—“Little Singer with a Big Ego” by Edward Linn, from the May 6, 1961, issue of The Saturday Evening Post
“Darin,” says comedian George Burns, “has the talent and the personal magnetism to become the dominant entertainer of his generation. Nothing can stop him but himself.”
What could stop him, Burns obviously fears, is a built-in arrogance, a poise and self-assurance that seem to challenge the audience. “Bobby walked out on the stage on opening night like he thought he was Al Jolson or, better still, Frank Sinatra,” Burns says. “They’d look at him, and you could see them thinking, ‘This little boy can’t be that good.’ They resented him in the first number and they resented him even more in the second. But a funny thing happens. By the third number he gets older. They forget they don’t like him because they’re too busy watching him.”
Nor does Darin’s arrogance come off with his makeup. When he was first coming to public notice, he gave out interviews in which he said, presumably without blushing, “My ambition is to be a legend by the time I am 25” — an offense against modesty which provoked Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to pin his picture to the wall and use it as a target for a very energetic game of darts.
Even Sammy Davis Jr., a man of infinite warmth, was moved to tell him sourly, “Let me know when you stop being a legend, so we can start being friends again.”
This article is featured in the May/June 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
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