What do you remember about Bobby Darin and Beyond the Sea?

By: Julie Medina
Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Bobby Darin’s career started with Splish Splash and ended too soon with The Simple Song of Freedom. Learn more about the legend and this biopic movie.

What teen idol song got Bobby Darin on the charts?

In the movie and in real life Bobby Darin enjoyed teen idol success with "Splish Splash". Although the lyrics are simple and silly, Bobby Darin wasn’t. According to Jay Tell, who published The Las Vegas Free Press and was a business partner of Darin’s. “Few knew it, but Bobby was also an authentic genius, a Mensa member, with an IQ of 137, in the top 2 percent.”

Who portrays Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea?

Kevin Spacey stars in Beyond the Sea as Bobby Darin. In 1987, Bruce Willis was set to play Bobby Darin.

Not only does Kevin Spacey star in the movie, what else does he do?

Kevin Spacey portrays Bobby Darin, who rises from his lower class roots to become one of the most popular rock and roll and big band performers of all time. Not only does Spacey co-write, co-produce and direct the movie, he acts, sings and dances in the movies. He uses his own voice, no dubbing, for the singing and it sounds uncannily like Bobby Darin himself.

Who does Bobby Darin marry?

Kate Bosworth as Sandra Dee, is the popular actress who marries Bobby. Sandra Dee was best known for her portrayal of ingenues, Dee earned a Golden Globe Award as one of the year's most promising newcomers for her performance in Robert Wise's Until They Sail (1958). She became a teenage star for her subsequent performances in Imitation of Life and Gidget (both 1959), which made her a household name. Although they divorced in 1967, Sandra said she has always truly and deeply loved him, and that she always will, and thus never remarried.

Bob Hoskins plays a father figure to Bobby, what is his character’s name?

Bob Hoskins portrays Charlie Maffia, who serves as a father figure and considers Bobby to be his son. Bob Hoskins work included lead roles in The Long Good Friday (1980), Mona Lisa (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mermaids (1990), and Super Mario Bros. (1993), and supporting performances in Brazil (1985), Hook (1991), Nixon (1995), Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), A Christmas Carol (2009), Made in Dagenham (2010), and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). He also directed two feature films.

Who was called “Boom Boom” in the movie?

John Goodman portrays Stephen Blauner, or “Boom Boom”, Bobby's dedicated talent manager. Bobby is the happiest with Blauner when he books Bobby at the Copacabana. That’s where his mother (grandmother) told him he would sing and be bigger than Frank Sinatra. And he was! According to the movie, Blauner in real life becomes a successful film producer with movies such as The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) and Drive, He Said (1971).

David Gershenson is always reminding him about his appointments and when press is present, what is David’s job?

Matt Rippy portrays David Gershenson, Bobby's publicist. Matt Rippy is best known for his role as the 'real' Captain Jack Harkness in Torchwood in 2006. He also appears in the films Day of the Dead and Boogeyman 3. In 2008, Rippy appeared in The Dark Knight and in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Peter Cincotti plays Dick Behrke. What does he do for Bobby?

Peter Cincotti portrays Dick Behrke, Bobby's arranger and pianist. Did you know Peter Cincotti is the real deal? It wasn’t a stretch to play the part. In 2003, Cincotti's debut album, produced by Phil Ramone, reached No. 1 on the Billboard jazz charts, making Cincotti the youngest artist ever to do so. This led to performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, Paris' L'Olympia, The Montreux Jazz Festival (where he won an award in their renowned piano competition), London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, and many other venues around the world.

What was the secret that was revealed to Bobby when he was 33 years old?

In the late 1960s, Darin becomes involved in the campaign to elect Robert F. Kennedy for President and contemplates a political career of his own. His sister Nina, knowing his past will be investigated closely if Bobby opts to enter the political arena, shocks him with the news his beloved mother was actually his grandmother and he is Nina's illegitimate child, the son of a father she cannot identify. Devasted, Darin becomes a recluse living in a trailer on the Big Sur coast in California.

What famous protest song was created during his reclusive living?

A Simple Song of Freedom was written by Bobby Darin during that time. In 1966 he had success with a version of Tim Hardin’s song, “If I Were a Carpenter.” He also wrote a song for Hardin — “A Simple Song of Freedom”– which became a hit for Hardin. And Darin’s version of “Carpenter” also became a Top Ten hit in 1966.

Who taught Bobby everything he knew about music and being a performer?

Polly, Bobby’s biological grandmother, who he thought was his mother at the time, taught him the art of music as a child. Polly Cassotto was portrayed by Brenda Biethyn. It probably wasn’t much of a stretch for her to play a retired theater star as English actress Brenda Blethyn has worked in theater, television and film. She is best known for her role in Mike Leigh's 1996 drama Secrets & Lies, and, from 2011, for the title role in the TV detective series Vera. Blethyn has received two Academy Award nominations, two SAG Award nominations, two Emmy Award nominations and three Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one.

How long did Darin’s doctor tell his mother that Bobby had to live?

The Doctor told his mother that "the boy will not live to see his 16th birthday." In the somewhat fictionalized accounts of events in Darin's life, the Beyond the Sea movie chronicles Darin’s determination to rise from his working class roots as Walden Robert Cassotto, a frail Bronx boy plagued by multiple bouts of rheumatic fever, and become a singer more famous than Frank Sinatra. A quote from Bobby Darin reveals his enthusiasm for life, “It’s a one-time shot, this life, and you don’t get any second chances.”

What was the next big hit recorded after Splish Splash that would expand his appeal from teens to big band audiences?

After Splish Splash, not wanting to limit his appeal to rock and roll audiences, he changed his niche to big band singing and recording major hits, such as "Mack the Knife." Beginning in October 2000, Spacey took vocal training lessons from Darin collaborator Roger Kellaway to give an accurate portrayal of the singer. Steve Blauner (who is portrayed by John Goodman in the film) also served as a historical consultant. Dodd originally considered Spacey's plan to sing his father's material a sacrilege, but eventually fell into sync with Spacey's deeply empathetic approach to Darin's life.

What happens when Darin is cast in Come September opposite Sandra Dee?

To capitalize on his popularity with teenage and young adult audiences, Darin is cast in Come September opposite Sandra Dee. In the movie, Darin falls in love with the eighteen-year-old actress and, determined to marry her, he romantically seduces and enchants her with songs like "Beyond the Sea" and "Dream Lover." In the early development of the movie, writer Lewis Colick developed a script (which had rewrites from Paul Attanasio and Paul Schrader). Their version of the scripts concentrated on Sandra Dee's alcoholism and childhood molestation by her stepfather.

What does Bobby and Sandra do that angers Sandra’s mother?

The two elope, angering her mother. Greta Scacchi portrays Mary Douvan, Sandra's overprotective mother. Greta Scacchi is an Italian-Australian actor known for her roles in the films White Mischief, Presumed Innocent, The Player and Looking for Alibrandi. She won an Emmy Award in 1996 for her portrayal of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia in the television film, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.

What happens when Darin portrays a shell-shocked soldier in Captain Newman, M.D.?

To his actress wife's chagrin, Darin is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a shell shocked soldier in Captain Newman, M.D.. Although he doesn’t win the Academy Award, he is becoming a super star. Did you know that Tom Cruise was considered to play Bobby Darin, but Cruise rejected the script?

What is the name of Bobby and Sandra’s son?

As success takes Bobby on the road and away from home, Dee begins to drink heavily, and the couple fights frequently. Eventually they separate, then reconcile. She then gives birth to a son, Dodd. Sandra Dee passed away from kidney failure less than two months after this film was released. According to Dodd Darin, he noted "My mother [who never remarried after her split from Darin] was speechless for a while after she saw it. It was emotional for her. There was a lot of truth and grit. But she couldn't be happier."

Who does Bobby Darin interact with throughout the film to tell his story?

Rather than providing a straightforward biography, the film weaves fantasy sequences with scenes containing somewhat fictionalized accounts of events in Darin's life, and throughout it, the adult singer interacts with his younger self. William Ullrich portrays the young Bobby. William Ullrich is known for his roles in Beyond the Sea (2004), Blue's Clues (1996) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999).

Which of these songs did Bobby Darin make popular during his rise to fame?

Reaching the top ten on the Billboard Charts were these songs: Mack the Knife, Splish Splash, Things, Dream Lover, Beyond the Sea and so many more. As research for his role of pop crooner Bobby Darin, Kevin Spacey attended several of Michael Bublé's performances.

Why does Bobby have heart surgery?

Due to a childhood illness, rheumatic fever, Bobby Darin went in for heart surgery in 1971 to help restore his weak heart. Although he said he could finally breathe, from that point on he had bouts of ill health. He would have to fortify himself with oxygen backstage in between songs during performances.

What does Darin do when The Copacabana nightclub owner refuses to hire the African American comedian that Darin wanted to have for his opening act?

When the club's owner refused to hire the African American comedian that Darin wanted to have for his opening act, Darin retaliated by threatening a sit-in outside the club in protest. The club owner gave in to Darin’s demand. Bobby Darin was also present at the 1963 civil rights march on Washington. Later, Darin would get involved in Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign and was at Ambassador Hotel when Kennedy was assassinated.

Who says this, “Hey, tell me something. Who's this guy Yom Kippur they got booked on Friday?”

Charlie doesn’t know that the Jewish Holiday Yom Kipper that was “booked” just meant the restaurant would be closed. Yom Kipper is the most solemn religious fast of the Jewish year, the last of the ten days of penitence that begin with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).

Who said this? “You can never go wrong with the truth.”

Polly said this to Bobby multiple times. "I think the movie is about mothers and sons," Spacey said, referring to Darin's relationship with his mother Polly and sister Nina. Spacey's mother, Kathleen Fowler, died of brain cancer just before production started. "I made the movie for all mothers, but especially for my mother. She introduced me to Bobby Darin. When she got very ill in 2002, I stopped everything and took care of her. We constantly played Bobby Darin records, and I'd let her listen to the tracks I was recording. I'm glad she passed knowing this was the movie I was going to make.

What did this foreshadow? Bobby says playfully to Mary Duvan: "How is it you are Sandy's mother and not her sister?"

Bobby says playfully to Mary Duvan: "How is it you are Sandy's mother and not her sister?" This foreshadows what Bobby later learns about his own family. Which is that his sister is actually his biological mother. This news devastates Bobby and he goes off alone camping to find himself.

Bobby's mother's belief in him sent him soaring. Besides singing and dancing what did his mother (grandmother) teach him?

The movie shows how he first learned to play the piano. By the time he was a teenager, Darin could play several instruments, including piano, drums, and guitar. He later added harmonica and xylophone.

The movie showed that Darin wore a toupee, was that true?

Most female fans would agree that Darin oozed enormous sex appeal, despite the fact that offstage he was a bit insecure about his height and hair loss (he began wearing a small hairpiece early is his career and you can't even tell.)

Who said this? “I am laying down this sword between us. That's my side of the bed, and that's yours, and I will never cross over. Ever. I don't care if we don't touch for a thousand nights. Only you can cross over to my side. Only you.”

Bobby is telling Sandra who is afraid to share his bed about the sword. Although he seemed so devoted to Sandra, in "Dream Lovers" his son wrote that his dad would often disappear and go off on benders for days at a time--not to drink and take drugs, but to enjoy sexual escapades with women.

Who said this? [interrupting a tender moment] “Bobby! Whoa, sorry. But I was right about the war picture. Get your speech ready 'cause as soon as this tour is over, you're going to the Oscars, pal. You just got nominated.”

Steve “Boom Boom” Blauner, his manager, said it while interrupting Sandra and Bobby in their bedroom. Besides being nominated for an Academy Award for acting and all his awards for singing, Bobby even had a variety show. Like so many other singers of 1970s, Darin hosted his own variety show, The Bobby Darin Amusement Company, which premiered on NBC in July of 1972. The show was a replacement for The Dean Martin Show.

Who said this? “Memories are like moonbeams, we do with them what we will.”

Bobby Darin uses that line as a rationale to tell his story the way he wants to – part fiction, part fantasy. Did you know that when the film was being planned by Paramount, executives thought that Kevin Spacey was too old to portray Bobby Darin, who died at 37, and wanted Leonardo DiCaprio instead. The lead was offered to Leonardo DiCaprio who chose to do The Beach (2000) instead.

Who says this, “Charlie, you always make sure the mama dog likes you before you go near her puppy.”

Darin knew what he wanted when he saw Sandra Dee and went about getting it. He flattered Sandra’s mother with yellow roses, so she would let Bobby near Sandra. Bobby was not only clever and talented he was fun to be around. Did you know he was a master imitator of other celebrities? He could impersonate Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, W.C. Fields and others.

What age did Bobby Darin die?

Suffering from blood poisoning following surgery to repair his mechanical heart valve, Darin is rushed to the hospital, where he dies at the age of thirty-seven. Kevin Spacey was 44 years old when he made this movie, an age the real Bobby Darin never reached.

After Darin dies, what song does he and his younger self sing?

Following his death, he meets the younger counterpart of himself once again, and the two duet with "As Long As I'm Singing." Did you know the movie took 17 years to be realized during which time six A-List writers and 20 producers were involved at one point or another?

How was the film received?

Beyond the Sea was released in December 2004 to mixed reviews from critics and bombed at the box office. Dodd Darin, Sandra Dee and former Darin manager Steve Blauner responded with enthusiastic feedback to Spacey's work on the film. Despite a number of negative reviews, some critics praised Spacey's performance, largely due to his decision to use his own singing voice. He received a Golden Globe nomination.

Besides being nominated for an Academy Award for his acting, what other acting awards did he receive?

Bobby Darin won the Golden Globe for the Most Promising Newcomer – Male- for Come September. He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Captain Newman, M.D. and for Best Actor- Drama- for Pressure Point. Although he was nominated for two Laurel Awards, he did not win. But he did win a Star on the Walk for Fame awarded posthumously.

Which of these Grammy Awards did Bobby Darin win?

Bobby Darin won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1959 for Mack The Knife. That same year he won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. In 1999 he won entrance into the Grammy Hall of Fame for Mack the Knife, and he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

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