PBS's new documentary will reveal an unseen side of the jazz legend.
Bing Crosby is about to receive a tribute of the documentary variety with PBS’ upcoming series Bing Crosby: Rediscovered. The doc aims to introduce a new generation to the many sides of the pop and jazz icon. In a heartbeat, Crosby went from a meticulous musician to a media master, to a generous philanthropist. But he had his less than admirable moments too – according to those who knew him, he was notoriously difficult with his family. Even so, after his death, his family wanted to pay their respects – in as public a way as possible, apparently.
"Dad was a really under-the-radar guy," said his daughter, actress Mary Crosby, in a recent interview. "So, when he died (in 1977 of a heart attack at age 74), we followed in those footsteps. And, of
course, it took us about three decades to realize that we had really, really done him a disservice."
Even without the extra information in the documentary, Crosby’s long and storied career was enough to keep the media occupied for years following his death.
Crosby began his career playing radio and stage gigs in the 1920s. Skyrocketing to fame not long after, the 1930s saw him top record and radio charts, as well as the box office.
"It's an unprecedented career in the history of show business," says Robert Trachtenberg, director of "American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered," debuting Tuesday, December 2. "He really was the first multimedia star of the 20th century."
He won an Academy Award as best actor for his performance in 1944's "Going My Way." He received an honorary Grammy in 1963. His later career included a series of highly rated television specials, a format he helped to pioneer.