Lindsay Crosby, the youngest son of Bing Crosby from the famed crooner's first marriage, shot himself to death in a Las Virgenes apartment after learning that the inheritance he relied on to support his family was gone, a family spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Just 11 days earlier, Crosby and his three brothers had been told by attorneys that the oil investments their late mother, Wilma Wyatt, made for them had gone broke, said Marilyn Reiss, spokeswoman for Lindsay's older brother, Gary.
For Lindsay, the news was the "last straw" after years of battling alcoholism, depression and the strain of living under the shadow of his famous father, Reiss said.
"Maybe if he had been a meaner person, he could have handled it," Reiss reported Gary Crosby saying after learning of his brother's death. "He was too sensitive."
Crosby, 51, was found dead late Monday afternoon from a single gunshot wound to his head. A small-caliber rifle was nearby.
Crosby had been staying at the apartment on Bravo Lane while undergoing treatment for alcoholism in nearby Calabasas, Reiss said. He was due to return home to his third wife, Susan, and two sons in Sherman Oaks this weekend, she said. Crosby had two other sons by previous marriages.
Alcoholism was only one of many problems that seemed to dog Lindsay, Reiss said. He had a nervous breakdown in 1962, went through two divorces and was arrested several times for drunk driving and battery.
He never held a steady job, and his own attempts at an entertainment career, including appearances in such low-budget films as "The Glory Stompers," and "Free Grass," were dismal failures.
In 1983, Lindsay sided with his brother, Gary, who had written a book, "Going My Own Way," in which he described Bing Crosby as an abusive tyrant who beat his sons.
"I hope it clears up a lot of old lies," Lindsay said at the time.
Bing Crosby married actress Kathryn Grant in 1957 and raised a second family. At his death in 1977 at age 73, he left his money in a blind trust, which none of the sons--whose youthful escapades were well documented by the news media--could touch until age 65.
Phillip Crosby, another of the Crosby brothers, said in a magazine interview six years ago: "My father thought, 'How much trouble will they be able to get into then?' "
Reiss said the recent glut in the oil markets wreaked havoc on Wyatt's investments. Gary Crosby told Reiss that the four brothers, who also include Dennis, Phillip's twin, were shocked.
But he said for himself: "My life is one shock after another. I'll find a job as a backup singer, or a gofer on a studio lot."
No one knew the depth of Lindsay 's despair--except now, in retrospect, Reiss said.