BING CROSBY'S LEGACY AS DADDY Dearest goes agonizingly on. Two years ago Lindsay Crosby, the youngest of the four sons born to Bing and his first wife, Dixie Lee Crosby, shot and killed himself. His tragedy was reprised last week when his brother Dennis, 56, died in his Novato, Calif., home, apparently from a self-inflicted shotgun blast.

Friends said Dennis had been increasingly despondent since Lindsay's suicide. Moreover, he had recently broken up with his girlfriend, Meg Muir, and had reportedly begun drinking heavily—though he had been in Alcoholics Anonymous for years.

Dennis, who is survived by a twin brother, Philip, was the quietest of the four boys. Though he suffered at his father's harsh hand—e.g., belt whippings, as amply detailed in eldest brother Gary's 1983 book Going My Own Way—Dennis once said, "I let things roll right off me. I don't stay mad long." But an indifferent show-business career with his brothers, two broken marriages (five children, one illegitimate) and several business failures later, the hurt still lingered. In the end, it was one more refrain in the sad ballad of the boys who could never sing on key for their father.