Bobby Darin

publicity photo of Bobby Darin c. 1959, General Artists Corporation (management), by Bruno of Hollywood/Bruno Bernard

Birth Name: Walden Robert Cassotto

Date of Birth: May 14, 1936

Place of Birth: East Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: December 20, 1973

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

*maternal grandfather – Italian
*maternal grandmother – English, Danish
*biological father – publicly unknown

Bobby Darin was an American singer, musician, and actor. He performed jazz, pop, rock and roll, folk, swing, and country music. His songs included “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Beyond the Sea.” His roles include Pepe, Come September, Captain Newman, M.D., The Happy Ending, and Happy Mother’s Day, Love George.

Bobby’s mother was Vanina Juliette “Nina” Cassotto. She became pregnant with him at the age of eighteen during a summer. Bobby was raised believing that his maternal grandmother was his mother, and that his mother was his sister. Even after the true circumstances of his birth was revealed to him at age 32, she refused to tell Bobby who his biological father was. Bobby’s family moved to the Bronx during his early years.

Bobby had a son with his former wife, actress Sandra Dee; and a son with waitress Lillian Sweet.

Bobby’s maternal grandfather was Saverio Antonio “Sam” Cassotto (the son of Paulo Cassotto and Giovannina “Jennie” Sacchitelli). Saverio was an Italian emigrant, from Basilicata.

Bobby’s maternal grandmother was Vivian Fern “Polly”/”Paula”/”Pauline” Walden (the daughter of Frank Salisbury Walden and Julia/Juliet E. Hanson). Polly was born in Rhode Island, Illinois, or Wisconsin, and was a vaudeville singer. Frank was born in Rhode Island, the son of Job Augustus Walden and Narcissa Lavinia/Lavina Salisbury, and had English ancestry. Julia was born in Wisconsin, to Danish parents, with her father’s name having been Anton Hanson.

Sources: Genealogies of Bobby Darin (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Bobby’s mother on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Bobby’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Bobby’s maternal grandparents, Saverio Antonio “Sam” Cassotto and Vivian Fern “Polly”/”Paula”/”Pauline” Walden –

Bobby’s maternal great-grandparents, Frank Salisbury Walden and Julia/Juliet E. Hanson, on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Death record of Bobby’s maternal great-grandfather, Frank Salisbury Walden –

9 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    Bobby maternal grandfather was from Basilicata, with roots likely in Melfi (a record only says Basilicata though).

  2. andrew says:

    one son with Sandra Dee

  3. follers says:

    I think this book biography seems reliable enough as to Darin’s maternal grandmother’s background.,+Rhode+Island%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjfkPKsprfRAhVF7yYKHWQYDKMQ6AEIFjAA

    The 1920 U.S. Census probably just made an error, as they sometimes did. I can’t really explain “Borrelli”, but it is what it is.

    • madman says:

      Well, it isn’t written by Bobby himself or anyone related to him. And it says that Polly’s parents were of English descent, indicating that the author haven’t done any research at all on Bobby’s great-grandparents since a single look at any census would tell him that Julia’s parents were Danish.

      Frank S. Walden and Julia Hanson may very well have been Bobby’s great-grandparents, but when researching his ancestry I got the impression that the idea of “Vivian Fern Walden (daughter of Frank S. Walden and Julia Hanson)” being Bobby’s paternal grandmother might be based on hearsay, since she is called Pauline or Paula on almost every census together with her daughter and the strange marriage record. It might not mean anything at all, but I hesitated to conclude anything in the profile.

      I also suspect that the 1920 Census is an error, I just included it because of “Borrelli”.

      • follers says:

        Given Darin’s grandparents’ marriage record, the only other possibility is that there was another couple in Wisconsin, this one named Frank Walden and Juliet Borrelli. I don’t think there’s any evidence that they existed.

        • madman says:

          It could also be that Bobby’s great-grandfather Frank was married twice, although no evidence for this exists either. The reason I was doubtful was that it seemed like all genealogies and sites that mentions Bobby’s great-grandparents names had copied each other, since public records showed slightly different names. But I guess it is still reasonable to conclude that these are probably the right great-grandparents.

          By the way, you forgot to add Danish to his ethnicity.

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