Bobby Darin was one of the most popular teen idols of the 1950's.
A new feature film is set to be released starring Kevin Spacey as the Bronx born musician. I haven't seen it yet, but it should be amazing, simply because Bobby Darin's life was as fascinating and bizarre as any in show business history.
Robert Walden Cassotto was born May 14, 1936, but with a name Robert Walden Cassotto you wouldn't sell many records. Unless you work at the Virgin Mega Store, but that's really not the same thing.
Bobby is said to have chosen Darin because he saw a Chinese Restaurant with the word 'Mandarin' in neon letters. The letters 'M-A-N' were all burned out so the sign just said 'darin.'
I wish the sign had said 'Manslaughter'. Then his name would be Bobby Slaughter.
But, I would have avoided THAT Chinese Restaurant.
Bobby was a sickly child, with a serious heart condition. As a youth, he overheard doctors saying he would not live to be 16. This news emboldened Darin who worked very hard at his goal of becoming a superstar.
Eventually he climbed the ladder of the music industry with such diverse hits as 'Splish Splash' and 'Mack the Knife.'
Bobby was a brash and outspoken entertainer saying on one occasion that he wanted to be "bigger than Sinatra."
This goal was accomplished early as Darin easily eclipsed the 5' 8" Sinatra in both height and weight. Later proclamations that he would be bigger than 'that tall guy that plays Lurch' was never fulfilled.
After becoming a standout musician Darin turned to the movie screen. Darin made several movies, beginning Come September in 1960. His leading lady Sandra Dee later became his wife. Darin was a fine actor receiving an Oscar nomination for his work in the 1963 film Capt. Newman M.D.
In 1967 Sandra Dee and Darin divorced. It is said that the divorce came because Darin was upset that Dee stole his 'stage name story' and told people she named herself after a Mandees clothing store with bunch of broken lights. Then she would laugh like Vincent Price.
Bobby was very into politics at the time, working hard for Robert Kennedy. After Kennedy was shot, Bobby felt so moved he gave up all of his worldly goods and purchased a mobile home in California.
In 1968, Darin discovered his was actually his GRANDMOTHER and his sister was really his mother.
His birth mother had him out of wedlock and the family decided the 'lie' would keep shame from the family.
The family also decided to pretend that their parlor was really a living room.
These two lies haunted Darin for the rest of his life.
Speaking of life, at this point, Darin had long ago surpassed his 16 year death sentence, but was still dealing with a bad heart.
During the latter stages of his career, Bobby starred in a few low budget films, had put out several albums of very different musical styles and married Andrea Joy Yeager in June 1972.
The next year Bobby died during a heart condition. As part of his will, there was no funeral and his body was donated to the UCLA Medical Center for research purposes.
The new Bobby Darin film is called 'Beyond the Sea' and was written and directed by star Kevin Spacey. Kevin is 45 years old, Bobby died at age 37. Lurch became a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. In 2004 ran an unsuccessful presidential campaign against President George Bush.