Bing Crosby and Christmas have been synonymous with one another, at least for Americans, since the singer/actor first crooned Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” as part of the feature film Holiday Inn.
He would later star in a film called White Christmas, where he would give the most famous performance of the classic tune. That would not be his only foray into holiday songs either with the “Little Drummer Boy” duet alongside David Bowie later in his career as a memorable standout.
— Bing Crosby (@Bingconstantly) December 13, 2016
But some of Crosby’s own children have claimed the man they knew was much different from the one, who endeared himself to audiences.
In the 1983 book Going My Own Way, Gary Crosby claimed his father was cruel, cold, and disengaged with a fondness for corporal punishment. In one particularly disturbing excerpt, the younger Crosby writes the following, excerpted by the NoSpank website.
“Each Tuesday afternoon [Bing Crosby] weighed me in, and if the scale read more than it should have, he ordered me into his office and had me drop my trousers… I dropped my pants, pulled down my undershorts and bent over. Then he went at it with the belt dotted with metal studs he kept reserved for the occasion. Quite dispassionately, without the least display of emotion or loss of self-control, he whacked away until he drew the first drop of blood, and then he stopped. It normally took between twelve and fifteen strokes. As they came down I counted them off one by one and hoped I would bleed early.”
The family of Bing Crosby did not all agree. One son, Phillip Crosby, denounced Gary’s account as that of a “whining crybaby,” though he did not discount the fact his father used corporal punishment. Other children, Dennis and Lindsay Crosby, confirmed physical abuse as well.
The revelations, regardless of truth, have contributed to reshaping the world’s image of Bing Crosby, and now a comedy legend is ready to pitch in with some more negativity.
Jerry Lewis, who recently appeared in the news for an extremely awkward seven-minute interview with the Hollywood Reporter in which he gives short one-word answers and antagonizes his younger interviewer, gave a more engaging talk to WTF Podcast host Marc Maron in September of this year.
Maron sat on the interview until recently because, while entertaining and informative, the interview ends abruptly when Lewis decides he’s tired of answering questions.
Maron managed to get more out of Lewis than THR, though, and one juicy part came at the end when Jerry discussed Bing Crosby.
“Bing Crosby was an independent son of a b***h,” Lewis says with a tinge of disgust in his voice.” When Maron asked if that meant Bing was “not a nice guy,” Lewis responded, “I didn’t say that. I can only say that I did not enjoy his company.”
Lewis speculated Crosby didn’t like him because “he thought I would take his toop (toupee) off.”
“We went and did a telethon for needy children. I walk on stage and Bing, he walked the other way. Never did talk to him again,” Lewis said, adding that “he did it out of fear.”
“He feared that I would do something nuts to him. He had five sons, who thought he was a schmuck, too,” Lewis said.
— Facebook Bychkov (@FacebookBychkov) December 21, 2016
For Lewis’s part in the interview — the Bing stuff starts at approximately 27 minutes in — he did state that he would not have done anything crazy to the star if he had gone the comedian’s way.
What do you think about it, readers? Was Bing Crosby really the monster/egotist that some claim, and if so, does it affect your enjoyment of “White Christmas”? Sound off in the comments section below.