Something happened this past weekend that was barely a blip on most people's radar. I don't remember hearing mentioned on any of television's news magazines or reports. Perhaps I just missed them. The event was the death of Philip Crosby. He was 69 at his death. Died of natural causes unlike his three brothers. Philip Crosby was the last remaining son of Bing Crosby and his first wife, singer/actress Dixie Lee.
Philip was one of a set of twins. His brother, Dennis, preceded him in death in 1991. Dennis, like his brother Lindsay in 1989, committed suicide. Their older brother, Gary, died of lung cancer in 1995. Philip was the last; the last of four boys raised in a privileged environment.
After the death of their mother in 1952, the four brothers formed a nightclub called the Crosby Boys and began performing in Las Vegas and other hot spots as well as making guest appearances on their father's TV specials. However, there were problems. The four boys engaged in storied drinking events and other rowdy behavior that didn't exactly endear them to their father whose image was taking a pretty good shot from their escapades. Following a drunken free-for-all at Montreal in 1959, Gary left the group to try things on his own. His brothers continued as a trio. That soon faded and the group dissolved in the early 60's.
Philip Crosby kept plugging, doing some recordings that went nowhere and taking some work in small roles in movies provided by a generous acquaintance of His dad, none other than Frank Sinatra. His opportunities dwindled until, in a published interview in 1983, he admitted that he hadn't worked in over a year. His last gig was for an Elks Club party near Los Angeles. All the privilege, all the opportunity, all the benefit; yet, when he died he was drawing a check from a trust fund his mother set up for him.
There was another who did not benefit from the privilege accorded him due to his father. But he did so by choice. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who...emptied Himself of His privileges, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men." Philippians 2:5,7 Christ didn't burst on the scene with a lot of royal fanfare, but rather with great humility. He didn't live His life in a palace, but in a carpenter's home. His place in society ultimately came crashing down around Him and became the source and reason for His death by crucifixion. All because He chose not to pursue His privilege but our salvation.
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