Bing Crosby was born Harry Crosby in 1903. He was nicknamed “Bingo” as a child, and with a slight variation the moniker stayed with him throughout a spectacularly successful entertainment career.
Crosby gained popularity in the late 1920s as a singer with The Rhythm Boys. He went solo in the early 1930s and became a best-selling artist, to say the least. Crosby sold more than half a billion records in his lifetime, with the perennial favorite White Christmas accounting for 100 million sales alone.
Movies were no less successful for Crosby. In 1944 he won the Oscar for his leading role in Going My Way. In the following year, he received another Academy Award nomination for the film’s sequel, The Bells of St. Mary’s. The teaming of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope delighted audiences seven times over from 1940’s Road to Singapore through 1962’s Road to Hong Kong. Handling more dramatic demands, Crosby was outstanding as an alcoholic has-been in 1954’s The Country Girl. He was one of the most popular box office attractions of all time. Meanwhile, Crosby had a long-running weekly radio program and later made numerous television appearances through the mid-1970s.