Kathryn’s staying in the guest house of the Hopes’ Toluca Lake compound as she readies her nitery act at the Friars of Beverly Hills, April 7, 14 and 21.
Dolores (97) is producing the act and Kathryn reminds me that Dolores was a supper act star when she was 17-years-old. “I asked her to help me,” Kathryn said. Also, Kathryn’s daughter, Mary, is directing the act. Kathryn (72) has two other children, Harry and Nathaniel — in their 40s — and has nine grandchildren.
She played at Feinstein’s last year, plus a stand in a musical play, “The Melody Lingers On” at the El Portal Theater in the San Fernando Valley. And she hopes to continue with the play when internal problems are worked out. She now has her own nitery act.
Why is Kathryn working so hard? She is, after all, the widow of one of the most successful singers of all time, Bing Crosby. She has a ranch in Genoa, Nevada, where, she says, 13,500 homes could be built. Also a home in Hillsborough, Calif., where she manages her businesses.
“I’ve always worked,” she says, reminding me we first met when she was a reporter, fresh out of Texas and seeking her fame and fortune in Hollywood. She got ’em. She married Bing despite the 30-year age difference.
Bing’s four sons by his first marriage (Gary, Philip, Dennis and Lindsay) have since died. She has written two books about her life with Bing. Maybe a next one will be about her life after Bing.
Meanwhile her act will certainly bring back memories. She’ll sing songs including these Bing Crosby evergreens, “Pennies From Heaven,” “Swingin’ On a Star,” “True Love,” “Accentuate the Positive,” “Moonlight Becomes You,” and she’ll show a film clip of Bing in “Don’t Fence Me In.”
She said an item I printed in my column in the ’50s during a separation brought them back together. She now asks me, “Will you come to see me on my 90th?” Sure.