The Crosby Family Tree Explained

The surname Crosby came into public consciousness when a man named Bing Crosby entered the entertainment world. It's not really a common name, and today if you hear it, it is likely in reference to him or a Canadian professional hockey player named Sidney Crosby.

Bing Crosby rose to fame in the 1930s, first as a singer and recording artist, then as a radio host, and later in film as an actor, says Britannica. He is best known for the famous holiday song, "White Christmas" and starring in the movie of the same name, along with a film titled "Going My Way," for which he won the Academy Award for best actor, per IMDb.

Born in Tacoma, Washington on May 3, 1903, Crosby was also one of seven children. He came from a big family, and went on to have a large one of his own. He was the fourth child of Harry Lowe Crosby and Catherine Harrigan (via Spokane Historical). The family moved to the city of Spokane in eastern Washington State, which is where Crosby would mostly be raised. And this city is where the Crosby family tree as we know it begins.

Bing was actually Harry Jr.

Harry Crosby and his wife Catherine were the parents of seven children — five boys and two girls. Crosby Sr. was born in Olympia, Washington in 1870 (via Find A Grave), and Mrs. Crosby was born in Stillwater, Minnesota in 1873. They lived in Tacoma, Washington and had most of their children there. However, in 1906 they relocated to the city of Spokane, where Crosby Senior would eventually build a home for his large and growing family. When they moved, the couple already had six children; the only Crosby child to actually be born in Spokane was the youngest and last son, Bob Crosby, per Geni. Bing had three older brothers (Larry, Everett, and Ted), two younger sisters (Catherine and Mary Rose), and younger brother, Bob.

The entire family lived at 508 E. Sharp Avenue, which is now part of the campus that makes up Gonzaga University (via Spokane Historical). The school is also the alma mater of Bing Crosby. Since the family lived so close to the institution, naturally it was the school of choice when he finished high school. He never graduated — he'd planned to study law — but the school did present him with an honorary degree when he hit fame (via Gonzaga University).

The senior Crosbys

With three older brothers and three younger siblings, Bing Crosby was smack dab in the center as the quintessential middle child of his family. As a child he enjoyed playing sports and music, says PBS. That was just the beginning of his famous career. He would be the most famous person in his family, and take the Crosby name to new heights.

He was named after his father, and his full name is Harry Lillis Crosby Jr. But as a child, Crosby had a nickname that his friends gave him. They called him Bing, which was short for Bingo, says Spokane Historical. The name was inspired by the comic strip called "The Bingville Bugle," which Crosby was a big fan of (Biography). The name stuck and even his family began calling him Bing. Soon it became his only name. Just as his career was kicking off, Crosby met his first wife, Dixie Lee (above), in 1929.

Crosby's wives and the Crosby children

In 1930, Crosby and Lee married. The couple would have four sons together; Gary, born in 1933; twin boys Phillip and Dennis, born in 1934; and Lindsay, born in 1938. Like father, like sons, all of the Crosby boys went into entertainment. Together they formed The Crosby Boys (posted on YouTube). But fame brought trouble, as they all suffered with alcohol addiction. Their mother died in 1952. Crosby would remarry however, and have more children.

In 1957, Crosby got hitched for his second and last time to Kathryn Grandstaff. The couple had three children: a son named Harry, born in 1958; a daughter, Mary born in 1959; and another son, Nathaniel, born in 1961.

In 1977, Crosby died from a heart attack in Spain. He was survived by all of his children at the time of his death, but sadly there's a major stump in the family tree with the deaths of four of his sons — all from his first marriage. Lindsay, his youngest son with Dixie Lee, committed suicide in 1989 (via Buffalo News). Two years later, Dennis also committed suicide (via The Washington Post). In 1995, Crosby's first child died of cancer (via another Washington Post link). Then in 2004, the other twin, Phillip, also died by the same cause of death that killed his father, per The New York Times.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Crosby's grandchildren with Dixie Lee

Despite the unfortunate deaths of his sons, each one of them were survived by children of their own. Crosby has a number of grandchildren.

Like his father and grandfather, Dennis Crosby had seven children, too. His first marriage, to Pat Sheehan, gave him his first three children and only sons: Patrick Anthony, Gregory, and Dennis Jr. His second marriage, to Arleen Newman gave him daughters: Kelly Lee and Erin Colleen, along with his adoptive daughter, Catherine Denise (per Pat: A Biography of Hollywood's Blonde Starlet). He also had another daughter named Denise, per Deseret News. His twin brother, Phillip, married four times (via The New York Times), and had five children: Mary Elizabeth, Dixie Lee, Flip, and Philip Jr. Sadly, he was survived only by four of his children; his son Brian Patrick died at the age of 18 in 1978, per Newspapers.

The eldest Crosby son, Gary, only had one child, named Steve (via Seattle Post Intelligencer). Lindsay married three times and had five sons: David, Sean, L. Chip, Adam, and Kevin — the latter attending his grandfather's alma mater (via The Seattle Times).

Crosbys with Kathryn Crosby

Bing Crosby's oldest child with his second wife was Harry Crosby III. A former actor and investment banker, he's married to Mihaela Skobe. They have two children: a son, named Nicholas, and a daughter, named Thea (via Express).

His younger sister, Mary, is also an actress, and has been married twice. She has two sons, Brent and Christopher, with her current and second husband, Mark Brodka, per Daily Mail. Bing's youngest child, Nathaniel, took his father's hobby to another level. Nathaniel Crosby is a successful golfer, a game that was identified with Bing, per Golf. He's been married twice, and has six children, two of which are his stepchildren, says Express. He is currently married to his wife, Sheila. Their children are Nathaniel Jr., Brendan, Bridget, and Claire Crosby, and step-daughters Turner and Courtney Reynolds (via Executive Golfer Magazine). In total, Bing Crosby has over a dozen living grandchildren.