In an article I published awhile ago, I spotlighted some of the kind words that other singers had to say about Bing Crosby. I figured it would be interesting to see what the Crosby family had to say about their most famous family member. It is very enlightening to read what the people who knew him best had to say:
"It took me a long time to get through my noggin that the hours we [Bing and Gary] spent together weren't so awful. Eventually, though, I began to notice that he didn't seem to be coming down on me anymore. He wasn't acting so cold and disapproving. He wasn't lecturing me about all the things I was doing wrong. He seemed to be accepting me for pretty much what I was. I suppose to his way of thinking he no longer had that much to bitch about. I had stopped drinking and using. I had married a good Catholic woman he liked. I was raising a son and not doing too bad a job of it. I wasn't carrying on like a maniac when I worked. I looked halfway responsible to him, and now that I was a lot closer to what he wanted, he was able to let up. Most likely he was sick and tired of the fight anyhow. I began to realize he probably hadn't been fighting me for years, but because no truce had been called I'd been keeping the war going all by myself. (Going My Own Way, p283)"
"The old man [Bing] believed what he believed, and he thought he was doing right. He wasn't any tougher than a lot of fathers of his generation. And a lot of kids can handle that kind of upbringing without any difficulty. It was too bad that my brothers and I didn't buy it and turn out the way he wanted. That would have made it very comfortable for everyone. But whatever the reasons, we didn't. Linny and the twins clammed up like a shell. I bulled my neck and fought him tooth and nail all the way down the line. To my own destruction. The discipline just didn't work with us. (Going My Own Way, p285)"
Barbara Crosby: (Gary's first wife): I do not know if what's in the book ("Going My Own Way") is true but he never said anything to me about whippings. I think it all got a little out of hand. I certainly never witnessed anything between him and his father. I couldn't believe it when I read the book because it just didn't sound like Gary. (STAR, March 29, 1983, p18)
Phillip Crosby: My dad was not the monster my lying brother said he was, He was strict, but my father never beat us black and blue and my brother Gary was a vicious, no-good liar for saying so. I have nothing but fond memories of dad, going to studios with him, family vacations at our cabin in Idaho, boating and fishing with him. To my dying day, I'll hate Gary for dragging dad's name through the mud. He wrote it [Going My Own Way] out of greed. He wanted to make money and knew that humiliating our father and blackening his name was the only way he could do it. He knew it would generate a lot of publicity and that was the only way he could get his ugly, no-talent face on television and in the newspapers. My dad was my hero. I loved him very much. And he loved all of us too, including Gary. He was a great father. (GLOBE, 1999, interviewed by Neil Blincow)
Lindsay Crosby (1975): I know the older boys got it a little worse than I did. I was the last one, so I kind of got away with murder. They had to be in bed pretty early, compared to other kids, and as I look back on it now I can see that it all makes sense and Dad did it for a reason. I know if I had something to do he'd let me do it, but he wanted me home at a reasonable hour. (Thompson, p155)
Bob Crosby: In 1934, I formed my own band. As it was customary then ... I started with road hops. But before long, we stopped hopping. No more dough! In desperation, I wired Bing for funds -- and was turned down cold! But just as I was ready to call it quits, I got the necessary money from a third party, who had been instructed by Bing to help me out, without letting me know where the help came from. He wanted me to learn to stand on my own feet, and to make it impossible for me to thank him. Bing was always hesitant to accept appreciation in any form. (Bingang, July '93, p11)
Everett Crosby: Seems corny to say of a fellow who's as much in the public eye as Bing has been for more than fifteen years, that he's shy; is bashful. But that's a fact -- except around close, very old friends. He HATES to have people come up and pat him o the back. On compliments, he chokes. Even if I should give him a pat on the back, tell him I think he's great -- which, very confidentially, I do -- he'd think I'd gone crazy. (Bingang, July '93, p8)
Mary Frances Crosby: In contrast to Mother -- who is a soft, warm, affectionate Southern lady -- he was very uncomfortable with expressing his feelings. He'd use sarcasm or criticism to slip in a compliment upside-down. Or we'd hear of his praise from other people. If I kissed him goodnight, he'd pull away. If I hugged him too long, he'd squirm. It was fun playing against his resistance, because I knew he secretly loved the tenderness he found so hard to express.