He participated in the farewell gala on March 29, 1936, for Italian soprano Lucrezia Bori, which was broadcast nationally and preserved on transcription discs. From 1928 to 1945, Crooks was the host of "The Voice of Firestone" radio broadcasts, in which he sang operatic arias, patriotic songs, folk songs, and popular hits such as "People Will Say We're in Love" from Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! in 1943. He also appeared on radio broadcasts with Bing Crosby, who remained a friend until Crooks' death. Serious health problems forced Crooks to retire in early 1945. He continued to sing, however, at his church and elsewhere. Some of his performances were taped.
He had married his childhood sweeetheart and spent his later years in the rustic, wooded community of Portola Valley, California, south of San Francisco. An entire room in his house was devoted to framed, autographed photographs of singers, conductors, and U.S. presidents he had known. In conversations, he often praised two of the other great tenors he had heard in person: Enrico Caruso and Jussi Bjoerling.
Like other singers of his generation, he was not impressed with many of the opera singers in the 1950s and 1960s. He was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1960s and battled the disease until his death. After years of singing, Crooks died at the age of seventy-two, leaving his own legacy. For his work in recording, Crooks has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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