Bing Crosby used his fame and wealth to help friends, acquaintances and strangers in ways both public and nearly invisible. In this web-exclusive outtake, jazz critic and Crosby biographer Gary Giddins describes how the entertainer used his influence in the film industry to provide work for those on his “take care of” list, and how Crosby generally did not draw attention to his charitable giving.
Some of the ground the full film American Masters: Bing Croby Rediscovered covers includes a charity golf tournament he founded in 1937. It was an opportunity for Crosby to play the game he loved, and also to raise money for charities. The tournament is now known as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The film also includes a famous celebrity on Crosby’s “take care of” list: Judy Garland. After the star had attempted suicide and was fired from the movie studio MGM in 1950, Crosby stuck by Garland’s side, literally, inviting her to perform on his hugely popular radio program.
See the official Bing Crosby estate site for more information on Crosby’s philanthropy, including his support of student-athlete scholarships, youth programs, and one of his earliest donations, to support the defense of the Scottsboro Boys in the infamous trial in Alabama in 1931.
American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered premieres nationwide Tuesday, December 2 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), with a holiday encore on December 26 at 9 p.m.