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Walden Robert Cassotto, nicknamed "Bobby" was born in The Bronx,
New York in 1936. Severe rheumatic fever as a child scarred his
heart and led to an over-protected and pampered childhood. He was
the focal point of a family who fostered and encouraged his love of
music. His music career started out with writing songs and taking
demos around to different music producers. In 1958 he performed the
song "Splish, Splash" on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. It was a
huge hit and eventually would sell over one million copies. The
next year was a big one - he won two Grammy, Best Record for "Mack
the Knife" and Best New Artist. "Mack the Knife" stayed in the top
ten for 52 weeks, nine of those at number one. This was Bobby's
fourth gold record. His next goal was to make a movie, and that
opportunity came in 1960 with the film "Come September" for which
he also wrote the title song. The movie was filmed in Rome and
that's where he met Sandra Dee. She was sixteen years old and at
the top of her career. They were engaged two months after they met
and their son Dodd was born a year later. Bobby continued to
perform in nightclubs and make movies. In 1964 he was nominated for
an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the movie "Captain
Newman, M.D.". Despite very fine reviews, he lost the oscar to
Melvyn Douglas. In 1967 Bobby asked for and was granted a divorce.
Sandra was quoted as saying "He just woke up one morning and didn't
want to be married anymore". More realistically, their careers had
kept them apart more often than not, and they had struggled with
the marriage practically from the beginning. He went in for heart
surgery in 1971 and from that point on he had bouts of ill health.
After his recovery he continued to do nightclub acts and the next
year he did a popular summer variety show called "The Bobby Darin
Amusement Company". The last year of his life was spent dealing
with health problems related to his heart, yet he continued to work
when he could. He died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles on
December 20, l973 following open heart surgery.
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