuate the Positive." I stopped and smiled in appreciative recognition. The Hindu man nodded and smiled back. The whole world knew and loved Bing Crosby.

I was as nervous as a tenement kid at a debutante ball.... He sang, told stories, treated us like we were next-door neighbors over for a little visit. I'll tell you how unassuming Bing Crosby was. Bing was a sweater guy, remember. Between the golf and his casual, comfortable attitude, he had gone through a herd of alpacas in his time. He wore a sweater for the show. A few mintes before we started taping, I looked over and noticed this one had a gaping hole in the elbow. I leaned close and whispered, "Bing that sweater has a hole in it." How laid-back was Bing? He looked at me and shrugged. "They'll get over it." (Douglas, I'll Be Right Back, Simon and Shuster, 2000, pages 62-63) RETURN



Alan Fisher:
Mr. Crosby could have been put in a field alone with a gallon of water (purified!), a can opener and two cans of corned beef, and he would have survived. He truly needed no one. Of course, we cosseted him totally, though he was quite unaware of this. Our whole lives quietly revolved around his axis. He knew everyone and everyone called him. He was available to all, but seldom rang anyone. His friends, I must say, were -- almost to a man -- tycoons of industry. In my humble and probably quite inaccurate opinion, he did not feel acting was an honorable profession -- singing, either. He truly admired men with brains who had made it to the top. (Bingang, Winter 1996-97, p21) RETURN



Rhonda Fleming:
He was always pulling jokes and taking time to make people laugh. We'd just be ready to shoot a scene -- I was ready to go like a race horse at the starting gate -- and Bing would be talking to the men up on the catwalks. He'd start to tell them a funny story -- and I'm trying to remember my lines and also listen to the joke -- and the director would shout 'action.' Bing would go immediately from the joke right into his scene. He didn't forget a line or a movement. The minute the director said "cut," he was back to finishing the story again - an incredible memory! (Thompson, p143) RETURN



Will Friedwald:
I think that the whole of popular music before Sinatra can be described as a gradual building towards Sinatra. First, there was Jolson, who was great at what he did, and then Bing Crosby built on what Jolson had done. Then along comes Sinatra who brings what they did together and builds on it. Crosby was the first singer to really explore the idea of lyric interpretation, but Sinatra did it on a deeper and much more emotional level than Crosby had been able to do. Obviously, Crosby was a major influence on Sinatra. He was the one who inspired Sinatra to take up a singing career. Sinatra also recorded something like a hundred songs or more that had earlier been sung by Crosby. (Time interview, May 15, 1998) RETURN



Phil Harris:
A lot of people don't understand him because he goes his own way, minds his own business, picks his own friends and lives his own life. (Thompson, p241) RETURN



Bob Hope:
In one picture Bing and I were to do a scene where both of us were in a double bed. But when Bing came to bed he was still wearing his hat, a fedora. So I said to him, "Bingo, nobody comes to bed wearing a hat. How about removing it?" He refused. Evidently he didn't have his toupee on and he was too lazy to put it on. Then Butler [the director] asked him to remove his hat. And when he still wouldn't do it, Butler sent for three executives from the front office and explained the problem to them. One of them was Y. Frank Freeman, the head of the studio. Freeman said he'd handle it, and went over to Bing who was in bed with his hat on and said, "Mr. Crosby, is everything all right? Are you happy with the picture?" And Bing nodded, "Yes, everything was fine." So Freeman turned to Butler, barked, "Okay, roll 'em," and walked away. They were scared to death to say anything to Bing to upset him, so we ended up shooting the scene with Bing's hat on, and I covered it with some joke like, "Do you always get your nightcaps from Stetson?" (quoted by Arthur Marx, The Secret Life of Bob Hope, p164). RETURN



Bob Hope:
Bing and I met at the old Capitol Theatre in 1932, when we were both playing vaudeville on the Broadway circuit. I was emcee, and after Bing sang his songs we clowned together. We did our impression of two orchestra leaders meeting on the street. Each of us pulled out a baton and led the other while we talked. Next we did our impression of two farmers meeting. One of us asked, "How are things down on the farm?" The other said, "It's cold in the reading room." Then we milked each others thumbs.... If friends could have been made for each other, I would have asked for one just like Bing.... I miss him. (Bingang, Dec. '88, p34) RETURN



Dorothy Kirsten:
It is difficult to find one word to describe my feelings about this great performer's voice: sexy, smooth, suave, and ever so personalized ... many have tried to emulate his sound.... Bing and I were close friends for quite a while and enjoyed some good times together. He was a warm person with a gay and light personality. At one time we actually became quite serious; however, there were two important careers to consider. (Kirsten, A Time to Sing, p124) RETURN



Dorothy Lamour:
There were times when for short intervals I would feel very close to Bing. Then there were other times when I felt that he looked upon me as a complete stranger. (Thompson, p239) RETURN



Dorothy Lamour:
Bing asked if I would do a cameo role in his new film, Here Comes the Groom.... The money was certainly right, and that crazy scene took only one day to film, so I agreed. The Paramount publicity department ... decided to hold the premiere in Elko, Nevado, where Bing happened to own a very large ranch. How they talked Bing into it I don't know, because he absolutely loathed any large affair, and this was to be a three-day event with planeloads of press being flown in from all over the country.... As I look back, I think he was a very shy, insecure man. The world looked upon him as one of the great talents, he just never saw himself in that light. (Lamour, My Side of the Road, p181-82. RETURN



Peggy Lee:
He took me out to dinner once and I got up nerve enough to tell him about how I felt at one movie when he didn't get the girl. I was so in sympathy with him that when he sang this song 'Down by the River' I cried and cried. So he pretended that we were sort of sightseeing in San Francisco and we went around to different little bistros until finally he found a pianist who knew the song and Bing sang it especially for me. (Thompson, p139) RETURN



Dean Martin:
I loved to sing when I was small. I never missed a Bing Crosby picture when I was back home. I loved to hear him sing, as most of us did -- Frank or Perry Como, they'll tell you the truth, and me -- everybody copied Bing. And then, in time, they developed their own style, but it was the man, Bing, he started it all. ("Wine, Women and Song," 1983 BBC documentary interview) RETURN



Johnny Mercer:
He's an unphoney man. He's so distant, but he's a very genuine man. (Thompson, p242) RETURN



Donald O'Connor:
In 1938 I'd played his kid brother and he was protecting me all the time. But when I did Anything Goes we were to be buddy-buddies of about the same age and it was very difficult for me to relate to Bing at that time. I had become really enamoured with him, starstruck, which I'm not prone to do with people; but with Bing yes. (Thompson, p181) RETURN



Henry Pleasants:
Bing is right when he says that he has very little voice. He is wrong in assuming that what voice he has is ordinary.... The octave B flat to B flat in Bing's voice at that time [1930s] is, to my ears, one of the loveliest I have heard in forty-five years of listening to baritones, both classical and popular. It dropped conspicuously in later years. Since the mid-1950s, Bing has been more comfortable in a bass range while maintaining a baritone quality, with the best octave being G to G, or even F to F. In a recording he made of 'Dardanella' with Louis Armstrong in 1960, he attacks lightly and easily on a low E flat. This is lower than most opera bases care to venture, and they tend to sound as if they were in the cellar when they get there. (Pleasants, The Great American Popular Singers, p132) RETURN



Nelson Riddle:
He's a very pleasant man; I have never known him to be unpleasant, but he has a certain reserve about him. This was also the case later on with Sinatra, but Frank was more evocative than Bing. Bing is a person who stands off a bit. (Thompson, p148) RETURN



George Seaton:
When I walked in, there sat Bing with his College Humour wig on! The wavy one he'd worn in all those early films, and he was very defiant. He said "I've just decided that this is what I'm going to wear in this picture." I reminded him that we'd already agreed he had to play the character and that he couldn't play College Humour all over again. He said, "Well I've got my audience to think of. I don't want to look like an old man on the screen" (he was 53). I said, "You won't -- you'll look your age -- but there's nothing wrong with than, you're playing a character part." (Thompson, p177) RETURN



Frank Sinatra:
Bing's death is almost more than I can take. He was the father of my career, the idol of my youth and a dear friend of my maturity. His passing leaves a gaping hole in our music and in the lives of everybody who ever loved him. And that's just about everybody. Thank God we have his films and his records providing us with his warmth and talent forever. RETURN



Frank Sinatra:
"The thing about Bing was, he made you think you could do it, too. . . . Every time [ he ] sang, it was a duet, and you were the other singer." (Quoted in Why Sinatra Matters by Pete Hamill. RETURN



Mel Torme:
In 1945, my Mel-Tomes and I walked into Decca recording studios in Hollywood to cut our very first record with Bing. We didn't know what to expect. Bing Crosby. A terror? Haughty? Difficult? When he walked in, grinning, relaxed, and friendly, we relaxed as well and proceeded to make what I feel was a very good record. Bing treated us as though we were old friends, making, not forcing, suggestions. There were a few solo spots for me, and I sang them hesitantly. Bing encouraged me to 'sing out' and egged me on during the actual making of the record .... If there is anyone I have modeled myself after over the years, I would have to say it is Bing Crosby. (Torme, My Singing Teachers, p19-20) RETURN



Mel Torme:
In 1975 he invited me and my family to lunch at his home just outside of San Francisco. Mary Frances and Harry, Bing's kids, were on hand as well as Kathryn, and it was a funny, jolly, loving luncheon, full of stories and remembrances. After lunch, Bing, sans hairpiece, asked Harry to go get his guitar. We adjourned to the music room, and, just like that, Bing sat down and began to sing. He did about eight tunes, invited me to join him, which I did, and that's the way the afternoon went .... That night he brought the whole family to the Fairmont, sat at a front table (still sans toupee), and stayed through my whole performance. I never quite got over that. (Torme, My Singing Teachers, p19) RETURN



Rudy Vallee:
Suddenly, the room was as quiet as a grave. Out in the middle of the floor was one of this trio, singing. The crowd was quiet, very quiet, and when he finished the place went into ecstasy. They applauded like mad and this young man walked right off the floor with no expression whatsoever on his face. No triumph! No elation! No conquest! It was as though he were deaf like Beethoven and couldn't hear that the audience had liked what he did. (Thompson, p38) RETURN



Wilfred Hyde-White:
Sinatra would turn up with three or four Karmen Ghias. The doors would open and bodyguards would march down. But Bing would turn up in a little car, stop at the gate for his dressing-room key and then park it himself! The difference was rather marvelous. (Thompson, p209) RETURN


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