My Last Years with Bing

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What People Are Saying

Bob Hope
It's about time, I say. Kathryn promised this book in 1983, and I agreed to add my bit. She has finally done her part, and here comes mine: I still miss Bing daily. He could do anything better than almost anyone. He may well have been the most versatile human in the history of the world-or of Paramount, whichever comes first. He was known to his generation as a singer and actor, simply because his contemporaries rewarded him lavishly for singing a few songs or filming a movie, but he hadn't a days training in the one or the other.He was an actor who never trod the stage, and a singer who never learned to read a note of music. On the other hand, he was an insomniac who immersed himself in the classics of our literature while others slept. In another lifetime, he might well have been a novelist, or a professor of literature. He was certainly a master of spoken and written English. Bing never bothered to publish, but Kathryn, the person who knew him best, so closely approximated his style that it always took me a moment of adjustment to decide which of them had written a given letter. Thus the following narrative could as easily have been penned by its subject.The level of conversation in the Crosby household was such that if it could have been recorded on film or in printer's ink, it would have been hailed as a classic. Between these covers, Kathryn has preserved a select portion of it for posterity.Open her book now, and meet the Bing that only his closest friends knew, a sportsman, athlete, and raconteur of the first water. And remind him that I'm looking forward to seeing him again very soon.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938728092
  • Publisher: Collage Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/30/2002
  • Pages: 402
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2004

    Move Over Boswell

    Hollywood knew Kathryn Crosby as the loveliest starlet of her generation. Overlooked at the time was the fact that she was also its most talented chronicler. In the two-volume narration of her life with Bing, she presents us with a true classic, the finest biography of our era, and arguably of all time. A stylistic masterpiece, it ranks with and above the best that history has to offer. The format of the books adds to their charm. Each facing page presents a pertinent photograph from Bing's collection. Kathryn's delightful humor adds the finishing touch. I recomend both these books without reservation to anyone who loves classic English prose as a vehicle to recall the foremost singer of the twentieth century.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2003

    My Last Years with Bing deeply affects convalescents at nursing home

    My name is Martin McQuade. I am a life-long Bing Crosby fan. It has been my honor and pleasure as of late to arrange appearances for Kathryn Crosby in order for her to promote her book and to commemorate Bing Crosby's centennial. Among the venues I recently coordinated for her was her interview on the Today show with Katie Couric. Shortly thereafter I brought Mrs. Crosby to a host of locations in Brooklyn where she read excerpts from her book. The most memorable of these was at the Augustana nursing home where she read passages to an assembly of senior patients, many of whom were confined to wheel chairs and walkers and several of whom had undergone recent amputations. The rays of sunlight that Kathryn shed upon these listeners was truly remarkable. She,indeed,by her reading from this fascinating and exhilarating book, succeeded in raising the spirits of the audience and bringing much needed joy and glamour into their lives. The patients are still talking about it, more than a week after the event. This is indeed testimony to the wonderful manner and style, not only of Mrs. Crosby's elegant prose but to her almost saintly demeanor with the public. My Last Years with Bing is guaranteed to uplift and entertain as well as to give a fascinating glimpse into the private life of this century's greatest entertainer, Bing Crosby.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2003

    'My Last Years With Bing' By Kathryn Crosby, A Commentary

    ¿My Last Years With Bing¿ by Kathryn Crosby from 1966-1977, is a must read for anyone interested in this part of her marriage to the greatest, probably one of the most powerful, entertainers of the 20th Century. It is well illustrated with over 200 pages of mostly color photographs. It is a fascinating, somewhat anecdotal portrayal and look into a mature, strong-minded, incredibly multi-faceted man of wisdom with almost unlimited talent and ability, married to a much younger, but maturing, energetic, well-educated, intelligent, discerning, talented, charming and beautiful woman. The verbal and written exchanges and bandies alone are worth the price of the book. As I read the well-written account of Kathryn and Bing¿s last decade together, I wondered about their actual time spent together and their love. Bing was anything but a homebody, seemingly on a quest to make up for lost time, while Kathryn traveled with Bing and the children sometimes, she had her own very active, interesting life as an actress, philanthropist ¿ Bing was known to be quite wealthy ¿ radio and television personality (she co-hosted the Mike Douglas TV Show for a full week while quite ill). Kathryn authored two other books involving her life with Bing and managed, as a Roman Catholic convert, to become a busy, hands-on Church advocate and, obviously, mother and wife. There are more than 45 books about Bing¿s life and career and, perhaps an equal number if not more that contain many references and whole chapters devoted to him. This one is different than the others for the obvious aforementioned reasons and a must read¿for the sheer enjoyment or just for the sheer delight of another picture of Bing Crosby.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2003

    This West Columbia girl can write!!

    Both Kathryn and I are from West Columbia and our lives have crossed throughout the years. I received my autographed copy of 'My Life with Bing' in 1983 in West Columbia. Today I'm reviewing this book with renewed interest since her latest book, 'My Last Years with Bing' is now out. I love the way she writes--but you better have a dictionary nearby!! This book will improve your vocabulary. And there are color pictures on every page. What a joy to be able to 'be' with her as she lived this most extraordinary life with Bing. Thank you, Kathryn, for sharing with us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2002

    Bing's finest biographer

    With the sole exception of Kathryn, I was the one who knew Bing best during the last fourteen years of his life. He was a brilliant, complicated personality, which has completely escaped his would-be biographers, who concentreated solely upon his performances. Kathryn alone has done justice to the Bing that I knew, portraying him in all his aspects. And how the little lady can narrate! No one presently writing in English can equal her style. The wonderful color pictures from her private collection are an added bonus. I recommend this book, without reservation, to anyone who wants to know the real Bing. It's certainly preserving him fresh as ever in my mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2002

    READ IT!! IT IS A GREAT BOOK!!

    As a friend of Kathryn Crosby from Oklahoma, I loved the book "My Last Years with Bing", and am sending a copy to all my friends for Christmas. Read it! Read it! Read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2002

    The personal side of a public legend

    Here's another brand new book on Bing Crosby that must be welcomed, as it fills a gap that no other author can hope to fill in quite the same way: Bing's wife of nearly 20 years, Kathryn Crosby, opens up her heart (as well as her diaries and her pictorial scrapbook), and shares a Bing Crosby we could never have known otherwise. This new book is "part two" of the series begun nearly 20 years ago with her "My Life With Bing" book, which detailed her earliest times with Crosby up through their tenth anniversary of marriage. This second book is written in the same wry fashion, offering amusing examples of the author's often exasperating (to her husband) behavior, as well as the quirks and crannies of Bing's own individual way of living life. The tone is humorous, although the events depicted are sometimes dead serious, as we learn what it's like to live with a very unique man, in very unusual circumstances. The Bing we get to know is a man who treasured his recreational passions, and after a lifetime of labor in fulfilling the world's insatiable need for Bing Crosby, he obviously felt he'd earned the right to enjoy these passions to the fullest: hunting, fishing, travelling, "roughing it." Unlike Frank Sinatra, with whom Bing is invariably compared professionally, Crosby spent little time hovering around the city nightspots, carousing into the "wee small hours". He was a "daytime" guy, in lifelong love with the Great Outdoors. Kathryn often accompanied her husband on his journeys, not always because these were also her favorite places to be, but because she obviously enjoyed sharing a life with her husband, and also, I feel, because she seemed to inherently sense that these were special experiences not granted to many people on this earth and that she was priviledged to be along for the ride. As one reads her colorful text, one gets the very definite feeling that she realises, in retrospect, that this was indeed a very special life, with a very special companion. She tells the tale with great verve, humor, and warmth. The book offers it's information in yearly chapters, which take Kathryn & Bing from the late 60s to the end of Bing's life in 1977. Along the way, there are anecdotes about the raising of the couple's three children, as well as stories dealing with the difficulties surrounding life with Bing's first four boys (now young men), with 1st wife Dixie Lee. As the story winds toward it's inevitably sad climax, including Bing's bouts with ill-health and a tragic on-stage accident while taping a TV special during his last year of life, it also offers an inspirational "last hurrah": Bing's incredible return to full-time performing during his last two years, including SRO live performances, TV specials and new hit records. Part of the tremendous appeal of this book to Crosby afficionados has got to be in the magnificently reproduced illustrations: Literally half of the book's pages are filled with gorgeous full-page photos and illustrations from Kathryn's collection, almost all of them in beautiful color. The closest I can come to any criticism of the book at all would only be that it might be a little confusing for readers who missed out on volume one, as this text dives right in where the other left off without much explanatory "set-up". Unfortunately, volume one, "My Life With Bing" is out of print. - but shouldn't be too hard to find in the current internet environment. This book makes a marvellous companion to Giddins epic "Pocketful of Dreams" and MacFarland's "Day By Day", because it offers a perspective that can't be found anywhere else. A truly useful addition to the (thankfully) growing Crosby literature

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2003

    Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My first introduction to Bing Crosby was listening to his 78 rpm recordings with my father as a small child. 50 years later my admiration continues. After reading Kathryns first book, My Life With Bing, I was fortunate enough to correspond with her and have met her at the Crosby tournament at Bermuda Run and back stage after her performance in State Fair in NYC. Her latest book was given to me as a Christmas gift and I have spent the proceeding weeks engrossed. I have always loved Kathryns style of writing and was very pleased to find that nothing had changed. She continues to give the reader a wonderful insight into the star, the husband, the father and the wonderful man that was Bing Crosby. Who better to than his wife. I encourage you to read this splendid book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2002

    A fascinating read from Kathryn Crosby

    The book starts up in 1966 just after Kathryn's last book 'My Life With Bing' finished and the short prologue includes the following: "The intervening decades have seen a number of books purporting to depict my husband, some absurd, and others so well documented that only one thing is missing from their pages, namely the 95% of his life that a very private man deliberately concealed from the world. Obviously this is not the fault of the dedicated biographers. They were familiar only with Bing's performances which, however important to his fans, never played the major role in his life. For once again it is the tale of the blind men and the elephant. Each has his little Bing that he knows, while the giant behind the scenes, who scorned to identify with his singing, acting, writing, golfing, hunting, fishing, traveling, horse racing, etc., remains lost in the mist. I too may fail in my appointed task, but at least I've had ample occasion to acquaint myself with my subject." Bing was indeed a private man who had his public "Bing Crosby" image and obviously we fans who know everything about his professional work can have little idea of his home life. Kathryn's book creates a picture for us and the style of the writing is very similar to her first book, especially for the years up to 1974. As Kathryn relates the various stories of her life with Bing, the reader gains an impression of Bing tolerantly accepting most of Kathryn's projects with only the occasional bust-up between them. Bing walks off and leaves Kathryn alone in Mexico City without money and a passport after one disagreement. Generally however, there are many accounts of hunting and fishing trips in various parts of the world and Bing certainly seemed to be very accomplished in that area. He also seemed to like roughing it under canvas which Kathryn certainly did not relish. I won't spoil the book for you by giving to many details but I found it absorbing throughout. Kathryn's style is very readable and she tells of tragic events such as the death of her mother following a car accident in a short matter-of-fact way. This is a fascinating book and it forms an important part of our understanding of the complex man who was Harry Lillis Crosby.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2002

    The Voice of Christmas Lives On!

    I was able to purchase an advance copy of this book last week at the Hofstra University Bing Crosby conference in Hempstead, New York, so my review may appear slightly premature. My Last Years With Bing is a wonderful portrait of the man known the world over as the universal "voice of Christmas". No other singer is more associated with the sounds of the Season, and Bing's dear wife Kathryn has given us all a wonderful early Christmas present with the long awaited sequel to her highly successful 1983 publication, My Life With Bing. This book picks up where the first volume left off, covering the years 1966 through 1977 chronologically, with thoughtful, articulate, warm, and witty anecdotes about the man hailed as one of the world's finest entertainers. It takes the reader back in time, back to the days of the Crosby family Christmas specials on Televison, the Hollywood Palace, Minute Maid commercials and the Crosby "Clambake" at Pebble Beach. It's a veritable time capsule of the sixties and seventies, as it pertained to the Crosby family. Most important, it lets one be a 'fly on the wall' in the life of the Crosby family, for much of the text for this book was taken from meticulously maintained diaries, which Mrs. Crosby kept on a daily basis throughout her life with Bing. It's a totally acurate, factual, candid, and most intriguing read. The book itself even manages to surpass it's predecessor (if possible), with over 200 photos, 98% of which are in full color! It runs over 400 pages, and attention to detail is astounding. Mrs. Crosby spent close to twenty years writing this tome, and the years of hard work show brightly between it's covers. Be it die hard fan or casual observer, this book has something for everyone interested in the life and times of a show biz institution. It's one of those kind of books you won't want to put down until you've read the whole thing. HINT: This book will make wonderful a Christmas gift for those hard to buy for on your shoppnig list, as it pertains to a man as much a symbol of the yuletide as a Christmas tree or good old Saint Nick himself!

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