JOLLA, Calif. -- Bob Crosby, the popular swing-era bandleader and younger brother of singer Bing Crosby, died Tuesday of cancer.
The 79-year-old singer led big bands from 1935 to 1942 and started an eight-piece band-within-the-band, the Bob Cats, during that time. He sang but didn't play an instrument.
Mr. Crosby's bands were known for swing and Dixieland sounds, and the Bob Cats' hit records included, "Big Noise That Blew In From Winnetka," "South Rampart Street Parade" and "March of the Bobcats."
"He was active and working right up to a year ago, when he got the cancer," said his son, Kris Crosby.
Mr. Crosby got his start working for Anson Weeks' orchestra. He became a bandleader in 1935 after he was approached by 11 New York musicians who asked him to be their leader. The result of that union was the Bob Crosby Orchestra, which within three years was playing swanky supper clubs and night spots across the country.
Soon after, the Bob Cats were appearing in movies, including "Let's Make Music," "As Thousands Cheer" and "Pardon My Rhythm."