01/8/2018 11:29 pm  #1


Mary Carlisle was one of Bing's most beautiful early leading ladies:




03/8/2018 5:49 pm  #2


The report in the London Daily Telegraph states she didn't care a lot for Bing for a couple of different reasons.


03/8/2018 5:53 pm  #3


Very disappointed to read the obituary in the Daily Telegraph today. Here's an extract.
"​She began in uncredited roles in such films as Grand Hotel (1932, starring Greta Garbo), before making her big break with Bing Crosby in College Humor (1933). She went on to co-star with him in Double or Nothing (1937) and Doctor Rhythm (1938).
But she never warmed to Crosby, whom she described in an interview in 2002 as “paranoid”: “He was not only terribly self-conscious about his height – he wore lifts in his shoes – but he had those giant ears of his pinned back, his teeth whitened constantly, and what is more, he drank like a fish.”
She often took him to task over his treatment of his then wife, the actress Dixie Lee: “He was so ghastly and mean to her. There were the rumours that he often beat her. On one occasion I offered her $50 to get out of town, but she couldn’t live with or without Bing.”"

​Mary was an honorary member of the ICC and had only good words to say about Bing. Gary Giddins interviewed her in depth and did not pick up anything like this. Wonder if they are confused with Kitty Carlisle.

Last edited by Malcolm Macfarlane (03/8/2018 5:57 pm)


03/8/2018 9:52 pm  #4


I checked with Gary Giddins and this is what he says,

"This is so outrageous. None of the US obits have anything remotely like that, and speak only of their three films as highlights of her career. She spoke of him with such warmth to me that she initially made me turn off my tape recorder when telling the backgammon story, because she was afraid people would get the wrong idea about his competitiveness. Also, by 1937 Bing had control of who would be cast as his leading ladies; he had a contractual right of acceptance and refusal. So if they didn’t get along, why would he use her in the second and third films. She wasn’t box office and she wasn’t a great actress.And there were never rumors of him beating Dixie. In the first source note to chapter 1, I point out that Gary told me about Bing gently lifting her because he never touched her in any other way but gently. So that’s  nonsense, the kind of thing you can get away with when you write about the dead. Shame on the Daily Telegraph."


04/8/2018 1:23 am  #5


I interviewed Mary Carlisle in the mid 1990s for an article in Club Crosby and she only had good things to say about Bing. I'll have to dig it out. 

     Thread Starter

04/8/2018 6:40 am  #6


Does anyone happen to know the source of the 2002 interview quoted in the Telegraph obit?

I don’t read The Telegraph, but I know that some UK papers have a sort of personal response column alongside their obituary coverage.

I have no wish to play devil’s advocate, but I suppose if the journalist who wrote the obituary - or at least updated what The Telegraph already had on file - was merely quoting what he had no reason to believe was anything other than Ms Carlisle’s opinion of Bing, we can’t necessarily question his journalistic integrity.

It does seem odd, however, that apparently none of the US papers picked up on this 2002 interview.

Last edited by jeremyrose (04/8/2018 7:01 am)


04/8/2018 7:28 am  #7


I have written to the Telegraph asking for details of their source. I have suggested that they are disseminating fake news.


04/8/2018 11:56 am  #8


After a lengthy trawl through the internet searching for any reports of the claimed interview, I can find nothing. By 2002 much was getting onto the net and newspapers and magazines by then were heavily quoted even if they had not set up full fledged on line operations of their own. 
I'm sure that the brigade who circulate scurrilous material would have been onto it and re-circulate it had it been published.



04/8/2018 6:22 pm  #9


Another example of poor journalism, of journalists going for the scandalous whether it were true or not, and without quoting sources. Very unprofessional and completely unacceptable.

Bing only had good things to say about Mary Carlisle as well. For instance, this is what he says in his Musical Autobiography before launching into "Learn to Croon" accompanied by Buddy Cole: "I made a movie called College Humor. The score was by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow. Jack Oakie and Dick Arlen pleyed in the backfield, and I was a professor of music. I never did know what the story was all about. Mary Carlisle sat in the front row in all my classes, and I guess that sort of threw me off. I flunked Oakie and Arlen, but a couple of great tunes graduated."


04/8/2018 7:31 pm  #10


Thinking that the Daily Telegraph may have got Mary mixed up with Kitty in their obit.
While Kitty said that Bing didn't talk to her much but he did show her a necklace he had bought for Dixie. Kitty also praised Bing for his singing and seemed to like him.
So, whoever wrote that obit in the Telegraph doesn't know what they are talking/writing about. No doubt those that don't care for Bing will find a bit more fuel to ad to their fire.


04/8/2018 8:04 pm  #11


Thanks, Richard, for trawling the web in an attempt to turn up the source of the 2002 interview...

Again, I am not in the business of defending lazy journalism, but I’m fairly sure that any obituary of Mary Carlisle will not have been a newly compiled and written article, but a topped-and-tailed, cut-and-paste job based on a framework which will have been held on file for years - if not decades.

We can only hope that Malcolm’s request for the source of the quotes yields some answers.


07/8/2018 1:27 pm  #12


The Telegraph has replied.
"Your email regarding our obituary of Mary Carlisle was passed on to us here on the obituaries desk. In answer to your query regarding the source of Mary's quotes about Bing Crosby, they were part of a telephone conversation she had with the writer of the piece, one of many conversations they had over the years. I hope that helps."
I find it hard to believe.


07/8/2018 6:34 pm  #13


Thanks for posting Malcolm.
At least you did receive a response.
Interviews always receive an answer but it depends how the question is put to them and tone.
Same question from different people receive a different attitude response.
If there was a 'bad' feeling would Bing have had her in three films? After all Bing had a lot of input that the studio took notice of.
Perhaps the bloke talking to Mary didn't care much for Bing.


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