Bobby Darin Biography
In the late 1950s and 1960s, Bobby Darin was a popular pop singer, composer, and actor. “Splish Splash,” a quick-write novelty tune, was a worldwide hit in 1958. “Mack the Knife,” his adult-oriented song, won two Grammys. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame decades after his death in Los Angeles on December 20, 1973.
Bobby Darin, a Bronx native born on May 14, 1936, rose to renown in his brief life. NYC’s impoverished raised him. Darin was raised believing his parents were Sam and Polly Cassotto. Sing Sing Prison killed Frank Costello associate Sam Cassotto. Polly, a former vaudeville performer, encouraged young Bobby to become a celebrity like Frank Sinatra.
Darin was Cassotto’s grandson. He thought his sister was Nina Cassotto, his true mother. Polly became a mother after Nina became pregnant as a teenager. Darin found out about his mother, but not his father.
Thin, sickly Darin. Several bouts of rheumatic fever had irreversibly ruined his heart, and he had other health issues. Darin heard a doctor’s gloomy diagnosis at 6 or 7. Darin’s doctor predicted a 16-year lifespan. Darin seemed encouraged by these statements.
Darin played in a high school band, playing numerous instruments. School dances were his first gigs. He and his bandmates got summer jobs at a Catskills resort at 16. Darin excelled in music and humor. Hunter College was his post-high school stop. Darin got his first record deal with Atco after writing songs for Aldon Music.
“Splish Splash,” which Darin penned, reached the Top 5 of the pop charts in 1958. “Queen of the Hop” made him a teen idol. Darin was greater than Dion or Frankie Avalon. “Dream Lover” and “Mack the Knife,” his first Billboard No. 1 and Grammy Award-winning tune, were hits in 1959. The best new artist Grammy went to Darin.
Early 1960s Darin remained popular. He starred in Come September (1961) with Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida, and Sandra Dee after leaving the concert stage. Darin and Dee had already eloped.
State Fair, with Pat Boone and Ann-Margret, was his first musical (1962). Captain Newman, M.D. earned Darin an Oscar nomination in 1963.
Darin became a Las Vegas star during this period. He sang like Frank Sinatra. Darin was restless and ambitious and drew from a wider musical background. Darin helped Wayne Newton launch his career in Las Vegas.
Darin charted with “Beyond the Sea” and “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby.” “Things” and “You’re the Reason I’m Living” were country hits. Fans loved “18 Yellow Roses,” a song he penned for his wife Sandra Dee.
“If I Were a Carpenter” was Darin’s final hit in 1966. He divorced Dee around this time. Dodd was their son before they split.
Darin changed with music tastes. He supported Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. June’s Kennedy assassination devastated Darin. He founded Direction Records and pursued his passion for folk music and protest songs. Tim Hardin hit “Simple Song of Freedom” by Darin.
Darin joined Motown in the early 1970s. His Las Vegas show was popular despite his later failures. Darin’s cardiac issues killed him. Heart failure killed him in Hollywood on December 20, 1973. Then-37-year-old Darin Andrea Joy Yeager, his second wife, and Dodd survived him.
Darin’s songs live on. Goodfellas, American Beauty, and The Sopranos soundtracks feature his tunes. Kevin Spacey’s 2004 film Beyond the Sea portrayed Darin’s life. Spacey co-wrote, directed, and starred.
Bobby Darin Discography
|Things and Other Things|
|Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles|
|Twist with Bobby Darin|
|Two of a Kind|
|The 25th Day of December|
|For Teenagers Only|
|This is Darin|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Was Bobby Darin’s Biggest Hit?
“Mack the Knife” was Bobby Darin’s biggest hit. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1959 and won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1960. Darin also won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1959.
Did Bobby Darin Have A Number One Hit?
Yes, Bobby Darin did have a number one hit with “Mack the Knife” in 1959.