Bing looked so old

John posted 02/18/05 02:28 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
In that picture of Bing wearing a hat promoting his "Seasons" album he looks about 78, I can't believe he was only 73 when he died.
howard crosby posted 02/18/05 08:35 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
He was 74, according to the official line. But remember, in March of 1977 he suffered a terrible fall into the orchestra pit at a concert in LA....he fell some 15 feet and was hospitalized for several weeks. That fall took a terrible toll on him physically, and aged him a great deal.

It was like he aged a decade in two weeks. He never really bounced all the way back.
John posted 02/18/05 09:09 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Ah. In that case, I take back what I said. Of course, he worked very hard as well throughout his career, releasing something like 1,700 recordings. Is there any way his life could have been prolonged - I know he had already lost a part of his left lung to a rare fungal infection in 1974, but perhaps if they'd known he had arterial disease then Bing could have undergone bypass surgery and the heart attack wouldn't have happened, at least not in 1977?
Ron Field posted 02/18/05 02:18 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I couldn't understand why the Palladium, London used that photo of Bing on the sandwich billboard.
Looked like Bing had his head cut off and stuck onto a body. The poor bloke did look old in that setup.
Still, the concerts were great and he sounded great.
And thwe two blokes I really liked (loved) were my Dad and Bing.
Dad lived 74 years 5 months 10 days
Bing lived 74 years 5 months 11 days.
(if you wish to do this exercise write down date of death
eg: 19771014 then subtract date of birth 19030503)
I had to use this system in my payroll work)
I'm getting up near them now with 71 on the 19th.(Feb)
Arne posted 02/18/05 03:09 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
We are overlooking the obvious: this is a picture of a man 3 days away from a massive coronary. Of course he looks ill - HE WAS!
Candace Scott posted 02/19/05 04:59 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Another point is that the photo of Bing on the "Seasons" album is just plain lousy. It's a terrible photo and Bing was generally very photogenic. It's hard to find a bad photograph of him, but this one was!

It's true that Bing aged dramatically the last 8-12 months of his life. I saw him in person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in March, 1976, and stood 10 feet away from him. He looked spectacular, much different (and younger) than the dismal "Seasons" photo of a year later. It was Rosey Clooney who looked dreadful. Bing looked younger than she did in person.
Arne posted 02/20/05 05:30 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Candace, I don't think it was a "lousy" picture, really, I think it was a very accurate depiction of a man who was, literally a few days away from death. He looks unwell. This is not a photography problem (except that, perhaps the photo should have been suppressed). The photo was taken on Tuesday, Oct. 11th, he died on friday the 14th. He was, by definition, a very sick man (even though he may not have realized it). On the other hand - and to severly contradict myself! - There are other headshots from this very same shoot, which depict Bing from more of a side angle, (in some he is slightly tipping his hat) - one of these is included in Ken Barnes' book "The Crosby Years" - Anyway, in these other poses, he looks 120% better than in the choice for the cover. So, I suppose it is just a crummy photo after all!
Jim Crowley posted 02/21/05 06:44 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Bing did not age gracefully at all. It could be related to his health, alcoholism in his youth, tobacco, or probably plain ol' genetics. In Barbara Walters interview, I think he looked terrible. Of course Crosby was not the kind of guy who would get plastic surgery done. Nevertheless, I think he should have done a conservative amount of plastic surgery; it would have gone a long way. After all, he is a star and the public who made him a star expects that anyway.
Ron Field posted 02/21/05 08:25 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I was at Hofstra and did a presentation under 'the fan banner' as I had met Bing a couple of times and caddied for Nathaniel.

I was under the impression that the photo for 'The Seasons' album was taken in September - about the 13th. or so.
On the 11th.(or 12th) October was when Bing went to the BBC Maida Vale studios recording what turned out to be 'The Final Chapter'
Arne posted 02/21/05 08:43 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Yes, Ron, both events took place on Oct. 11th. The BBC sessions were recorded in the morning, the photo shoot was in the afternoon. - See MacFarlane's "Day By Day", and Barnes' "The Crosby Years" for more info.
howard crosby posted 02/22/05 09:49 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Plastic've got to be kidding! Bing Crosby was utterly without personal vanity. It was all the studio execs could do to fet him to wear his toupee during actual filming. Even then, he tried to get his shots done with a hat on. In the 40's wqhen he performed live for the troops in France, he did so sans toupee. Even when his stardom was still being developed, he stopped letting the film people tape back his protruding ears.

He could not have cared less if somebody thought he didn't age well. You might not have liked what you saw...but one thing was certain, you were seeing the real deal.
David Foe posted 02/22/05 04:40 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I think Bing tended to look younger when he was a little heavier -- in late '77 he was thinner than he had been in '75 or so, it seems to me. At least his face looked a bit fuller. I think when he put a little weight on it gave his face more of a moon-shape, whereas when he reduced it looked longer. The older he got, when this occurred, he tended to look older when thinner. A little extra weight can plump out those wrinkles.

I just get the feeling he probably wasn't in the best of health in his final years.
Carmela posted 02/22/05 08:32 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Bing may have aged the last few months of his life but he still had a beautiful voice and those blue eyes!Anyway, he was handsome most of his life.
Jim Crowley posted 02/23/05 12:42 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Howard, you can still be the "real deal" and still have plastic surgery done. The vanity that you're talking about is the excessive pride in one's appearance like Cher for example. I did say excessive pride. I think Crosby was the kind of man who cared about a lot of things including the way he looked. However, we as Crosby fans understand that Bing would never have opted for surgery and probably would have been embarrassed if it was mentioned to him.
Ben posted 02/23/05 01:50 PM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
I thought Bing had his flat robbed around the time of the photo shoot. The photographer also wanted him to wear different costumes for the Seasons concept. My understanding is he walked in and said shoot me as I am, or something to that effect.
Candace Scott posted 02/23/05 10:30 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I have to disagree that Bing didn't age gracefully or well. I think he was handsome all his life, except for the period when he was fat, circa '33-'35, where he had to wear the girdle in "Mississippi," for instance. I also disagree that he didn't have a certain personal vanity. Notice how he had extensive teeth work done in the 50's which changed his appearance quite a bit. Some dentist filed down his top front teeth and he never looked quite as good, or the same. The fact Bing wore a hat outside almost constantly shows he was conscious about his baldness and therefore aware of his appearance. Yeah, I know there's film of him in WWII without the hat, but such shots are highly unusual.

I was watching "Going My Way" again last night after not seeing it for several years, and Bing was 40 when it was being filmed. He could have passed for a man in his late 20's. To me, he was exceptionally handsome. He wasn't as handsome in 1975 or 1977 obviously, but who is at that age? Gable and Coop both died at the age of 60 and they were extremely handsome in their day; both looked shot to hell at the time of their deaths.

Bing still looked good in '77. Frail, yes, but still fit, trim, and a nice lookin' guy. He also had one amazingly outstanding feature: the blue eyes. They still looked damn good for a 74 year old man in 1977.
Jon O. posted 02/23/05 10:49 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
There are quite a few photos of Bing without a hat or a toupee. I believe he only wore the "scalp doily" when he was appearing for publicity purposes at the behest of Decca, Paramount, or whichever network was employing him at a given time, which accounts for the vast majority of photos we see of him with a toupee. Whenever he appeared outside the auspices of his employers—and indoors—it was sans cover.

I have several photos which bear this out, including one of Bing seated next to Alan Ladd (who IS wearing a toupee) at the 1945 Oscars ceremony (odd, because Bing was, after all, basically representing Paramount), and many shots of him performing for, and dancing with, citizens of Front Royal Virginia in 1950, where he dedicated their new baseball stadium and premiered "Riding High". I can think of other bareheaded Bing pictures I've seen in books and TV documentaries, such as a few of Bing doing the occasional radio show without hat or rug.

Granted, he did wear hats most of the time—but so did nearly every other male of his generation, right on up through the 1970s. In fact, I remember in the '70s my Dad (who was in his 50s and not bald) ALWAYS wore one of those floppy cotton hats like Bing did, whenever he was outdoors. Except when he was working in the yard—then he wore a golf cap. My grandfather (born in 1897), who had a full head of white hair, never went out without a hat on (straw for everyday, dress hat for church), from as early as I can remember, right up until he died in 1985.

I don't doubt that Bing was probably guilty of a degree of vanity—who isn't? But I think his was probably pretty low on the Narcissus scale, especially when compared to other celebrities.
Dave Foe posted 02/24/05 11:42 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Re the teeth: He probably got a new set of dentures. His teeth do look a lot different later on. A lot of the old-time stars had false teeth -- Clark Gable being a notable example.
Chuck K. posted 02/25/05 08:40 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
It's interesting how we all react to the process of aging, especially in our heros. They provide a certain level of comfort in appearing withstand the tests of time - still being able to hit that high note, dance with grace and agility, or to remain little changed in appearance with nary a wrinkle and full head of hair, real or otherwise. Bob Hope was particularly good at defying father time and looked great well into his eighties - with the help of his make-up man, of course. And so was Bing. He looked dapper well into his sixties. I remember as young man of 19 in 1964 being impressed with Bing's youthful and spry appearance in "Robin and the Seven Hoods". It didn't seem possible to me then that Bing was 60. But time does march on and Bing's years of fishing, hunting, and golfing in the sun, plus maintaing a busy profesional life and a new young family at an age when many men are content to retire, did seen to take a toll on his facial appearance. But if he did age, as we all must, Bing did it with the special grace that typified his entire career. And importantly, he was able to focus his energies into a remarkably creative outpouring of wonderful recordings and performances in his final years. As we look at the older Bing pictured on the "Seasons" and "Bing Viejo" album covers and then listen with awe at the reasonance and beauty of his last recordings, we can sense the completeness a man who has lived life fully. His life's work in music was a gift to all of us and became part of the fabric of our own lives. Bing did age, but his legacy endures. His music lives on for other generations to enjoy. And that's what life is all about.
jane s. posted 02/25/05 10:53 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
I think pain, acute and chronic accelerates the aging process like nothing else in our lives except maybe the pain of loss. Bing aged naturally and gracefully throughout his life. But, I think because of his lingering and often acute pain from a ruptured disc in his back from his fall, the results were etched on his face. Combine the fall with his major lung surgery previously, it accounts for the weigtht loss which also adds years to appearance.
Greg posted 03/08/05 01:44 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
He was also a life long sun worshiper and early riser. As nice as the sunlight feels on your face, it does cause skin to age dramatically. I remember seeing a picture of a woman in her 40's from Arizona next to a man from China in his 90's, who was a Monk- she spent most of the day in the sun and the man only spent a minimal amount of time outdoors and always in a courtyard shaded by a large tree and the woman looked far older then the man! Mae West never let the sun hit her skin and she was in her 40's and 50's in all the films for which she's remembered and even looked good in her 70's.
Joe Hawks posted 04/08/05 10:35 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Bing Crosby looked old because he was old. Jimmy Stewart said, on Carson's show, "Good grief John, a person would think that aging was a bad thing. This country has a screwed up generation in charge of the media."
I know most people would probably look like Bing did...if they lived in a pressure cooker like he did for most of his life. We love Mr. Harry Lillis Crosby unconditionally. Period.
Ron Field posted 04/09/05 02:24 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Bing looked old the last year or so because he had been pretty crook (Aussie for sick) the last year or so, until then he was fine.
I worked with a bloke who was only 2 months older than myself but he could have passed as being my father. He had 'a older, more serious look on life' whereas I've always acted younger and I guess this has kept me feeling younger.
So you younger folks, start acting young and you'll feel young and look young.
And when someone says 'act your age' - what age does that mean and who set a standard for 'being your age'.
I'm 71 but don't know how young I feel, probably 30 or something, whatever that is. I still feel like I'd love to run out onto the rugby pitch and play, but they play a lot harder now.
What was that song '..... and you'll never grow old'

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