Bing Crosby’s Net Worth: The Legendary Crooner’s Wealth

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

Last updated on April 12th, 2023 at 09:30 pm

Bing Crosby was a legend of the 20th century as an icon of music and film. His distinct voice and lovable, calming personality captured the hearts of everyone in America.

His voice filled up our home at Christmastime and gave us entertainment to turn to every other day of the year, too. 

With a whopping more than 70 feature films to enjoy and more than 1,600 recorded songs, he had plenty of revenue coming to him throughout his 54-year career, giving him substantial wealth to boast about.

How much was Bing Crosby’s worth? Find out that and more below.

What Was Bing Crosby’s Net Worth When He Died?

Bing Crosby was raking in the money when he died of a heart attack after playing 18 rounds at a golf course outside of Madrid, Spain.

He was worth an estimated net worth of $50 million.

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

Who Did Bing Crosby Leave His Money To?

After he died in 1977, Bing Crosby’s net worth left him with a lot to give. In 2023 he would have been able to leave more than 200 million dollars to his second wife, Kathryn Crosby.

Where does Kathryn Crosby live now? 

The 89-year-old widow still lives in California, although we’re unsure, as Crosby’s estate has been on the market several times. 

Most recently, it went on the market in 2021 with a hefty price tag of $13.75 million. 

We’re guessing she’s still living quite comfortably with that kind of rich inheritance, though. 

Not to mention, she had a substantial acting career herself that we’re sure brings in extra income, too.

Did Bing Crosby Get Royalties for “White Christmas”?

Bing Crosby did receive artist royalties for “White Christmas” during his lifetime. The salary of those royalties now belongs to HLC Properties and Primary Wave Music.

Related: 30 Best Christmas Songs of All Time

Who Owns Bing Crosby Songs?

A large part of Bing Crosby’s net worth was found in what his songs were worth.

Bing Crosby’s songs belong to HLC Properties, which is under the ownership of the Crosby Family.

In 2021, HLC announced a partnership with Primary Wave Music. Through that partnership, the latter has a financial claim in the assets owned by the former, including the Bing Crosby Archives. 

The archives include Crosby’s complete music catalog and movie interests, including “White Christmas.”

Was Bing Crosby in the Military?

Bing Crosby never served as a soldier himself, but during World War II, he was hugely involved with the Armed Forces Radio Service, an entertainment outlet for service members overseas.

Crosby was one of the first volunteers to get involved, recording several guest spots on the Command Performance show. 

In the end, he would record more than 70 spots for the radio service.

Bing Crosby’s Early Career

Before he became the legendary solo crooner we all know and love, Bing Crosby was a part of several groups in the early 1920s.

Crosby had his fair share of mild success with the groups, from being the drummer for his high school band, the Musicalader, to one singer in the vocal trio, The Three Harmony Aces. 

However, it all started to take off most when he and Al Rinker joined with pianist and aspiring songwriter Harry Barris to create The Rhythm Boys in 1927.

Although the group only performed together for three years, they made significant headways in the music business. And because of that group, we were eventually gifted with our favorite performer.

Bing Crosby, the Crooner

First and foremost, Bing Crosby was known as a legendary crooner with his signature “phrasing” of a song that perfectly balanced the lyrics and the melody, making them equal.

This unique style was first solidified in the early 1930s when he made his solo radio debut on 15 Minutes with Bing Crosby, which aired weekly. 

The hit radio show led to his signing with Brunswick Records and CBS Radio, from which came hits such as “Out of Nowhere,” “At Your Command,” and “I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store).”

His success continued to soar as he became a leader in record sales and radio ratings throughout the 20th century, making him one of the first global cultural icons.

With the likes of “Love in Bloom” and “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” as part of that success, it’s no wonder he was raking in the cash over his career.

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

Bing Crosby, the Actor

Speaking of White Christmas, Bing Crosby was not only a crooner, but a well-respected actor and entertainer, bringing about several classic movies that we still love to watch.

His most memorable performance was that of Father Chuck O’Malley in Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)

The Academy Awards certainly thought so. He gave such a memorable performance that he became the first actor in history to be nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for portraying the same character.

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

His other notable film projects include his appearances in six of the seven Road To musical comedy series with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour, the Disney-animated film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and High Time.

It’s safe to say that a good chunk of Bing Crosby’s net worth was due to his acting career.

Related: 21 Best Movie Theme Songs of All Time

bing crosby david bowie
Publicity photo of Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Arthur Godfrey, who were guests on Bing Crosby’s 24 May 1950 CBS radio program. Image by CBS on Wikimedia Commons.

Did David Bowie Sing with Bing Crosby?

It may seem like a strange pairing, but the rock legend and the beloved crooner did sing together once in 1977 for Bing Crosby’s Christmas television special. 

The two did a partner performance of “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Peace on Earth.”

It took a lot of arm-twisting for Bowie to agree to the performance because he didn’t want to sing “Little Drummer Boy.”

According to Larry Grossman, writer of the A Merrie Old Christmas special told PBS, “He said, ‘I hate that song. If I have to sing that song, I can’t do the show. Also, I’m doing the show because my mother loves Bing Crosby.'”

The version of countermelody between the two songs and the writing of a new bridge is what ultimately won Bowie over.

“Bing loved the challenge, and he was able to transform himself without losing any of the Crosby-isms, that relaxed feeling and the atmosphere that he would always create whenever he was on camera,” said special writer Buz Kohan.

We agree. Although we love “Little Drummer Boy,” this classic performance between the two music legends will always stick in our minds.

Related: David Bowie’s Net Worth

What was Bing Crosby’s Best Seller?

There is no doubt that Bing Crosby served up some absolute classics over the years with his distinct vocal style that we’ve all fallen in love with.

But one song in particular will go down in history as his most beloved, his 1942 hit holiday classic, “White Christmas.” 

Irving Berlin wrote the song for Crosby’s upcoming film Holiday Inn. The song unofficially debuted on the radio on Christmas Day 1941, a copy of which is owned by the estate of Bing Crosby.

Christmas came early when the song officially hit the charts on October 3, 1942, and the public seemed not to mind as it took the number-one spot by Halloween and remained there well into the New Year.

Crosby’s version of the song has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. 

That number doubles when combined with other notable performances, such as Michael Bublé and Gwen Stefani.

This fact has made “White Christmas” the answer to the question: What is the biggest-selling Christmas song of all time?

The song was so popular that it led to a film of the same name in 1954. Hold old was Bing Crosby when he filmed White Christmas? The answer may surprise you.

Crosby was more than half a century old when he made the classic Christmas movieThe 51-year-old couple was twice the age of his leading lady, co-star Rosemary Clooney who was 26 at the time.

When was Bing Crosby Born?

Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma, Washington, on May 3, 1903.

How Did Bing Crosby Get His 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

Bing Crosby was 5 feet, 6 inches tall.

Bing Crosby Early Life

Bing Crosby was the fourth of seven children born to bookkeeper Harry Lowe Crosby and his second-generation Irish-American wife, Catherine “Kate” Helen.

The house that the family grew up in at 508 E. Sharp Avenue in Spokane, which his father built, currently sits on the campus of Gonzaga University, Crosby’s alma mater. 

Converted into a museum, it includes more than 200 artifacts from the life and career of the “Pennies From Heaven” singer, including his Oscar.

When Crosby was just 11, he began a summer job at Spokane’s Auditorium, serving as property boy. 

Through that job, he got to watch the most prominent acts at the time, including the self-billed “The World’s Greatest Entertainer” Al Johnson, whom Crosby would later describe as “electric.” 

Thus, Crosby’s own passion for music was born, and the showbiz bug bit him.

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

How Many Times was Bing Crosby Married and How Many Children Did He Have?

Bing Crosby was married twice and had seven children between both relationships.

He married his first wife, Wilma Crosby, known professionally as Dixie Lee, in 1930, and the two remained married until her death from ovarian cancer in 1952. 

The two performers had four sons together: Gary, twins Dennis and Phillip, and Lindsay.

Five years after his wife’s death, Crosby married actress Kathryn Grant in 1957. 

They remained married until the singer died in 1977. The two had three children together: Harry Lillis III, Mary Frances, and Nathaniel.

Bing Crosby Awards

Along with his many awards and nominations for his films and music, Crosby has had several other honors bestowed upon him. 

He received three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 for radio, recording, and motion pictures, and in 1963 he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

All were well-deserved honors.

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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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