JUNE 11, 1982


Born on December 20, 1907 in Tekoa, Washington, his mother, Josephine, was an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.  He and his siblings grew up on the Coeur d’Alene Indian reservation near DeSmet, Idaho.  A musical family, the father played fiddle and called square dances, and the mother played piano every evening after supper.  Rinker began his musical career as a teen performing with Bing Crosby in the early 1920s in Spokane, Washington.  In 1925, the pair moved on to Los Angeles, eventually forming the Rhythm Boys trio.  The singing group worked with Paul Whiteman’s Big Band for three years.  They then went out on their own for a year until Crosby decided to go solo.  Al’s younger brother Charles Rinker became a lyricist.  Their older sister Mildred, under her married name of Mildred Bailey, had embarked earlier on a musical career and, for a time, was known as “Mrs. Swing.”  Al died on June 11, 1982, in Burbank, California.

Source:  “Spotlight on Al Rinker,” The Bing Crosby News Archive, 5/25/2019.  Retrieved 5/14/2020, http://bingfan03.blogspot.com/2019/05/spotlight-on-al-rinker.html
Photo:  Gladys Hall, 6/1/1930.  Public Domain.  Source: https://archive.org/stream/motionpicture39moti#page/n539/mode/2up

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