American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered (2014)
Narrated by Stanley Tucci, the film — which airs day and date on PBS channels — explores Crosby’s life and legend with unprecedented access to his archives, including never-before-seen footage, and reveals a man far more complex than his public persona. Thirty-seven years after his death, Crosby remains the most recorded performer in history with nearly 400 hit singles, an achievement no one — not Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley or the Beatles — has come close to matching. A brilliant entrepreneur, Crosby played an important role in the development of the postwar recording industry. As one of Hollywood’s most popular actors, he won the Oscar for 1944’s “Going My Way” and starred in the iconic “Road” films with Bob Hope. American Masters received unprecedented access to the entertainer’s personal and professional archives, including never-before-seen home movies, Dictabelt recordings, photos and more. The film features new interviews with all surviving members of Crosby’s immediate family: wife Kathryn, daughter Mary and sons Harry and Nathaniel. The film reveals Crosby’s struggles with his first wife, Dixie Lee, and their sons Gary, Dennis, Phillip and Lindsay. Mary addresses accusations of abuse first published in Gary’s 1983 memoir, which tarnished their father’s legacy. Gary speaks candidly about both his and his mother’s alcoholism as well as his difficulties with his father in a never-before-seen 1987 interview. Other new interviews include singers Tony Bennett and Michael Feinstein, record producer Ken Barnes, biographer Gary Giddins, and writers Buz Kohan and Larry Grossman, who both share the story behind Crosby’s Christmas special duet with David Bowie. “American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered — The Soundtrack” features songs heard in the documentary, including 16 previously unreleased recordings, and is available November 25 via Bing Crosby Archive and Universal Music Enterprises. On DVD from PBS Distribution.