13 Bing Crosby Facts: All About the Legendary Entertainer

bing crosby facts
Bing Crosby in 1951. Image by CBS Radio on Wikimedia Commons.

He’s the man who brought us the classic holiday song, “White Christmas,” and was a leading actor in Hollywood.

Bing Crosby was one of the world’s first global cultural icons, with more than 70 films and 1,600 songs attributed to his iconic name.

Who was the man behind these classic pieces of entertainment?

Here are 12 Bing Crosby Facts you may not have known before.

Bing Crosby Facts

bing crosby's net worth
Bing Crosby circa 1940 Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby’s Real Name

Bing Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby Jr but has carried the name “Bing” since he was just seven years old.

When he and his family moved from Tacoma, Washington, to Spokane, the young Crosby discovered the comic strip The Bingville Buglea parody of hillbilly newspapers.

Reportedly, Crosby loved the strip and would always emphatically laugh when he read, leading his neighbor to call him “Bingo from Bingville.” Eventually, the “o” was dropped, but the nickname “Bing” stuck.

bing crosby height
Conover with Bing Crosby, after interviewing him. Image by Voice of America on Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby Height

Bing Crosby was no shorty. He stood at 5 feet, 7.5 inches tall.

bing crosby zodiac
Cropped screenshot of Dorothy Lamour and Bing Crosby from the film Road to Bali in 1952. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby’s Zodiac Sign

With a May 3 birthday, Bing Crosby was a Taurus. If astrologers are correct, that means he was practical and well-grounded.  

bing crosby favorite food
Kathryn Grant with her husband Bing Crosby, 1958. Image by Bert Perry on Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby’s Favorite Food

Bing Crosby was said to like a 1950s dish known as Star-kist Tuna Dumplings.

Made with canned tuna, sauteed onion, celery, and Bisquik, it’s an interesting food choice, to say the least. 

Apparently, Crosby thought this dish, paired with milk and a melted, processed cheese sauce, was quite the delicious treat.

This may be the weirdest of all the Bing Crosby facts and the one that makes our stomachs just a little nauseated.

Related: 11 Best 50s Songs: Your Sock Hop Soundtrack

bing crosby young
Bing Crosby in 1912. Photographer unknown, from Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby’s Favorite Kid’s Game

Reportedly, you wouldn’t have found the young Crosby sitting around doing nothing after school.

No, instead, you would find him in a rousing game of “Cops and Robbers,” his favorite after-school pastime.

This is one of our favorite Bing Crosby facts because we always loved playing that game, too.

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Bing Crosby in 1934. Image by unknown on Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby, Homicide Detective?

We just can’t picture anyone else besides Peter Falk in the role of Columbo, but apparently, Bing Crosby could’ve had the role if he wanted it.

Funnily enough, Crosby turned down the role because he thought it would get in the way of his golfing, even though he was retired by then.

Of all the Bing Crosby facts, this one surprises us the most.

bing crosby and family
Photo of Bing Crosby and family in a skit from his 1974 Christmas special. From left: Mary Frances, Nathaniel, Bing, Kathryn and Harry. Crosby has four sons from his first marriage. Image by Bell System on Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby Took Sports Seriously

Bing Crosby was part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team from the 1940s until the 1960s, holding a 15 percent share. 

He was so worried that he would be bad luck for the team during game 7 of the 1960 World Series that he went to Paris and would only listen to the game on the radio.

He’s not totally paranoid, as he did have it recorded by kinescope, and it was the only copy of the now-famous game at the time.

bing crosby denim
Cropped screenshot of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye from the trailer for the film White Christmas in 1954. Image is from Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby Was All Denim When All Denim Wasn’t Cool

Bing Crosby is credited with being the one who made the “Canadian Tuxedo” famous.

Wearing denim-on-denim may be an acceptable fashion statement now, but not when Bing Crosby was rocking it. He was even denied entry to a hotel in Canada in 1951 because of it.

Thankfully, Levi Strauss and Co. came to the rescue and designed a custom jean tuxedo jacket for future trips to the most luxurious of places.

Related: The Best 18 Female Country Singers of All Time: Who Made the List?

bing crosby 1942
Image of Bing Crosby in 1942. Unknown author, from Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby Liked Things Mellow

Bing Crosby was known to enjoy a smoke with “What a Wonderful World” singer Louis Armstrong from time to time.

Marijuana wasn’t illegal when he started smoking it, but when it became illegal, he was firmly on the side of reversing that ruling as long as it was used responsibly.

He even told Barbara Walters in a 1977 interview: “I don’t think that’s any big sin unless they abused it and got on it continuously.”

bing crosby military
Bing Crosby in the Netherlands in 1975. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby Had a Thing for the Ponies

Along with a love of golf and baseball, Bing Crosby was known to enjoy some time at the track. 

He was among many celebrities responsible for opening the Del Mark Racetrack north of San Diego in 1937.

Crosby himself was even at the gate on opening day, greeting the guests.

The famous track soon became known as where to most often spot celebrities and was the home of the famous winner-take-all two-horse race between Ligaroti and Seabiscuit.

bob hope and bing crosby
Cropped screenshot of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby from the film Road to Bali in 1952 from Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby Had a Gambling Problem

Seeing as he had an influence in the famous horserace track, it’s not surprising that one of the Bing Crosby facts involves him being an avid gambler. 

Still, it is surprising to learn that the “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” singer was once involved with an illegal gambling sting with Bob Hope.

bing crosby mafia
Bing Crosby und Kathryn Grant/Crosby in 1960. Image by Hans Gerber on Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby was Connected to the Mafia

He was also connected to the mafia. 

In his autobiography, Call Me Lucky, he told the story of drinking with a gangster who was involved in the St. Valentine’s Day massacre and was almost shot when a rival gang came seeking justice.

bing crosby
Bing Crosby publicity photo, c. 1930s. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O’Malley

One of Bing Crosby’s most memorable film roles was as Father Chuck O’Malley in Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s. 

They were so impressive that he became the first actor in history to be nominated for the Academy Award’s Best Actor in a Leading Role for portraying the same character.

Crosby took home the award in 1945 for Going My Way but lost in 1946 to Ray Milland’s performance in The Lost Weekend as an alcoholic writer.

Which of these Bing Crosby facts surprised you the most?

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Written by Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a songwriter, musician, journalist, and podcaster based in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s released over a dozen albums since 2002, most recently Old Dog Almost Gone (2021), the first-ever multimedia album, and his latest collection of all original material, A Scientific Search (2020). During his 15+ years as a music journalist, Erik has written hundreds of articles for Music in Minnesota, Something Else Reviews, his own blog Rambling On, and more. In addition to continuing his music career, Erik currently runs The Cosmic American, a music journalism website, and is the editor of Music in Minnesota.


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