Frankie Laine: One of My Heroes

Recently, I have been thinking about those individuals who step up and lead the way for the benefit of others. I refer to them as heroes.

The recent deadly violence that frightens us all has only been tempered by the heroes among us. These people risk their lives to help complete strangers during life-threatening public attacks. They are true heroes. These particular heroes may be normal everyday citizens, or brave and skilled police officers and medical personnel.

We all have our heroes. These persons carry the torches that light our way. They are out there in every field of endeavor. They don’t necessarily have to save lives or help the injured to be considered heroes, but they do possess the skills to make lives better.

I have always kept a host of heroes in my heart. Frankie Laine was one of my earliest heroes. I loved his expressive singing. His melodic and profound delivery of each and every song he sang resonated. For the first time in my life, I was able to connect with an artist in a special way. His music made me happy. As a young teenager, there were times that I really needed to be happy. I couldn’t think of Frankie as being anything else but my hero!

I thought I would share this brief chapter from the beginning portion of my book, Reaching for a Star, published in 2005.  The book details my association throughout the years with Frankie Laine. Since Frankie was a hero of mine, I thought I would dedicate this part of my book to all heroes.


Here are a few words about heroes. Everyone needs at least one. Heroes come in all genders, shapes, sizes, and colors. They don’t have prerequisites. They could be paupers or kings, common or majestic, working-class family members or celebrities, dead or alive. We all need them. Heroes inspire us and make us feel good that we’re living and part of this planet. Heroes may cause us to feel philosophical—to look at the world in a different way—a special way. Think of heroes as the truest of admired souls. We may choose to emulate our heroes. There’s nothing wrong with pretending to be similar to the one(s) admired. Living vicariously through our heroes may very well help us in times of fear, anger, or sorrow.

I have many heroes. It’s my hope that everyone will supply themselves with one or more heroes. Some of my heroes are friends. Quite a few are celebrities. Frankie Laine and Jerry Lewis are two of my celebrity heroes. A few of the celebrities included on my list are no longer living: George Burns, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Frederick Faust, Billie Holiday, Gene Krupa, John Lennon, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, and John Steinbeck. They all now belong to the ages. My heroes are important to me. These individuals are an influential part of who I am.

I want to dedicate the following words to all heroes still among us: I wish you the best. You’re special! May you always be kind to those who respect you and love your work. May you always treasure anyone looking to you as mentors. And may you always realize your lives have been blessed because—at the very least—someone out there looks up to you.



About the Author:

Craig Cronbaugh, Director of the Legislative Information Office with the Legislative Services Agency at the Iowa State Capitol. As famed singer Frankie Laine’s special friend and a collector of Laine’s recordings and career memorabilia, Craig has written articles; has written, produced, directed, and hosted a distinctive radio program; and has appeared on Iowa statewide television regarding his Frankie Laine avocation. Craig has been highlighted briefly and has been given a research screen credit in the 2003 internationally distributed documentary Frankie Laine: An American Dreamer. Craig’s book, a memoir, Reaching for a Star, featuring his friendship with Laine, was published in 2005.