Bobby Darin has "hit" with a greater impact and faster public acceptance than any other young performer in the history of show business.
Too, Bobby has opened up the door to strictly adult entertainment mediums for other young performers to walk through; he was the first young singer to headline the country's top nightclubs, such as Las Vegas' Sands and Flamingo, and the New York's Copacabana; he was the first young performer to present his first television special, aimed primarily at an adult audience; and he was the first young singer to bridge the single record and album gap between the teenage and adult buying public, currently selling with equal popularity to both groups.
The ability to draw avid fans from all age groups is probably the most amazing part of the Darin phenomenon. It is never possible to determine exactly what it is about a performer that makes him a star and attracts huge numbers of faithful fans-the phenomenon is usually attributed to am indefinable "personal magnetism , which seems to draw fans and adulation as a magnet draws steal.
In Bobby's case, the key to his "personal magnetism", which attracts fans from all age groups, can be best explained with one word: VERSATILITY.
Not since the days of the young Al Jolson and Frank Sinatra has a youthful performer come on the scene who is so adept in all phases of entertainment--singing, acting , dancing, musical instruments, articulate speech.
Bobby is not confined to a rigid pattern or style in anything he does, and can tailor his every performance to suit an individual audience . His singing easily runs the gamut of every form of popular music; his wit and articulate speech allows him to adlib with equal success to teenage audiences or sophiscated supper club patrons; his innate acting talent in films allows him to be successful with an emotion-packed portrayal of an American nazi bundist ("Pressure Point"), and in an out- and-out comedy role ("If A Man Answers").
Raw versatility is inborn, and in this respect Bobby's talents are god-given. But polished versatility is the result of hard, hard work. And in this respect the success he has attained can be credited solely to the hard work and drive supplied by Bobby himself. A versatile dynamo of energy and drive, Bobby is constantly trying to improve his performance in all areas.
Currently at the top of the heap among his contemporaries, sought after in nightclubs, television and continually a top record seller, Bobby is now concentrating his energies on attaining equal success in motion pictures-a goal which appears well on its way to being attained.
A stranger to motion pictures audiences less than one year ago, 1962 will see Bobby become the first actor in the history of talking pictures to have FIVE films released in one calendar year!
The films are Paramount's "Too Late Blues"and "Hell is for Heroes";20th Century Fox's "State Fair", Stanley Kramer's Pressure Point" and Universal-International's "If A Man Answers". Prior to the above films Bobby made his motion picture debut in Universal-International's "Come September", in which he co-starred with Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida and Sandra Dee.
Bobby currently has non-exclusive film contracts with Universal-International and Paramount studios--these apart from continous important offers from other producers.
It was as a singer, however, that Bobby first made an impact upon the nation, and gained the opportunity to prove his talent in other mediums.
"And now, the greatest rhythm singer in the business...Bobby Darin!" is the introduction Ed Sullivan gave to the young performer when he appeared for the first time on his show is May of 1959. From the immediate reaction CBS-TV received it was apparant that the public agreed with Mr. Sullivan.
Darin went on that year to win two of the recording industry's highest awards:The"Grammy" for "Best New Singer" and "Best Record" of the year for "Mack the Knife". His nightclub and TV stock soared, and since that time the offers haven't stopped pouring in in both mediums.
Bobby thrives on change, on inprovement, and on continually meeting and conquering the many challenges of new show business areas.Not content to confine himself, he has taught himself to play the piano, vibraphones, drums and guitar--also to dance!
Bobby is unique in another respect. He is not only a polished performer , he is one of our most accomplished young songwriters. For his first dramatic film role in U-I s "Come September" , Bobby wrote "Multiplication", which backed with "Irresistable You", became one of the biggest selling records throughout the world. He also wrote the song that ignited his career, "Splish Splash" as well as "Dream Lover", one of the biggest records of 1959, and many other of his songs, including "Thats The Way Love is" from his best selling "That's All".
Bobby also wrote and sang the title song for Universal-International's "If A Man Answers". PLUS having composed the love theme used throughout the entire picture!
An excellent example of Bobby's versitility and talent as a performer was seen in 1961 when he top--lined his own TV special , for Revlon, with Bob Hope and Joanie Sommers. Bobby ran the complete gamut of singing and acting styles and the result was outstanding critical acclaim and the highest rating of the season.
At the age of 26, Bobby posesses a degree of stage presence and flair for showmanship, which some performers never achieve in a lifetime.
The New York Times credits him as being "the most striking instance of the renaissance of showmanship".
Bobby, whose real name is Walden Robert Cassotto, was born May 14, 1936, in New York. His father died before he was born, and he was raised by his mother and 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 will never forget those days.
Never allowing the poverty of the moment to stop him from striving to improve his own and entire family's economic situation, Bobby's life has been characterized by a continuous effort to better himself. The intense striving for self-improvement is characterized today by his drive to conquer new areas of show business, and to make further strides in each area.
As a youngster, Bobby realized fully the value of a good education if he were to better himself. While in grammar school he set his sights for, and won the privilege of attending, the Bronx High School Of Science--generally recognized as the outstanding high school in New York, which only accepts students of exceptional intelligence and who are able to pass rigid entrance examinations.
Bobby's next goal was earning a scholarship to New Yorks Hunter College, as he was not able to afford tuition to any college or university of comparable academic stature--this goal too, was accomplished.
Following Bobby's freshman year at Hunter his desire to embark on a acting career became so intense that he left school and began pounding the pavements, looking for any kind of acting job he could get. Surprisingly enough, he got a job almost immediately and for several months toured the country with a children's dramatic group which staged plays for grammar schools--Bobby's role was that of a Indian chief!
His immediate success in his first try at an acting career gave the 18 year old Darin a false sense of security in his newly chosen profession, and led him to believe that "acting is a cinch"....This feeling of security slowly gave way to despair and disillusionment as the weeks of looking for acting jobs turned into months and then a year with no success.
At the depths of despair, having lived with a friend in a dingy coldwater flat and sometimes being forced to eat soda crackers and milk pilfered from store fronts to get even one "meal" a day. Bobby happened to meet a young songwriter named Donnie Kirshner.
The pair took a liking to each other, and Bobby showed Kirshner a few of the songs he has written to pass the time in his despair. Kirshner sensed Bobby's flair for writing , and suggested that they start their own small business writing and selling commercials for local stores. Bobby would write and sing the ditties and Kirshner would sell them--although the pair never had much money in their pockets, the business they got at least made it possible for Bobby to eat decent meals almost everyday, and occasionally to buy a new shirt or pair of slacks.
During one recording session for a radio commercial, Bobby recorded a song which he had written. A personal manager heard the song and took it to Decca records, where he was immediately offered a contract. Bobby grabbed the contract to use singing as a stepping stone to achieve his ultimate acting ambitions.
Three days after signing with Decca, the company put him on the old Tommy Dorsey network TV show, to sing a song he has recorded for them the day before: "Rock Island Line". Bobby had never sung before a live audience as a professional in his life, and being unfamiliar with singing and stage techniques, he wrote the lyrics to the song on the palms of his hands. The results of the show, in Bobby's own words were "I bombed!"
However, a strange thing happened to Bobby while he was performing. Although naturally nervous at first, he became almost immediately at ease and found that he loved the feeling of being on stage in front of a live audience--especially the applause that followed his number, even though he wasn't satisfied with his performance. At that very moment, singing became something more than merely a stepping stone to an acting career for Bobby, and he became determined to use all his energies to master the challenge it presented.
An ironic note is that the week after Bobby's TV appearance, the Dorsey show presented another new, unknown young singer to the nation: Elvis Presley!
A year passed without a commercially successful record, and Bobby asked for and received his release from Decca , almost immediately signing with Atco records. Another equally unfulfilling year had almost passed when a friends mother suggested a song title to Bobby: "Splish Splash, I was 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 the title to music.
Twelve minutes later, "Splish Splash" , which sold more then one million records and ignited one of the hottest careers in history of show business, was written.
Following "Splish Splash", came four more hits in a row, and two more gold records: "Queen of The Hop","Plain Jane","Early in the morning" and "Dream Lover". During the popularity of "Dream Lover", Bobby released an album of ballads and swing songs aimed at adults and teenagers alike, titled "That's All". Virtually everyone around Bobby was convinced that a rock-n-roll singer couldn't make the transition to music that appealed to all ages. But Bobby felt so strongly that he paid for the "That's All" recording sessions himself !
The first song on that album was "Mack The Knife", which received such fantastic reaction that it was eventually put out as a single, and has sold over 2,000,000 copies all over the world. The album also contained a later Darin single record hit, "Beyond The Sea" and is the largest selling album in the history of Atco records, more than 500,000 copies.
Just before the release of "That's All" Bobby made what is perhaps the most important move of his entire career. He signed a personal management contract with Steve Blauner, a young man just two years older than himself. Blauner was a talent agent who had brought Bobby to his agency a number of months before. Blauner spotted Bobby during one of his small nightclub dates outside of New York, and was bowled over with his natural showmanship on stage, recognizing all the qualities that make show business immortal.
Blauner believed in Bobby as no other person in the business had believed before. He believed to such an extent that he quit his agency job in a dispute involving Darin. Blauner, after a great deal of effort, had secured an engagement for Bobby withGeorge Burns first nightclub show, opening at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas in July 1959. Although the money wasn't the greatest, Blauner knew that exposure with Burns and the experience in the bigtime nightclub circuit could do wonders for Bobbys career.The agency on the other hand felt that Bobby should accept a conflicting offer to go on a rock-n-roll show tour of England, which would pay much more money. Blauner felt so strongly about the Burns engagement and it's importance to Bobby's career that he left the agency.
Shortly afterwards Darin asked Blauner to become his personal manager, starting with the Burns engagement. Their handshake agreement signaled the beginning of what is probaley the most successful young star-manager partnership in the history of the business.
As Blauner had predicted, Bobby amazed the audiences at the Sahara with his style and showmanship, and the waves of the public and press accolcades were showered upon him. Knowing that a lasting future for Bobby had to be built on a motion picture career, Blauner astutely booked Bobby for his West Coast nightclub debut at the Cloister in Hollywood to closely follow the Sahara engagement--capitializing on the furor of the excitement and interest that had stirred up in Hollywood due to his Las Vegas engagement.
"Mack" was just starting to get radio play from the album when Bobby opened at the Cloister--one of the most exciting and rewarding nights of his life. George Burns introduced the the talented 23 year old singer to the audience, which was packed with Hollywood's top stars, industry executives and press. Some had come with a "show me" attitude--they all left having been shown more than they had dreamed possible for a entertainer so young. Bobby promptly set a new attendance record at the club--a record which he completely shattered, incidentally , when he returned to the Cloister in April of 1960.
From that point on, Bobby was firmly established as a great new talent. Nightclub, television and picture offers began to pour in. Appearances on the the top TV shows and headline engagements at the the nations leading nightclubs followed. Before Bobby closed his first Cloister engagement he has signed a film contract with Paramount Pictures that was the biggest contract ever given to somone who had never before made a film.
One of Bobby's greatest triumphs was his record breaking engagement at New Yorks Copacabana, Mecca for nightclub performers, in June of 1960. Ironically,enough,during the three years that Bobby has struggled to "make it big" prior to"Mack" he has steadfastly turned down all offers to take engagements at small nightclubs in New York City. Bobby had vowed to himself that the first time he appeared in New York City it would be to headline the Copacabana, a seemingly hopeless dream at the same time--Bobby kept his promise. His first New York engagement, Bobby gave the Copa the biggest business he had had in years.
"The best since Al Jolson", wrote Walter Winchell.
"The greatest nightclub talent since Sammy Davis Jr.."Mr. Showman of 1960" wrote Gene Knight of the Journal-Amercian.
The success was especially sweet to Bobby and Steve Blauner because many "old pros" in the business had predicted that no one as young as Darin could possibly draw crowds at the Copacabana--how wrong they were!
Perhaps one of the main reasons for Darins amazing success, apart from phenomenal talent, is that he and Blauner have had enough faith in each other to trust their own judgement --not feeling that just because they were young and relatively inexperienced that contradictory advice from "old pros" was the gospel.
In the summer of 1960, Bobby finally made the tour to England that he had turned down the year before in order to appear with George Burns. The results were standing room only signs at every appearance he made, and Bobby British fans are now as faithful as any in the world. Bobby is especially proud of his British fan club, numbering close to 250,000 members, which has thus far adopted two young African leprosy victims through the British & Empire Leprosy Relief association in Bobby's name.
Shortly after his English tour, Bobby was signed for his first movie role in U-I "Come September", which was filmed in Rome. More important that getting his first film role was the fact that during the making of the picture he met and fell in love with his co star Sandra Dee.
Bobby and Sandra were married in December of 1960 and in December 1961 they became parents of a son, Dodd Mitchell Darin. The Darin family now live in an elegant Hollywood Hills home, just off the famed Sunset strip.
Bobby Darin has come a long way in a very short time, and there are few if any, who would deny that his star has come no where near reaching its' zenith. But Bobby never forgets that he is just a human being who was lucky enough to be born with talent.
Remembering all too clearly the struggles of his early life, Bobby has continuously donated his time and talent to charitable activities.
Most performers pick a charity to associate themselves with. In Bobbys case, a charity picked him. As a child Bobby suffered four separate attacks of rheumatic fever--although he miraculously came through it with virtually no harmful affects, Bobby has dedicated himself to doing everything in his power to help fight the disease.
In February 1962, Bobby became the first popular male singing star to be voted "King Of Hearts" for the American Heart Association three years in a row.
As the representative for the American Heart Association, Bobby would like to deliver a personal message to you himself:
"Dear friends,I sincerely hope you enjoyed tonights performance. Now I'd like to ask you to do me a favor. Next time a pay check rolls around, put the folding stuff in your pocket and drop the coins in an envelope and mail it to: The American Heart Association, 44 East 23rd St, New York 10,NY. Thank you.
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