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