HOLLYWOOD … Bobby Darin is an intense young man who probably subconsciously made up his mind at age three months where he was going and hasn't tarried much in the interim.
The rage of the teen-agers today – and that could change because of the fickleness of youth – Darin bought himself some career insurance with two wise moves: Tailoring a supper club act for adults and getting married (last November 30 to young actress Sandra Dee).
He differs widely from many of the current singing rages among the pony tail set. For one thing, he is well-read and informed on subjects other than the No. 1 hit tunes of the week.
He'll discuss astronomy, meteorology and politics with equal facility and a good bit of thought. He knows what he's talking about.
IN COMMON with most show business personalities, he's a diet-watcher. A typical luncheon consists of broiled chopped meat, salad with vinegar and lemon juice, and iced tea with a synthetic sweetener.
But he's not languishing for lack of food. Rather, he has so much energy it appears vitamins should take Darin rather than vice versa. He freely admits he has energy to burn. And it's true.
"I'm just so happy to be doing all the things I want to, I never get tired. I'm a happy man," he grins widely.
He should be, if quick material success can spark happiness.
Bobby Darin, at the age of 24, is one of the top stars in motion pictures, television, nightclubs and on records. But he feels he is already two years behind the impossible goal he set for himself when he began his career four years ago.
Darin had cockily announced to the world, "I'll be a legend by the time I'm 25."
Well, that he isn't. But he's pretty darned close to it.
THE NEW YORK Times recently called the blue [brown] eyed-brown-haired star, "the most striking instance of the renaissance of showmanship."
"What makes Bobby run?" was the talk of the show business world for a couple of years – but now the question is: "Has he quit running?"
He stars January 31 on his own NBC-TV Show, entitled "Bobby Darin and Friends." Bob Hope, who is star of his own NBC shows, is special guest star and he has young singer Joanie Sommers on the show.
Darin, at the moment is particularly excited about his upcoming television special.
"It's been a lot of fun preparing," says Bobby his characteristic pipe now propped in the corner of his mouth.
"We've got Bud Yorkin and Norm Lear producing and directing, also writing. They did the Astaire special that won all the Emmys. I was really flattered when they said they wanted to work with me."
It's unusual for men such as Yorkin and Lear to want to work with a young man. But Darin is an unusually talented person and also an unusual person.
Bobby was born May 14, 1936, in New York. His father died before he was born, and he was raised by his mother and older sister, Nina. Bobby's family was extremely poor when he was born. They were on relief, and his "crib" was literally a cut down cardboard box.
He never allowed the poverty of the moment to stop him from striving to improve his own and his entire family"s economic situation. A lifetime ambition for self-improvement is characterized today by his drive to conquer new areas of show business, such as acting, different musical instruments and dancing.
Bobby has starred in his first motion picture, "Come September," which was shot in Rome in October and November. He is now preparing to star for Paramount Studios in "Separation Hill," ["Hell Is for Heroes."] a World War II story.
Bobby has announced that he would rather limit his nightclub activities and do more pictures. He's formed his own production company with Manager Steve Blauner.
Does this sound like a man who has quit running?
Bobby answers this with his twisted smile, "I'm just walking fast."
"Has success changed Bobby Darn?" is another question often thrown at the youth.
"SURE, IT has," Bobby admits, looking around his expensive home in Bel Air. "I'd be lying if I didn’t say that. Look around you. Do you think Robert Walden Cassotto (his real name) could afford this?"
"No," he answers quickly. "When I was a kid in the Bronx I had one pair of shorts, which I washed every night. Now, I have 100 pairs. I use to have two shirts, which I alternated daily. Now I own at least 200 shirts. In this way, I've change, but in here (pointing to his heart) I'm still Robert Walden Cassotto from the Bronx.
"When I came home at night after a nightclub audience didn't like me – or I couldn't win them over – it isn't Bobby Darin who beats his fist into the wall, it's Bobby Cassotto.
"But since I married Sandy, Darin and Cassotto for the first time are one and the same.
"For years, they were to separate people. It was Darin performing, but Cassotto who became angry with a noisy audience. It was Darin performing, but it was the kid from the Bronx taking the bows when the audience was appreciative. Now, it's the same person. It's Bobby Darin."
Bobby became a singer by accident. When he could not get a job in New York as an actor after struggling for a year, he and a young song publisher named Donnie Kirschner began to build a modest little business out of writing and selling radio commercials for local stores.
Bobby would write and sing the ditties, and Kirschner would sell them. George Scheck, a personnel manager, heard one of Bobby's demonstration records and took it to Decca Records, who immediately offered him a recording contract. Bobby grabbed it as a stepping-stone to achieve his ambition to be an actor.
A YEAR passed without any commercially successful records. Bobby got his release from Decca and signed up with Atco Records. Almost a year passed without a click when a friend’s mother kiddingly suggested a song title to Bobby: "Splish, Splash, Takin' a Bath."
Bobby and his friend had a good laugh over the title, and to carry the joke even further, Bobby sat down at the piano to pound out music for the title. Twelve minutes later, "Splish, Splash," which sold one million records, was written.
That success seemed to break the ice. Following "Splish, Splash," came four more hits in a row and two more gold records. One, that he wrote, was "Dream Lover," one of the biggest records of 1959.
During the popularity of "Dream Lover," Bobby released an album of ballads and "sing" songs, called "That’s All," aimed at adults and teen-agers alike.
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