Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor. The first multimedia star, he was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century worldwide. He was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses from 1926 to 1977. He made over 70 feature films and recorded more than 1,600 songs.His early career coincided with recording innovations that allowed him to develop an intimate singing style that influenced many male singers who followed, such as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Dick Haymes, Elvis Presley, and John Lennon.Yank magazine said that he was "the person who had done the most for the morale of overseas servicemen" during World War II. In 1948, American polls declared him the "most admired man alive", ahead of Jackie Robinson and Pope Pius XII.: 6 In 1948, Music Digest estimated that his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music in America.Crosby won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Going My Way (1944) and was nominated for its sequel, The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), opposite Ingrid Bergman, becoming the first of six actors to be nominated twice for playing the same character. He was the number one box office attraction for five consecutive years, 1944 to 1948. At his screen apex in 1946, Crosby starred in three of the year's five highest-grossing films: The Bells of St. Mary's, Blue Skies and Road to Utopia. In 1963, Crosby received the first Grammy Global Achievement Award. He is one of 33 people to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in the categories of motion pictures, radio, and audio recording. He was also known for his collaborations with his friend Bob Hope, starring in the Road to... films from 1940 to 1962.
Crosby influenced the development of the post World War II recording industry. After seeing a demonstration of a German broadcast quality reel-to-reel tape recorder brought to the United States by John T. Mullin, he invested $50,000 in the California electronics company Ampex to build copies. He then persuaded ABC to allow him to tape his shows. He became the first performer to prerecord their radio shows and master his commercial recordings onto magnetic tape.
Through the medium of audio recording, he constructed his radio programs with the same directorial tools and craftsmanship (editing, retaking, rehearsal, time shifting) used in motion picture production, a practice that became industry standard. In addition to his work with early audio tape recording, he helped finance the development of videotape, bought television stations, bred racehorses, and co-owned the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, during which time the team won two World Series (1960 and 1971).