Academy to pay tribute to Bing Crosby

Oct 29, 2003 by Ian Evans

Bing Crosby will be the subject of a centennial tribute thrown by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday, November 21, at 8 p.m., in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Singer-pianist Michael Feinstein will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening.

Crosby was the biggest movie star in America from 1944 through 1948, when he held the number one box-office ranking in the country. In 1949 he slipped to number two, but stayed in the top five through the mid-1950s. During that time he received three Academy Awards® nominations for Best Actor, winning in 1944 for his portrayal of Father O’Malley in Going My Way. His roles in The Bells of St. Mary’s and The Country Girl were also nominated.

In addition, Crosby introduced countless hit songs in his films. Those that won Academy Awards for their composers and lyricists include “White Christmas” from 1942’s Holiday Inn, “Swinging on a Star from Going My Way” (1944) and “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” from Here Comes the Groom (1951). “Accentuate the Positive” from Here Comes the Waves (1945), “You Keep Coming Back Like a Song” from Blue Skies (1946), “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” from White Christmas (1954) and “True Love” from High Society (1956) all were nominated.

Among those scheduled to participate in the program are Crosby’s widow, Kathryn; Nancy Olson, who co-starred as Katherine Holbrook in Mr. Music; Marge Champion, who, along with her late husband, Gower, also appeared in Mr. Music; and Edith Fellows, who portrayed Patsy, the young girl to whom Crosby sang Pennies from Heaven in the film of the same name. In addition, numerous film clips will be screened.

Tickets for A Centennial Tribute to Bing Crosby are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members. They may be purchased in advance beginning November 3 at the Academy during regular business hours, by mail, or on the night of tribute, if still available, when the doors open at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information call 310-247-3600.