Bill Hinsche, a lifelong musician who was part of the ’60s teenybopper trio Dino, Desi & Billy, died Saturday after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 70.
According to his friend, “Lassie” actor Jon Provost, Hinsche died on the same day as his mother, Celia, who was 96.
Born June 29, 1951, in Manila, to the owner of a casino, Hinsche moved with his family to Beverly Hills. There, he met and became fast friends with Desi Arnaz Jr., the son of comedy icons Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and Dean Paul Martin, the son of crooning movie star Dean Martin and Jeanne Biegger.
Active from 1964-1969, Dino, Desi & Billy were staples of teen-entertainment magazines of the era, and found chart success with songs like “I’m a Fool” (#17, 1965) and “Not the Lovin’ Kind” (#25, 1965). Their hits and their pedigree let to opening slots for the Beach Boys, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Mamas & the Papas, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and others.
After the group split, Hinsche went on to work as a backing musician for the Beach Boys.
From 1998-2010, Ricci, Desi & Billy performed and released music, replacing Martin — who died in a plane crash in 1987 — with Martin’s brother Ricci Martin, who died in 2016.