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His signature pipe. Several pipes, given as gifts, were etched with “Best wishes, Bing.” His statue on campus includes a screw-in pipe, but most visitors don’t see it. It was so often stolen that it’s now under lock and key.

By Dale Goodwin & Stephanie Plowman

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Platinum records. Gonzaga’s collection includes most of Bing’s 23 gold and platinum records, including his biggest-selling single “White Christmas.”

Inside the Crosby Center – built in 1957 as a library, and the center of student activity for the past 23 years – meeting rooms are named for some of Bing Crosby’s popular movies: Road to Morocco, Road to Utopia, Road to Bali. But Gonzaga holds much more of its most famous alumnus than just movie-themed meeting rooms. In fact, the University has the largest public collection of Crosby memorabilia in the world.

Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby Jr. (1903-1977) has been described as the most influential performer on American culture over the first half of the 20th century. The singer and actor’s trademark warm baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists ever, having sold close to 1 billion records, tapes, compact discs and digital downloads around the world.

The Oscar. Bing earned an Oscar for Best Actor in “Going My Way.” He played a priest, Fr. O’Malley, modeled after the priests Bing got to know as a student at Gonzaga, 1920-24.

The Oscar. Bing earned an Oscar for Best Actor in “Going My Way.” He played a priest, Fr. O’Malley, modeled after the priests Bing got to know as a student at Gonzaga, 1920-24.

There are hundreds of items on display
at the museum inside Crosby’s childhood
home, including:

  • sheet music, plaques and awards
  • news clippings and scrapbooks
  • ice cream cartons, coloring books, buttons, clothing, toys and more.
  • “Face most conducive to dunking” – A light-hearted award that came with a chocolate donut.
  • Kilroy plaque – An honor for his devotion to the American troops.
  • A Bob Wallace “Ken” doll – Bing Crosby’s White Christmas character came out 22 years after his death.
  • Whiskey decanter – Sold during the Bing Crosby Pro Am Golf Tournament. This bottle from 1970 still contains the original whiskey.

 

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