As a small child, Nathaniel Crosby had no idea his dad was a world-famous entertainer. “I think my mom explained it to me when I was a kindergartner or first-grader, [and] I promptly told everybody at school,” Nathaniel, 62, tells In Touch with a laugh. “I got the note home saying, ‘We know how great Nathaniel’s dad is, but he doesn’t need to tell everybody!’”

To be fair, Bing’s fame was hard to ignore. Nathaniel, the youngest of Bing’s three children with his second wife, actress Kathryn Grant, recalls being on the road at 15 with his dad when they were approached by a tipsy woman at a Mexican restaurant. “She yelled, ‘You’re Bing Crosby! I lost my virginity to you!’ You could hear a pin drop,” Nathaniel shares, noting she repeated it three times before clarifying: “‘I lost my virginity at age 16 listening to you singing ‘Moonlight Becomes You.’ Everybody took a big sigh of relief,” he adds of that favorite memory, seeing “Dad being totally awestruck and not knowing what to say.”

A Happy Home Life

That’s because offstage, Bing was quite humble. “He didn’t travel around in limousines, he didn’t travel with bodyguards, and he didn’t travel around in fancy suits,” assures the author of 18 Holes With Bing: Golf, Life, and Lessons From Dad, noting how he and his siblings grew up in the San Francisco area because Bing “didn’t want us to be Hollywood brats.”

Still, show business was a big part of their lives, and Nathaniel recalls Bing singing “at breakfast or going down the hallway” when he was preparing to record. Then there were the family Minute Maid commercials as well as the beloved Crosby holiday specials they’d all do. “Dad might have given me the low notes, but not necessarily the tone,” Nathaniel quips about his own limited singing skills, “so chances are they turned my mic off multiple times during those Christmas show events!”

Bing Crosby's son talks about father
E. R. Richee via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Sports, namely golf, were more his passion, and Nathaniel fondly remembers “playing over 100 rounds a year” with his dad. Once, after watching his son win the last nine holes of a golf championship, Bing “promptly went home and told my mom that it was the happiest day of his life,” Nathaniel recalls, citing his father’s tender side in spite of the bad wrap he got from a book written by Gary Crosby, the eldest of Bing’s four sons with first wife Dixie Lee. “It was promoted as a ‘daddy-dearest’” tell-all, Nathaniel notes, “but my dad … led by example. He didn’t try to intimidate us. If he was upset with you, he’d go quiet. That was the worst feeling in the world.”

It’s also why, despite Bing passing in 1977, Nathaniel considers himself to be lucky “to be able to hear him on the radio…and see his movies with the push of a button, just to hear his voice,” he says. “I’m just ever grateful I had such a great father who spent all that quality time. It wasn’t like I got him a little bit. I got a lot of him.”

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