30/5/2020 6:08 pm  #1

Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

A tribute to lovely Dixie Lee, Actress & Singer, who was born Wilma Winifred Wyatt in Harriman, Tennessee on 4th November 1909 to Evan Wyatt and the former Nora Scarboroughmet. Dixie met Bing Crosby at the age of 20 and married him on 29th September 1930 and she was the mother of his four sons [Gary Crosby born in 1933, twins Phillip & Dennis Crosby in 1934 and Lindsay Crosby in 1938]. 
      (with Gary in 1933)

Dixie Lee had won a singing contest in Chicago under the name Dixie Carroll which included a part in a Broadway play and she was soon on her way to Hollywood and at the age of eighteen, she was signed to a contract with Fox Film. In 1930, Dixie Lee was better known than Bing Crosby - as demonstrated by the incorrect press release published by the Associated Press that reported that Dixie Lee had married "Murray Crosey"!

The last two songs commercially recorded by Dixie Lee and Bing Crosby with the Victor Young Orchestra in August 1936 on Decca/Brunswick were from the the movie "Swing Time" (1936) amusingly performed by the stars of the movie Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers. These songs "The Way You Look Tonight" and "A Fine Romance" were both composed by Jerome Kern & Dorothy Fields.   The former song winning an Academy Award for the "Best Original Song" and it became Fred Astaire's most successful hit record, topping the U.S. charts in 1936. Below are Bing and Dixie Lee singing together - showcasing Dixie Lee's charming voice  which seems rather sweeter than Ginger's in my opinion. What you do think?

The Way You Look Tonight” (Bing & Dixie Lee - 1936)

A Fine Romance” (Bing & Dixie Lee - 1936)

Some earlier songs by Dixie Lee:
Got Me Doin’ Things” (Dixie Lee - Love In Bloom 1935)

My Heart is an Open Book” (Dixie Lee - Love in Bloom 1935)

I Apologize” (Dixie Lee - Darn Tootin 1931)

It is mentioned on the Web that "Bing travelled a lot during their marriage and during that time, Dixie was alone. The actress wrote beautiful letters to let him know how much she had missed him. Their relationship was full of romantic words and deeds"....."Whenever Bing returned home from travel, he and Dixie were inseparable. They enjoyed taking care of the horses at their home in Del Mar or Santa Anita." ......"Unfortunately, Dixie died from ovarian cancer just a week after Bing returned home from filming Little Boy Lost. The tragedy happened three days before her 41st birthday."....."Though he eventually remarried, he never recovered from the loss of Dixie."


"Historical Marker to honor East Tennessee Hollywood hero Dixie Lee"

please see via the YouTube link. 

Below the historic marker the city of Harriman, Tennessee, dedicated to the memory of Dixie Lee Crosby (1909-1952)

Last edited by VictorM (09/6/2020 3:12 pm)


31/5/2020 2:25 am  #2

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Nice historic sign for Dixie. Thanks for posting it as I’ve never seen it before.


31/5/2020 11:50 pm  #3

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Dear Ron,

Dixie Lee Day - 8th November 2019 by Tennessee State Senate Resolution No. 4

Thank you very much for writing.

There is more about the memorial for Dixie Lee in David's article if you hadn't already seen it.   "DIXIE LEE TO GET HISTORICAL MARKER PRESS RELEASE - HARRIMAN NATIVE AND ACTRESS DIXIE LEE TO RECEIVE STATE HISTORICAL MARKER..."


     Thread Starter

01/6/2020 2:35 am  #4

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

I love how Bing and Dixie look together, they are I think one of the most interesting and beautiful couple in Hollywood. They are some kind two people who were ment to each other.
For a week, or more, I try to find as much information about Missis Lee Crosby, as I can, but it is really very few facts about her, except that she was better known and famous than Bing, when they met and get married, so she helped her husband with his career, and it was her choice to end her own, to stay at home with children.
Bing wrote a lot of touching words about her, but she was not peoples' person, so she was his wife and didn't need others. I think that it means only that only Mr. Crosby and his family knew everything about her and now we can, mostly only guess what kind of woman she was and suggest alot about her.
Her voice is great and nobody have voice like her, so it is sad that thre isn't many recordings of songs she sung alone or with Bing.
Also I found that there are different opinions about her birth date, because some resources insist on saying that she was born in 1911, while others are saying about 1909 and it made me to try to find some documents and I think that old Harry L. Crosby-Wilma Winifred Wyatt marriage license, certificate of marriage are anough truly to trust. There is written that Bing married Dixie in 29 September 1930, when she was 19 and he was 26 (It means Missis Lee Crosby was born in 1909.)
I wish to learn more and won't stop now.)))


01/6/2020 9:55 am  #5

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Thanks Victor. 

Are there any reliable biographies about Dixie?


01/6/2020 11:13 am  #6

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

I think, there are not complite truly biographies about Dixie, but "the 1947 film Smash-upthe Story of a Woman is loosely based on Dixie Lee's life" as Wikipedia and other resources say.
Also I can try to make some article about her tomorrow or two days later, where will be the most facts about her, which are avaliable to read and to find now. May be it will be a short alternative of biography, if it is possible to say so. It's hard to believe, but sometimes she was better known and mor famous than her husband and also hard to believe that she was nearly invisible after marriage and appeared only in few movies after that (the same story is about radio programs). She lived only for her family and kept private life in a secret. Some facts are in Gary Giddins's books and some in Bing's "Call me lucky". That's all I can tell you now quickly.


01/6/2020 1:38 pm  #7

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Nice of you, Tom, but I guess most of us all know quite a lot about Dixie Lee already. Probably best to hold back on your article. There is an article about Dixie Lee in the next BING magazine too.

Last edited by Malcolm Macfarlane (01/6/2020 1:39 pm)


01/6/2020 1:54 pm  #8

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Ok, I understand you.
My business is to offer and you can agree or refuse. There's nothing wrong with that.)))


01/6/2020 4:32 pm  #9

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Here is another nice Dixie Lee record from 1936...


02/6/2020 3:13 am  #10

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Another good performance by Dixie Lee "Until The Real Thing Comes Along". Thank you David - well found!

I see that this song was later recorded by many well-known singers over the years including The Ink Spots, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Frankie Laine & Buck Clayton, Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra.

Thank you very much to Ron, Tom, John for joining in.  Actually, I knew next to nothing about Dixie Lee until I joined your Forum and started reading up on the subject.   

On the Web there is more information re. the song's composers at: https://secondhandsongs.com/work/10909

Perhaps Dixie Lee liked Ruth Etting's style - she was the original "Torch Singer" and recorded "Out of Nowhere" on Columbia Records in 1931. The fine song was composed by Johnny Green & Edward Hayman.


In 1931, "Out of Nowhere" was the first recording under Bing Crosby's record contract with Brunswick. Bing recorded the song on 30th March 1931. It was his first No.1 hit record as a solo artist. Bing also sang it in his film "Confessions of a Co-Ed" (1931) and in the short film "I Surrender Dear" (1931).

Bing's magnificent recording can be heard at the following link. What a voice!

     Thread Starter

02/6/2020 1:55 pm  #11

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Looking forward to the article.


04/6/2020 2:24 am  #12

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Until today the only Dixie Lee recordings i'd heard were the duets with Bing so many thanks for directing me to the others. Yes, i can detect a similarity in her voice and Ruth Etting's.


05/6/2020 11:42 pm  #13

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

Dear Graham,

If you listen to Ruth Etting singing Bing's great hit "Out of Nowhere", at about 1min - 56secs suddenly the song gets livelier and faster!

On the Web, it mentions that Ruth Etting was known for this:

"While she enjoyed singing at school and in church, Etting never took voice lessons. She said that she had patterned her song styling after Marion Harris, but created her own unique style by alternating tempos and by varying some notes and phrases."

I believe that one of Ruth Etting's most famous songs was "Ten Cents a Dance" (1930).  Ruth does the same thing with the tempo change at about 1min - 38secs as you can hear from the song below:

The recording seems very clear and free from crackle, etc.

Doris Day gave a very good performance portraying Ruth Etting's tough life in the film "Love Me or Leave Me" co-starring James Cagney released in 1955.

On the Web, it says that 
James Cagney had suggested to producer Joe Pasternak that Doris Day be cast in the Etting role. The role had been sought by Ava Gardner and Jane Russell, but Cagney persuaded MGM to cast Doris Day, who was excited to play opposite Cagney.   If course, Doris Day would have had her splendid singing voice advantage over Ava and Jane.



     Thread Starter

09/6/2020 3:49 pm  #14

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

     Thread Starter

09/6/2020 6:07 pm  #15

Re: Tribute to Dixie Lee - Actress & Singer

There’s that tie again that Bing wore in many a photo.


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