Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma, Washington and grew up with Al Rinker, the younger brother of singer Mildred Bailey. Crosby and Rinker used Bailey's connections and joined Paul Whiteman's Rhythm Boys almost straight from school. He came to national attention while with the popular Whiteman Orchestra, with whom he made his film debut in King of Jazz (1930). From then on he was a top stage and radio performer and a top-selling record artist.
Crosby also had regular radio shows from the 1930s-1950s, hosted a network television show in 1964-1965, and made numerous short films and television appearances.
Crosby's desire to prerecord his radio shows was a significant factor in the development of, and radio industry's adoption of magnetic tape recording. History repeated itself when he was asked to do a television show, demanded that it be prerecorded, and spurred the development and adoption of videotape.
Crosby was a keen amateur golfer, who appeared in many charity events. It was after a round of golf in Spain in 1977 that he collapsed and died from a massive heart attack. Crosby had been married twice (his second wife, actress Kathryn Grant, being considerably younger), and effectively had two families, his children from the marriages being of different generations. After his death, his eldest son from his first marriage wrote a controversial memoir depicting him as an autocratic and abusive father. Two of his children, Lindsay and Dennis, committed suicide.
There is some uncertainty about the year in which Bing Crosby was born. Most reference works give his year of birth as 1903, but his gravestone—on the instructions of his family—gives his birth year as 1904.
On his passing in 1977, Bing Crosby was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.