Dixie Lee ~ Bing Crosby's Tragic Wife

Dixie Lee

Dixie Lee was an actress and singer who married Bing Crosby and struggled with alcoholism

She was born Wilma Winifred Wyatt on November 4, 1909 in Harriam, Tennessee. Sadly her twelve year old sister Ida died in 1920. Then her family moved to Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from Senn High School she started singing at a local roadhouse. A talent agent discovered her and offered her a job in touring company of Good News. In 1929 she was signed Fox and made her film debut in the short Knight's Out. The beautiful blonde had small roles in numerous films including The Big Party, Cheer Up And Smile, and Night Life In Reno. Dixie was also talented singer and made several records. She married singer Bing Crosby on September 29, 1930. Just six months later she announced they were getting divorced. They reconciled soon after. Dixie gave birth to a son named Gary in 1933. The following year she had twin sons Phillip and Dennis. She decided to give up her career so she be a full-time mother. Her final role was in the 1935 musical Redheads On Parade.

Dixie LeeDixie Lee

By this time she had developed a serious drinking problem. Dixie gave birth to her fourth son, Lindsay, in 1938. Unfortunately her marriage was very tumultuous. Bing had a bad temper and often cheated on her. He asked her for a divorce in January of 1941 but changed his mind. As her alcoholism got worse she and Bing began spending more time apart. During the 1940s he began a serious affair with actress Joan Caulfield. In 1945 Dixie was hospitalized after overdosing on sleeping pills. She and Bing worked together on a 1950 episode of his radio show. Tragically she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer soon after. On November 4, 1952 she died at the young age of forty-two. Dixie was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. The 1947 film Smash Up, The Story Of A Woman was loosely based on her life. Her son Gary later published a book in which he claimed that Bing had physically abused Dixie and his children. Sady two of her sons, Dennis and Lindsay, would commit suicide.

Dixie Lee

Dixie Lee Bing CrosbyDixie Lee Bing Crosby
With her husband Bing Crosby and their children