Olive Kathryn Grandstaff was born on November 25, 1933 in West Columbia, Texas. Her love of acting began at age 3 in Toymaker’s Dream and later in Henry’s Hired Aunt and Mama’s Baby Boy when she was a teenager. Kathryn enrolled in the University of Texas, where she demonstrated a talent for writing. After graduating with a BFA degree, Kathryn won first prize in a beauty pageant: a contract with Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. Under her new name, Kathryn Grant, she showed promise in Forever Female, Rear Window, Living it Up, Arrowhead, and Casanova’s Big Night.
Kathryn also began writing a column for a local paper back home. For “Texas Gal in Hollywood” the astonished cub reporter interviewed William Holden, Bob Hope – and Bing Crosby – at Paramount. One afternoon, while returning a petticoat to the wardrobe department, Kathryn was stopped in her tracks by a very familiar voice. “Hiya, Tex. What’s the hurry?” said Bing on a break from filming White Christmas. She had lunch with the man she would later describe as “your average, run of the mill superstar.”
Their first real date was the Academy Awards on March 30, 1955, as Bing had been nominated for his lead performance in The Country Girl. Kathryn was under contract to Columbia Pictures, where she had roles in a number of films, including The Phenix City Story, Mister Cory, and Operation Mad Ball. She also often maintained a busy schedule of live television performances such as Lux Video Theater, Damon Runyon Theater, and Ford Television Theater.
Kathryn and Bing’s relationship during this period would best be described as “on and off” as they canceled wedding dates, Bing wrote apologetic letters and Kathryn refused to see him for a time. While Kathryn was in Spain filming The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Bing wrote to her, offering to marry her “any time, any place you wish.” On October 24, 1957 they married at St. Anne’s Church in Las Vegas.
On August 8, 1958 Harry L. Crosby, Jr. was born. In 1959 Kathryn appeared in The Big Circus and Anatomy of a Murder, after which would she devoted herself to raising a family. On September 14, 1959, Mary Frances was born and on October 29, 1961 Nathaniel Patrick arrived. Kathryn became a registered nurse and primary and secondary school teacher.
She continued to appear on stage in productions like Peter Pan, Arms and the Man and Sabrina Fair; while also appearing on television in the annual Crosby Christmas specials and occasionally on other shows.
In 1970 Kathryn appeared with Bing in a Sherman Brothers musical, Goldilocks, featuring Mary Frances in the title role. In the seventies The Kathryn Crosby Show was broadcast locally in San Francisco. From March 1976 to October, 1977 Kathryn toured the United States and Europe with Bing Crosby and Friends.
After Bing’s death, Kathryn starred in the made-for-television film, The Initiation of Sarah and returned to the stage. She made her Broadway acting debut in 1996 in State Fair. Kathryn received the Shimkin Award from the Russian Ministry of Culture for “her outstanding contribution to Russian Theater” when she acted in The Seagull, The Matchmaker, and The Lion In Winter, all in native dialect. Kathryn has also won recognition for her oil paintings which have been exhibited in leading galleries. Three memoirs chronicle her life: Bing and Other Things (1967), My Life with Bing (1983) and My Last Years with Bing (2002).
Recently, she has starred in Roberta and has portrayed Irving Berlin’s daughter Mary Ellin Barrett in a musical review, The Melody Lingers On. For many years Kathryn has been performing a popular cabaret tribute, My Life with Bing. In 2010, Kathryn returned to the big screen with a role in Henry Jaglom’s Queen of the Lot, which also featured Mary Crosby.
Harry Lillis Crosby III, born August 8, 1958, is the first of Bing’s children with his second wife Kathryn. Born in Hollywood, he showed natural musical tendencies, teaching himself how to play guitar by listening to musicians near his father’s getaway in Baja California. He, along with his two younger siblings and their mother, became part of a holiday tradition, appearing in the annual Christmas television broadcasts with their father. After dabbling in films, he settled on college and is now a successful investment banker, having earned an MBA from Fordham. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children and occasionally accompanies his mother on guitar when she performs her cabaret act.
MARY FRANCES CROSBY
Now known simply as Mary, she was born September 14, 1959. Passing the Level One Red Cross swimming test at age 2, Mary was a precocious child. She graduated from high school at 15 and dropped out of college a year later to work on acting, a love she had since getting her equity card at age 3, accompanying her mother on stage. Her first dramatic role on television was on a 1967 episode of The Danny Thomas Theater in which she appeared alongside her father in the drama, The Demon Under the Bed. Landing a guest role on the popular TV program “Dallas”, she now jokingly refers to herself as “simply the answer to the trivia question: who shot J.R.?” In addition to her family’s appearances on the annual Crosby Christmas television specials, she’s appeared in a number of television programs and films, most recently sharing the screen with her mother, Kathryn, in Queen of the Lot. Mary, her husband, and their two sons live in California.
Born October 29, 1961, Nathaniel Patrick Crosby had the distinction of being the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur golf tournament at age 19, until Tiger Woods came along. Less interested in performing than his two older siblings, Nathaniel bonded with his father over sports, accompanying him to countless baseball and football games when they lived near San Francisco. Graduating from the University of Miami in 1984, he moved from the game of golf to the business of golf, first at Nicklaus Golf, and then as president of Orlimar Golf and Toney Penna Golf. Working now as a consultant, Nathaniel and his second wife have a family of six children and live in Florida.