Bobby Darin

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Bobby Darin Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

P&P is not included in the above prices.


Last update: 11/12/16

I am a tremendous admirer of Bobby Darin’s vast repertoire of talent. An accomplished pianist, guitarist (equally adept in the folk medium as well as traditional Spanish flamenco), drummer, record producer, harmonica player, songwriter, superb vocalist and a damn fine actor. Bobby (born Walden Robert Cassotto ; May 14, 1936 – December 20, 1973) had it all, except a strong heart. Sadly, he would be dead by the age of 37.

Perhaps it was his misfortune to be too old for the 60’s baby boomers, and too young to join Sinatra’s Rat Pack. Either way he would have eclipsed many of his competitors.

In 2012, I was reacquainted with a film performance he gave in the early 60’s in a movie called Pressure Point. It had a profound effect on me at the age of 14, and the passage of nearly 40 years had done nothing to dispel the impact of his performance. It was the first time in my life that I became aware that, whilst certain regrettable events in one’s formative years could have significant impact, a number of individuals might be inclined to use those experiences to justify their own future contemptible actions. Put another way, would that person have been pretty much the same unsavoury character without those childhood experiences?

The film co-stars Sidney Poitier who plays the chief psychiatrist at an institution in 1962. A doctor on his staff (Peter Falk in an early cameo and ten years before the Columbo pilot episode) is frustrated with his patient and wants him assigned to another doctor. Poitier then tells his story of having a similar experience 20 years earlier with a Nazi sympathizer (played by Darin).

In the flashback, a new prisoner arrives and is assigned to Poitier, a psychiatrist. Poitier soon discovers the prisoner was arrested for sedition by joining the Nazi party during the war and calling for overthrow of the American government. The prisoner discusses sociopathic behaviors throughout his life with the psychiatrist, each being shown as a flashback first to his childhood where he had an abusive alcoholic father and mother with dependency issues, second to his early adulthood where he leads a gang of young adults terrorizing various locations and then to recently in the prisoners life where he had joined the Nazi party. Throughout the inmates life he displays a lack of emotion for those around them and works to obtain only pleasure for himself through disruptive acts displaying the traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Throughout the series of flashbacks Poitier begins to understand that the inmate is both a danger to society at large and that if he is released that he would go about using his superficial wits and charms for his own ends. Poitier risks his reputation to have the inmate contained because outside of his office the inmate has a reputation as a model prisoner. The psychiatric board of members decide to release him against Poitier’s recommendation since they believe him to have a personal conflict against the inmate due to his beliefs in Nazism. This ends Poitier’s flashback to his doctor and we return to the present.

At this point if you blink you will miss the most damning indictment of Darin’s personality. Falk enquires of Poitier what happened to Darin whereupon we learn that he later beat a man to death for no reason.

I hated Darin’s character in that film, and I hate him to this day. His performance is compelling. In real life we have all known manipulative and dangerous individuals even if murder has not resulted. He is a bigoted individual and I became aware at the age of seven how destructive and devisive such attitudes and views could be. When I lived in Southampton during my first nine years I befriended a negro called Carlos who wore spectacles and was a marvellous footballer. As a result of my friendship with him I took several beatings, and each time I would query why he and I were singled out for such treatment. “But dad” I would say, “it’s not his fault he’s left footed. Why do so many children dislike him ? “It’s not because he’s left footed son” was the reply before a further explanation would ensue. I never saw him after 1968 but I hope he’s well and I pray he has encountered “enlightenment from others” in his life. His parents were lovely people and I was always welcome in his home.

Darin was a Democrat and withdrew from political activism after Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968; he was present in the Ambassador hotel when the shooting occurred.

Recommended listening

Bobby Darin swings (Metro 2002 compilation)

It’s all here if you want a representative sampler of Darin the swinger. He’s equally adept in any tempo from the propulsive “Lover come back to me” to the funeral paced “After you’ve gone.” Death tempos invariably expose limitations in any vocalist, yet Darin shows no fear and rightly so. He can handle it all.

That’s All (Atco 33-104, March 1959)

CD Release: Atlantic 82627, 6/24/1994

“Mack the Knife”, “Beyond the sea” etc. Need I say more?

Two more favourites of mine –

Bobby Darin sings “the shadow of your smile” and “in a Broadway bag”

A ‘two on one’ gem, being essentially a compilation CD of Darin’s ‘The Shadow of Your Smile’ and ‘In A Broadway Bag’ LPs. Bobby wings his way through a selection of standards and show tunes with verve and panache, the upbeat version of ‘Lover Come Back To Me’ kickstarting a hugely enjoyable varied programme.

Proving his credentials as a classic popular vocalist, but also a balladeer cut from Sinatra’s cloth, he swoops and soars on “Try To Remember” and “Once Upon A Time,” holds notes across numerous consecutive bars longer than most pop singers stay on the charts, and revs up forcefully on his stock-in-trade swinging big-band arrangements.

Best of all, Mr Darin wears his heart on his sleeve on the plaintive ‘Rainin,’ an original composition wrought with emotion.

Recommended viewing

Pressure Point (1962)

A black prison psychiatrist faces trouble when he takes on the case of a violent neo-Nazi inmate.

Sidney Poitier is the prison psychiatrist challenged by a disturbed Nazi symphathizer, played by Darin, who creates a bigoted, unappealing onscreen character at a time when he was still a “teen idol” married to Sandra Dee.

It should have brought him an Oscar.

The Bob Hope Show Season 13 Episode 2 (29/11/62)

Darin sings “All of Me,” and engages in a “worldwide satellite” top twenty chart routine with his host.

Another reminder of his “Rat Pack” membership credentials, had he been a mere ten years older.

Captain Newman M.D (1963)

Darin was nominated for Golden Globe and Academy Awards for these two performances. He didn’t win but that doesn’t really mean anything. His peers recognised that he was “up there” with the best.

Mack is back (1973)

One of the earliest Bobby Darin DVDs ever released and still the best, ‘Mack is Back’ showcases the many talents of the great Mr. Darin beautifully. The centerpiece of this disc is essentially a concert; an uncut version of the final episode of Darin’s 1972-73 TV variety series. This would also be the last time Bobby stepped in front of a camera before his passing late in 1973, and so it has a unique resonance.

Beyond the sea (2004)

Film biopic of Darin starring long time admirer Kevin Spacey.

Beyond the Sea opened at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. Although attendees responded enthusistically to Spacey’s work and the film was strongly promoted by the studio, Beyond the Sea received mixed-to-poor reviews upon wide release, and box office results were disappointing.

Personally I found Spacey’s performance spot on and I was particularly impressed with his own vocalising which captured many of the late singer’s mannerisms. But for Jamie Foxx’s superlative performance as Ray Charles in the biopic ‘Ray’ he would have won a Golden Globe Award for best actor.

Recommended reading

Roman candle – The life of Bobby Darin (David Evanier 2005)

It’s a little on the “gushing side” but why not? Bobby knew from an early age that he was unlikely to live past 30 yet he doesn’t appear to have trampled on many throughout his short life. He was also a keen chess player as indeed I was during my formative years so there is an affinity there. My early grasp of chess has enabled me to think several steps ahead of anything currently happening in my personal and professional life. I preferred the traditional game, and so hated championship contests in London involving ‘a move a minute.’ I wasn’t quick enough and viewed the time constraint as stripping the competition of some of its natural appeal. After all, waiting for an opponent to move should be viewed as an opportunity for yet more thinking, rather than an interminable wait. Losing in London in 1970 “brought me up short.” I was school and county champion, and yet I wasn’t really ‘anything’ in the wider scheme of things, and the long coach journey home to Nottingham was a humbling experience. I trust Bobby had more luck in his matches; he was so passionate about the game that he used to devote a section to it in his Tv shows !!!.

Bobby Darin – A life (Michael Seth Starr)

A £2.99 hardback charity shop purchase for me in Oxford and with protective covering to boot! Ex library stock I believe, and in good condition.

Starr’s biography is rich with anecdotal reminiscenses from close friends and relatives like his manager Steve Blauner, Gary Waldon (Bobby’s half brother) and Neil Sedaka. The overall impression is of a man living life to the full (he wasn’t expected to survive past fifteen), and this sense of urgency contrasts poignantly with his temporary withdrawal from show business after RFK’s assassination.

That’s All: Bobby Darin On Record, Stage & Screen, Revised and Expanded Second Edition [Paperback] (Jeff Bleiel)

There are omissions, but this is the most comprehensive review of Darin’s work to date.


The legendary Bobby Darin

An informative website with links.

Youtube – Masses of material available from Darin’s many tv appearances. Picture quality is variable.

The Tonight Show- February 6, 1973 - Johnny Carson/Bobby Darin

The Bobby Darin Show (1973)

Now on DVD, this would be Bobby’s last series.

With a liberal sprinkling of stage makeup, the old Darin toupee, and a still irresistible zest for performing, it is difficult to recall that Bobby would be gone by the year end.

In a magnanimous gesture to his fellow artists, each guest singer would be given two solos and a duet with him. Yes, the comedy skits are rather dated, but Darin would never short change his audience. He’s clearly breathless on “Born Free,” – an oxygen tank was on permanent standby – but compensates for problems beyond his control with a superb version of Don McLean’s “Dreidel” and a bluesy take on Harold Arlen’s “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Certain shows are inexplicably truncated, yet there’s enough material spread over three discs to keep all but the obsessives happy.

An essential purchase, yet currently only available on a US Region 1 import.