Bing Crosby is one of the most successful recording artists in history. The White Christmas and Winter Wonderland crooner has sold over half a billion records; and also had a prominent acting career. However, the loving family man image he always had came into question; when his oldest son Gary released a damning memoir calling Bing’s family life into question. Less than a decade after Gary’s memoir is released, his two younger brothers passed away from suicide. In this video, we’ll learn the tragic circumstances of Bing Crosby and his son’s deaths. Keep watching to see what Bing’s other children think about the accusations against him.
Bing Crosby’s sudden death
Bing Crosby had a very busy month leading up to his death in October of 1977. He performed on tour for two weeks, gave a concert in London, recorded music, had a photoshoot, and gave several interviews. He also had to deal with a break-in and robbery at his London apartment before playing golf and sitting for an interview the very next day. Soon after, he traveled to Spain for a four-day hunting and golfing trip. Sadly, he never got to go bird hunting or make use of the $700 outfit he got just for the occasion.
During his final interview, he noted that the movie High Society with Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra his favorite he ever acted in. And told journalists it was one of his most satisfying career moments. His trip cut short when he had a heart attack and died almost instantly on the golf course. It was sudden – no one saw it coming – nor did he show any signs of pain before collapsing to his death. His final words reported as “Let’s go have a Coca-Cola.”
Gary Crosby’s memoir
Bing Crosby took a lot of pride in his image of a loving husband and father. And often appeared in magazine spreads with his family showcasing this. In Gary’s 1983 memoir “Going my Own Way” he alleges that his father was not the beloved and caring man the public thought he was. Gary said that his father was mentally and physically abusive towards him. And often had a very disapproving and cold demeanor.
He claimed that his parents were like dictators who made him feel like he was in prison. And he hated his home life. According to Gary, he and his siblings would beaten for staying up past their bedtime. And had to abide by strict rules governing every aspect of their lives.
Gary detailed multiple humiliating and abusive incidents that occurred throughout his youth. Gary notes that he and his brothers became alcoholics as a result of the miserable treatment they received from Bing and their mother Dixie Lee. The boy’s mother allegedly also abused alcohol until her death from cancer in 1952.
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The Death of Dennis and Lindsay
Brothers Dennis and Lindsay Crosby very close and said to share traits of humility and meekness. Lindsay relied on his mother’s inheritance from her oil investments to live, as his acting career failed to take off. The brothers able to live comfortably with the money from their mom’s inheritance but told the money soon to run out. They did not have access to their father’s large inheritance; since it put into a trust that the brothers did not have access to until later in life. And most of their father’s fortune left to his second wife and their children. The news came shortly before Lindsay would take his life in 1989. When Lindsay learned that he had no steady income to keep relying on; he fell into a dark depression and started abusing alcohol. He died by suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The siblings crushed by the loss, but Dennis was arguably the most affected by his brother’s death, given their close relationship. After Lindsay’s death, Dennis headed down a depressive spiral and fought a tense battle with alcoholism. On one of his last phone calls with his ex-wife Arleen, he told her that people did not understand the pain he was in and that he could relate to the darkness and despair that Lindsay was dealing with before he took his life. Less than two years after the death of Lindsay Crosby, Dennis too took his own life in the same way that his brother had, with a self-inflicted gunshot. People close to Dennis speculated that his brother’s death disturbed him so profoundly that it led to his suicide.
Nathaniel Crosby’s perspective
Nathaniel Crosby is adamant about refuting his half-brother’s claims about the abuse and harsh nature of their dad Bing Crosby. While he admits that Bing was not one to freely show his emotions, he never doubted that Bing loved him. Bing never said the words I love you to his children, but according to Nathaniel, he’s far from the monster described in Gary’s book. Nathaniel has fond memories of his father and misses him dearly, saying his death left a huge hole in his heart.
He recounts learning to play golf just to spend time with his father on the golf course and counts those as some of his very favorite memories. According to Nathaniel, Bing demanded humility from his children and would have them work very hard. And although he acknowledges that he doesn’t know what happened during Bing’s first marriage, he maintains that Bing was still a decent father.
Philip Crosby and Harry Crosby also agree that Gary’s claims against their father are mostly fabricated. Unlike Harry, who was Gary’s half-brother, Phillip also shared the same mom as Gary, and they grew up in the same house. This puts a considerable amount of weight on his statements about their family life. Phillip calls his brother a “vicious, no good liar” for saying their father would beat any of his children. Nathaniel hopes to restore Bing’s brand and introduce his many hit movies and music to new generations of people to keep his memory alive.
Bing Crosby’s Daughter
Mary Crosby rejects the claims that her half-brother Gary asserts in his book. She says that she personally met with Gary days after the book released and revealed that he essentially admits the claims he made against their father Bing exaggerated. According to Mary, Gary relayed to her that the people involved with the book’s publishing encouraged him to embellish details in order to get more press, sell more copies, and create a greater buzz. Interestingly enough, Gary apologized to the family years later, but by that time, Bing Crosby’s reputation had already destroyed. Mary has expressed quite a bit of anger at this, mentioning how terrible it that her father’s good character was put into question, and says what her brother did was very unfair. She describes that even though Bing not one to show affection, she always knew that she was loved by him.
Even so, he was still as traditional with family values as he portrayed, vowing even to disown Mary if she lived with a man out of wedlock. She maintains that he was always caring towards his children but had a strict, rigid, and proper demeanor. She also hints that Bing Crosby’s first four sons may have had so much anger and problems with alcohol as a result of their mother’s drinking problem, not only while she was raising the kids, but the lack of drinking restrictions while she was pregnant.
Bing Crosby’s Second Family
Mary Crosby asserts that Bing had deep regret for not being as present of a father for his first four children’s life. His exceptional career took up most of his time and focus. The mega fame he achieved during his first marriage took a toll on his family due to all the commitments that frequently took him away. He fully devoted himself to his career, but she says that was his only sin. However, she does say it’s true that he had a second chance to be more of a present father with his second family since he was almost retired by that time. He spent a lot of quality time with them and took them on many trips and adventures.
He did not introduce Hollywood parties or the glamour of fame to his children and taught them to stay humble. They were given a bedtime and simple rules to abide by to avoid getting spoiled. He also never pushed his children towards Hollywood but simply shared his love for his craft with them. Like her brother Nathaniel, Mary hopes to restore and revitalize Bing Crosby for new generations. They are looking into forgotten footage, hidden gems, and other recordings that they can re-release and bring new life to. Christmas time is very nostalgic for Mary and Bing’s other living children. Mary describes hearing his music in grocery stores and crying, but she is happy to be wrapped up in her father’s voice, which reminds her of all the cherished memories with him.
Bing Crosby was an icon and a legend, with his most recognizable single, White Christmas, selling over 50 million copies. But, his death was sudden, tragic, and unexpected – as was the death of his two sons Dennis and Lindsay. His music has enchanted millions of families over many generations and is a Christmastime staple. Let us know in the comments which Bing Crosby Christmas songs you enjoy singing along to. And show your support by giving this video a like, and by subscribing to Facts Verse if you haven’t already.