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Bobby Darin - Biography
A versatile and charismatic talent, Bobby Darin blazed a remarkable trail across the fields of popular music, nightclub performance, film and television. His swinging, savvy approach to adult pop and standards won him comparisons to Frank Sinatra, and many considered him second only to Sammy Davis Jr. as a nightclub performer. During his 14-year career, he recorded in a range of musical genres, including rock & roll, R&B, folk and country as well as adult pop. He had twenty-two Billboard Top 40 hits, including nine Top 10 singles. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto on May 14, 1936 and grew up in the Bronx. As a child, he experienced severe bouts of rheumatic fever, which resulted in a damaged heart and chronic health problems throughout his life. 

He developed an appetite for performing as a child, and started a band while still in high school. He was a largely self-taught musician, and played drums, piano and guitar. He dropped out of college to pursue a performing career, and adopted the name Bobby Darin. In 1956 he was signed to Decca Records, but none of his records there were successful. Darin was championed by his occasional songwriting partner Don Kirshner, and in 1957 was signed to Atco Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic. The following year, he became a national sensation with his song "Splish Splash,” which he reportedly wrote in 20 minutes. Produced by Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, "Splish Splash” sold 100,000 copies in just three weeks. Follow up hits, including "Queen of the Hop” and "Dream Lover,” cemented Darin's teen-idol status, as did appearances on such television shows as "The Ed Sullivan Show” and "American Bandstand.” 

Darin began tampering with audience, label and critical expectations early in his career, forgoing rock & roll for standards on his second LP, 1959's "That's All.” The gamble paid off handsomely; Darin's now-classic version of "Mack the Knife” (from Brecht-Weill's "The Threepenny Opera”) spent nine weeks as Billboard's #1 single. Capping off Darin's success were two Grammy Awards, for Best New Artist of 1959 and Record of the Year for "Mack the Knife.” By his early 20s, he was top nightclub act in Las Vegas and had headlined New York's fabled Copacabana.

Darin, who had studied theatre during his brief tenure at college, moved to Hollywood in 1960 and began an acting career. His first major role was in the romantic comedy COME SEPTEMBER, which introduced him to his future wife, Sandra Dee; the couple was married in December 1960. Darin's other films include John Cassavetes' TOO LATE BLUES, Don Siegel's HELL IS FOR HEROES, and Hubert Cornfeld's PRESSURE POINT with Sidney Poitier. In 1964, he was nominated for an Academy Award® and a Golden Globe Award for his performance in CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D., with Gregory Peck and Tony Curtis. 

Throughout the 1960s, Darin tackled different genres of music. Notable recordings include "Bobby Darin Sings Ray Charles,” which earned him a Grammy nomination for his hit version of "What'd I Say”; and "Two of a Kind,” an acclaimed collaboration with the great singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer. In 1966 he had a Top 10 hit with his version of Tim Hardin folk song "If I Were a Carpenter.” 

Darin had appeared on many television shows throughout his career, and in the summer of 1972 he hosted a variety series on NBC. A full season of the program was planned when Darin became sick. Darin died during heart surgery on December 20, 1973.


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