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Son of Crooner Apparent Suicide

December 13, 1989

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Lindsay Crosby, son of the late crooner Bing Crosby, shot himself to death 11 days after learning the inheritance with which he supported his family had run out of money, a family spokesman said Tuesday.

Crosby, 51, was being treated for alcoholism in suburban Calabasas and his body was found at his residence there Monday by someone who had gone to pick him up, said Marilyn Reiss, spokeswoman for Crosby’s brother Gary.

The body was found on a bedroom floor with a small-caliber rifle nearby. There was no note but Crosby’s death was considered a likely suicide, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Bill Linnemeyer.

The Sheriff’s Department identified the person who found Crosby as a friend who had called Crosby repeatedly Monday but got only busy signals.

A post-mortem to officially determine the cause of death was scheduled Wednesday, said Bob Dambacher, spokesman for the county coroner. ″It appears that it could be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.″

The family accepted that it was a suicide, said Ms. Reiss, a longtime friend who was a publicist for Gary Crosby for many years.

Lindsay Crosby, who lived with his wife, Susan, and two of his four sons in suburban Sherman Oaks, was the youngest of the four brothers born to Bing and Dixie Lee Crosby. With brothers Gary, Phillip and Dennis, he had a nightclub act called the Crosby Boys that ran until 1959.

The brothers were informed on Nov. 30 that their inheritance, which was planned by their mother 45 years ago and based on investments in crude oil, wasn’t making money anymore, Ms. Reiss said.

″The lawyers and accountants told them that there was a glut on the market for crude oil, therefore their mother’s well-planned plans left them broke,″ she said.

The inheritance provided a regular income. Gary has pursued an acting career but Lindsay did not work, Ms. Reiss said. She did not know what the Crosby twins, Phillip and Dennis, were doing.

″It was not humongous but it certainly allowed all four boys to live comfortably,″ Ms. Reiss said.

″Gary said to me that Lindsay’s problem is that he is too good and that he is a sweet, kind, gentle guy, and maybe he should have been meaner because maybe he could have taken this blow,″ Ms. Reiss said.

She said that Lindsay ″was being treated, he was an on-and-off drinker, but he was also a manic depressive.″

″Gary said to me, ’I knew he was upset but we were all upset and we’re all upset together. ... I never would have figured in a million years that Lindsay would have been the guy to do this,‴ Ms. Reiss said.

Dixie Lee Crosby died of cancer in 1952. Bing Crosby was remarried, to actress Kathryn Grant in 1957, and they had two boys and a girl. Bing Crosby died of a heart attack in 1977 at age 73.

Lindsay Crosby was married to dancer Barbara Frederickson and secretary Janey Schwartz before marrying former Miss Alaska Susan Marlin.

″Going My Way,″ a 1983 book by Gary Crosby, revealed a strict home life for the sons of Bing, who teamed with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour in the ’40s ″Road″ pictures and won an Oscar for his role as a priest in the film ″Going My Way.″

The book portrayed Bing Crosby as a stern disciplinarian, and while Lindsay had a tempered view of its revelations, he supported its publication.

″I never expected affection from my father so it didn’t bother me,″ he once said in an interview.

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