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Thursday, 14 May 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #27 – 14 May 1936

Walden Robert Cassotto was born on 14 May, 1936 in East Harlem, New York.  We know him better as Bobby Darin.  He was a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and actor.

He was raised by his grandmother, Polly, but he was under the impression that she was his mother.  His birth mother, Nina, pretended to be Darin’s sister.  It was a cover-up because Nina had given birth when she was seventeen.  Once the truth was revealed in later years, Bobby Darin had difficulty understanding it all and accepting it.

In his teenage years, he learned to play piano, guitar, drums, xylophone and harmonica.  He made it to the hit factory known as the Brill Building and wrote songs for Connie Francis, amongst others.

In 1958, he co-wrote and recorded Splish Splash which became a million seller.  A year later, out came Dream Lover, and Bobby Darin was well and truly launched as a pop star.  His version of Mack the Knife(see link below for the coolest performance ever), went to number one for nine weeks, sold over two million copies and won a Grammy for record of the year.  By now, he was financially secure, able to branch out into different musical genres, management, movies and television.

His greatest acting triumph was in the film Come September (1961), starring with Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida and Sandra Dee.  He won a Golden Globe for most promising newcomer.

After major heart surgery, Bobby Darin died at 37 on 20 December, 1973.

Here’s the link to Mack the Knife:

Bobby Darin

Sources: Various

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