The Kid From The Bronx

Bobby Darin
Thanks to Frank Lipsik for this picture.

This article,written by Dena Reed, appeared in the
February 1960 issue of TV Film Stars Magazine.

Out of poverty came strength...out of love came hope and faith...out of a dream came reality...

"Forget my past? Never! I couldn't if I wanted to. There are some things that are good for a guy to remember. Like poverty. And love. Especially love. Without love I don't think I could have overcome the obstacles of struggling for daily bread. I don't think I could have avoided the pitfalls that tripped and trapped other kids. They thought that stealing was getting what they wanted the easy way. Well, these kids learned the hard way that crime doesn't pay.

"Some parents, unfortunately , become beaten and embittered by poverty. They become too hard and indifferent to guide and guard their richest possession--their children. They let their kids run wild. If they only knew the comfort of prayer and a strong belief in God ! If only they had learned the value of the nourishment prayer is to the soul and the spirit!"

Bobby Darin

This was Bobby Darin talking, the young man many writers have called cocky and conceited because he has confessed that he is determined to become tops in his profession. His confidence in his ability has often been misinterpreted, but what reporters seem to overlook is that Bobby has confidence instilled in him from earliest his mother. It was she who told him that he could reach for the brightest stars.

It's good to believe in yourself and the things you want out of life. Actually self confidence comes to young people when their parents show faith in them and their goals, he thinks.

"My mother was a school teacher who taught me lots of things. She would have preferred that I wouldn't be an entertainer but as soon as she learned that I wanted to be one, she did everything to encourage me to be the best one I could make of myself. She didn't care if people came to her and asked 'Why isn't your son working and bringing home money? 'Another woman might have said 'Give up trying for show business and go into an office.' But mom was willing to wait 'til I made it and she didn't care what people thought as long as I was doing what I wanted to do- doing my best and making some progress."

"She thought-and rightly so-that the way to build confidence was to make yourself better than the next fellow. So when I decided to become a singer, I was determined to be the best one around."

Bobby Darin

Bobby says conceit is thinking you're good but confidence is knowing you are. If you are to know it, you have to give everything your best. There's a difference of course, between confidence and cockiness. Sometimes when teenagers have an inferiority complex they try to cover it up by being cocky. So the trick is cultivate confidence without conceit, but if folks call you cocky when you know you're just having faith in yourself, don't let it throw you.

Bobby was brought up to believe a man must be aggressive, honest and able to make his own decisions and stand by them. To help them, his mother let him make his own mistakes and learn by experience.

"Whatever your mother tells you is right in my book,"Bobby said."After that , the best teacher is experience."

Bobby and his mother were able to talk things out."If you can do this with your parents, you won't have to lie to them, no matter what. And if they have enough confidence in you to give you confidence in yourself, you're going to love them enough never to want to hurt them."

Bobby had rheumatic fever as a kid and as a result got a lot of attention at home. Despite his pampering Bobby calls it love-he emerged as a strong well-disciplined character. He knew his physical limitations and that he couldn't do a lot of things that the other kids did, but he didn't brood. He concentrated his effort and energies on mental pursuits. Bobby is erudite, old beyond his years. He has a wide range of interests and sounds as though he has lived in the world of books as learning. Today, when the pressures of show business overwhelm him he steals away for twelve solid hours of sleep and rest.

Because he was sickly, he never became "one of the crowd' as a teenager. It taught him to be a rugged individualist, to stand on his own two feet and this is something he recommends for all young people.

"I like being a rugged individualist,"he told us."Kids think 'Everybody uses lipstick at fourteen so I must too.' I'm not for this. I don't think one has to follow the crowd. It's better to follow your own intuition of what's good for you: that's beeen my experience. Ask yourself:'What do I want out of life?'Then set out to get it."

George Burns and Bobby
George Burns & Bobby

If Bobby had followed the crowd in the Bronx where he grew up, he might have wound up a tough character and landed in jail-lots of kids in his neighborhood did.

Being independant instead of following the herd has made him a better person and that individually makes the difference between "the men and the boys"But "you can get independant any time between thirteen and sixty, the sooner the better!"

Bobby thanks his mother again for the independance and aggressiveness he has. He has always made the decisions in his family but was never pressured to do this.

"Give a young person love and understanding and then let them follow his own star and he'll turn out okay,"is his theory.

Bobby Darin

You might say Bobby is self made. "I believe teenagers should get as much education as they can but if your parents can't send you to college, don't think your going to be a failure. You can get just as far by serving an apprenticeship in the field of your choice. This is the do-it-yourself way and I'm all for it. Make the most of what you have and never stop learning. Be observant of people around you. I think we are influenced by what we see in others. Try to come in contact with people who know more than you do, especially in the field in which you are interested."

Bobby has always learned from doing. He learned to play the piano, drums ,guitar and bass. He composed,played and sang his own songs. When he got a contract as a singer, he was amazed. He rose above his first failures to make the record-breaking Mack The Knife , one of the biggest hits of last year- which gives you an idea of what can happen, once you make up your mind to do better than the next person.

As might be expected of a rugged individualist, Bobby has some very definite ideas on most everything.

In choosing friends, for instance, he thinks it's important to make the right ones--those who are loyal and true , no matter what happens."I'm lucky to have five close friends who have stuck by me for a long time,"he said."Friendship is a give and take affair and its got to be able to stand up to good fortune as well as bad luck.Success had made me lose some of my friends but others have stuck by me through thick and thin and this is the kind of friend to stay with.

"I recently became Godfather to Darin Evan Lord. Darin's parents have been my friends for a long time. My accompanist, Dick Berhke is another close friend. When we were both in The Bronx High School of Science in New York, we used to dream about our future. I was going to be a big time singer and he would be my accompanist. It makes us both feel good to think this dream came true and we're still together. So I say when making friends, be sure they will wear well.

I like to feel that the people I care about the most about would be with me even if I found I was no longer somebody in the entertainment world."

Bobby and close friends
Bobby and some of his closest friends:
Dick Behrke, Dick Lord, Steve Karmen & Ellen Lord

dining with friends
Bobby, Jo Ann Campbell, Ed Byrnes & Keely Smith dining at the swank Harwyn in New York.

Bobby is a complete realist. Aware of his strong points and his weak ones, he thinks teenagers should not fool themselves about themselves. Bobby knows, for instance , that he can sing and that he could be an actor too, but he's aware he hasn't reached the top yet and that a wrong move could hold him back. He considers his looks on the debit side of the ledger but he's not letting that stop him. In his book, seeing yourself realistically--knowing your weak points but compensating for them -is a good way for young people to operate.

As to girls, Bobby likes the type who is wholeheartedly for him, who admires independence enough to be independent of thought and make a life of her own and yet make him feel that she can be dependant and appealing in a feminine sort of way.

But he doesn't hold with steady dating. He's done it and feels that in your teens it is a mistake. "Teenagers should get out and meet a lot of people so they'll get to know what they really want out of life."

Bobby Darin doesn't hold with teenage marriage either. "Most teenagers are in school and can't provide for a wife and a family. A man should be independent, achieve his goals --and then marry. If you and your wife want to marry and struggle together to make a go for it, that's okay, providing you know what you're in for but I don't think one can until you're in your twenties. In your teens ,keep your mind on getting to be a person in your own right--a person with confidence and independence."

From one success to another

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