Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra
(December 12, 1915
– May 14, 1998) was an American singer
Beginning his musical career in the swing
with Harry James
and Tommy Dorsey
, Sinatra became a successful solo
artist in the early to mid-1940s, being the idol of the "bobby soxers
." His professional career had
stalled by the 1950s, but it was reborn in 1954 after he won the
for Best Supporting Actor
Records and released several critically lauded albums (such
as In the Wee Small
Hours, Songs for
Swingin' Lovers, Come Fly with Me, Only the Lonely
and Nice 'n' Easy).
Sinatra left Capitol to found his own record label, Reprise Records
(finding success with albums
such as Ring-A-Ding-Ding
Sinatra at the Sands
and Francis Albert
Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim
internationally, was a founding member of the Rat Pack
and fraternized with celebrities and
presidents, including President John F. Kennedy
. Sinatra turned 50 in 1965,
recorded the retrospective September of My Years
, starred in
-winning television special
Frank Sinatra: A
Man and His Music
, and scored hits with "Strangers in the Night
" and "My Way
Sinatra attempted to weather the changing tastes in popular music,
but with sales of his music dwindling, and after appearing in
several poorly received films, he retired in 1971. Coming out of
retirement in 1973, he recorded several albums; scored a Top 40 hit
with " New York, New
" in 1980; and toured both within the United States and
internationally until a few years before his death in 1998.
Sinatra also forged a career as a dramatic actor, winning the
for Best Supporting Actor
for his performance in From Here to Eternity
, and he was
nominated for the Academy
Award for Best Actor
for The Man with the Golden
. He also starred in such musicals as High Society
, Pal Joey
, Guys and Dolls
and On the Town
. Sinatra was honored at
the Kennedy Center Honors
1983 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
by Ronald Reagan
in 1985 and the
Congressional Gold Medal
1997. Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards
, including the Grammy Trustees Award
, Grammy Legend Award
and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement
was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the only child of Italian/Sicilian
immigrants Natalie Della (née Garaventa) and Antonio Martino Sinatra.
left high school without graduating, having attended only 47 days
before being expelled due to his rowdy conduct. His mother, known
as Dolly, was influential in the neighborhood and in local Democratic Party
but also ran an illegal abortion
from her home; she was arrested several times and convicted twice
for this offense. Frank, himself, was arrested for carrying on with
a married woman, an illegal offense at the time. Frank's father
Tony served with the Hoboken Fire Department. During the tough
years of the 1930s, when the Great
hit North America very hard, Dolly nevertheless
provided ready pocket money to her son Frank, the family's only
child, for outings with friends and fancy clothes. Frank then
worked for some time as a delivery boy at the Jersey
newspaper, and as a riveter at the Tietjan and Lang
shipyard. It was in the early 1930s that Sinatra began singing in
1935–40: Start of career, work with James and Dorsey
Sinatra's first cousin, Ray Sinatra, had an orchestra and his own
network radio program ("Cycling the Kilocycles") in the mid-1930s,
but Ray and Frank did not work together.
Instead, he got his first break in 1935 when his mother persuaded a
local singing group, The
, to let him join. With Sinatra, the group became
known as the Hoboken Four, and they sufficiently impressed Edward Bowes
. After appearing on his show,
Major Bowes Amateur
, they attracted 40,000 votes and won the first prize
— a six month contract to perform on stage and radio across the
Sinatra left the Hoboken 4 and returned home in late 1935.
secured him a job as a singing waiter and MC at the Rustic Cabin in Englewood
Cliffs, New Jersey, for which he was paid $15 a week.
On March 18, 1939, Sinatra made a demo
of a song called "Our Love", with the Frank Mane
band. In June, Harry James
on a one year contract of $75 a week. It was with the James band
that Sinatra released his first commercial record "From the Bottom
of My Heart" in July, 1939 - US Brunswick #8443 and UK Columbia
Fewer than 8,000 copies of "From the Bottom of My Heart" (Brunswick
#8443) were sold, making the record a very rare find that is sought
after by both Sinatra and record collectors worldwide. Sinatra
released ten commercial tracks with James through 1939, including
"All or Nothing At All" which had weak sales on its initial release
but then sold millions of copies when re-released by Columbia at
the height of Sinatra's popularity a few years later.
In November 1939, in a meeting at the Palmer House in Chicago, IL,
Sinatra was asked by bandleader Tommy
to join his band as a replacement for Jack Leonard who
had recently left to launch a solo career. This meeting represented
a turning point in Sinatra's career since by signing with Dorsey's
band, one of the hottest bands at the time, he would achieve
incredible visibility with the American public. Though Sinatra was
still under contract with James, James recognized the opportunity
Dorsey offered to Sinatra and graciously released him from his
contract. Sinatra remained indebted to James throughout his life
and upon hearing of James' death in 1983, stated: "he [James] is
the one that made it all possible".
On January 26, 1940, Sinatra made his first public appearance with
the Dorsey band at the Coronado Theater in Rockford, IL. In his
first year with Dorsey, Sinatra released more than forty songs,
with "I'll Never Smile Again" topping the charts for twelve weeks
Due to a punitive contract that awarded Dorsey ⅓ of Sinatra's
lifetime earnings in the entertainment industry, Sinatra's
relationship with Tommy Dorsey was tenuous. In January 1942,
Sinatra recorded his first solo sessions without the Dorsey band
(but with Dorsey's arranger Axel
and with Dorsey's approval). These sessions were
released commercially on the Bluebird label. Sinatra left the
Dorsey band late in 1942 in an incident that started rumors of
Sinatra's mob involvement. According to contemporary Hearst
newspaper accounts at the time mobster Sam
convinced Dorsey to let Sinatra out of his contract
for a few thousand dollars through coercion
, an event famously fictionalized in the
movie The Godfather
According to Nancy Sinatra's biography, the Hearst rumors were
started because of Frank's Democratic politics. In actuality, the
contract was bought out by MCA founder Jules
for the princely sum of $75,000.
1940–50: Sinatramania and decline of career
In the autumn of 1940, Sinatra appeared in his first film, Las
. In May 1941, Sinatra was at the top of the male
singer polls in the Billboard
His appeal to bobby soxers
, as teenage girls
of that time were called, revealed a
whole new audience for popular music, which had been recorded
mainly for adults up to that time.
December 31, 1942, Sinatra opened at the Paramount
Theater in New York.
During the musicians' strike
and Sinatra's version of
"All or Nothing at All
by Arthur Altman and lyrics by Jack Lawrence), recorded in August
1939 and released before Sinatra had made a name for himself. The
original release didn’t even mention the vocalist’s name. When the
recording was re–released in 1943 with Sinatra’s name prominently
displayed, the record was on the best–selling list for 18 weeks and
reached number 2 on June 2, 1943.
In 1943, he signed with Columbia
as a solo artist with initially great success,
particularly during the musicians' recording strikes
Sinatra signed with Columbia
June 1, 1943, with the musicians' strike ten months old. And while
no new records had been issued during the strike, he had been
performing on the radio (on Your Hit
), and on stage. Columbia wanted to get new
recordings of their growing star as fast as possible, so Sinatra
convinced them to hire Alec Wilder
arranger and conductor for several sessions with a vocal group
called the Bobby Tucker Singers. These first sessions were on June
7, June 22, August 5, and November 10, 1943. Of the nine songs
recorded during these sessions, seven charted on the best–selling
Sinatra went before his draft board on December 11, 1943, and
received a 4-F
"Registrant not acceptable for military service."
for a perforated eardrum on his records.
Additionally, an FBI report on Sinatra, released in 1998, showed that
the doctors had also written that he was a "neurotic" and "not
acceptable material from a psychiatric standpoint".
omitted from his record to avoid "undue unpleasantness for both the
selectee and the induction service".Santopietro, Tom (2008). -
Sinatra in Hollywood
. - New York, New York:
Macmillan/Thomas Dunne Books. - p.45. - ISBN 9780312362263.Newton,
Michael (2003). - The FBI Encyclopedia
. - Jefferson,
North Carolina: McFarland & Co. - p.314. ISBN 9780786417186.
G.I.'s in the service, like William Manchester, said of Sinatra, "I
think Frank Sinatra was the most hated man of World War II, much
more than Hitler", because Sinatra was back home making all of that
money and being shown in photographs surrounded by beautiful
women.Erenberg, Lewis A. (1999). - Swingin' the Dream
Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. - p.197. - ISBN
—Kelley, Kitty (1987). - His Way
. - New York, New York:
Bantam Books. - p.91. - ISBN 9780553265156. His deferment would
resurface throughout his life and cause him grief when he had to
defend himself. There would be accusations, including some from
noted columnist Walter Winchell
that Sinatra paid $40,000 to avoid the service — but the FBI could
find no evidence of this.
Sinatra returned to the Paramount in October 1944, 35,000 fans caused a near riot
outside the venue because they were not allowed in.
In 1945, Sinatra co-starred with Gene
. That same year, he was loaned out to RKO to star
in a short film titled The House
I Live In
. Directed by Mervyn
, this film on tolerance and racial equality
earned a special Academy Award
shared among Sinatra and those
who brought the film to the screen, along with a special Golden Globe
for "Promoting Good Will." 1946
saw the release of his first album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra
and the debut of his own weekly radio show.
By the end of 1948, Sinatra himself felt that his career was
stalling, something that was confirmed when he slipped to No. 4 on
s annual poll of most
popular singers (following Billy
, Frankie Laine
The year 1949 saw an upswing, as Frank once again teamed up with
to co-star in Take Me Out to the Ball
. It was well received critically and became a major
commercial success. That same year, Sinatra would team up with Gene
Kelly for a third time in On the
1950–60: Rebirth of career, Capitol concept albums
years' absence, Sinatra returned to the concert stage on January
12, 1950, in Hartford, Connecticut.
Sinatra's voice suffered and he experienced
hemorrhaging of his vocal cords on stage at the Copacabana
on April 26, 1950.
Sinatra's career and appeal to new teen audiences declined as he
moved into his mid-30s.
September 1951, Sinatra made his Las Vegas debut at the Desert
A month later, a second series of the Frank
aired on CBS
. On November 7,
1951, Sinatra married Ava Gardner
had an extremely tempestuous relationship, and the ascent of
Gardner's career seemed to coincide with the decline in Sinatra's.
They split up in 1953 and divorced in 1957.
dropped Sinatra in
rebirth of Sinatra's career began with the eve-of-Pearl
Harbor drama From
Here to Eternity (1953), for which he won an Academy Award for Best
This role and performance mark the
turnaround in Sinatra's career, in which he went from being in a
critical and commercial decline for several years to an
Oscar-winning actor and, once again, one of the top recording
artists in the world.
Also in 1953, Sinatra starred in the NBC radio program Rocky Fortune
. His character, Rocko
Fortunato (aka Rocky Fortune) was a private eye who was placed in a
variety of odd jobs by the Gridley Employment Agency in order to
help solve crimes. The series aired on NBC radio Tuesday nights
from October 1953 to March 1954. During the final months of the
show, just before the 1954 Oscars, it became a running gag that
Sinatra would manage to work the phrase "from here to eternity"
into each episode, a reference to his Oscar-nominated
Sinatra signed with Capitol Records, where he worked with many of the finest musical
arrangers of the era, most notably Nelson
Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, and
himself with a series of albums featuring darker emotional
material, starting with In
the Wee Small Hours
(1955), and followed by Frank Sinatra Sings For
Only The Lonely
(1958), and Where Are You?
(1957). He also developed a hipper, "swinging" persona, as heard on
Songs For Swingin'
(1956), Come Fly With Me
By the end of the year, Billboard named "Young at Heart" Song of
the Year, Swing Easy!
Nelson Riddle at the helm, (his second album for Capitol) was named
Album of the Year and Sinatra was named "Top Male Vocalist" by
, Down Beat
Also in 1955, Sinatra's first 12" LP In the Wee Small Hours
second collaboration with Nelson
, was released.
Frank Sinatra starred in the movie adaptation of Frank Loesser's
stage musical "Guys and Dolls" in 1955
A third collaboration with Nelson Riddle, Songs For Swingin' Lovers
was a success, featuring a recording of "I've Got You Under My
Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely
, a stark collection of
introspective saloon songs and blues-tinged ballads, was a mammoth
commercial success, peaking at #1 on Billboard'
chart during a 120-week stay. Cuts from this LP, such as "Angel Eyes
" and "One for My Baby
," would remain staples of Sinatra's concerts throughout his
Throughout the fifties, Sinatra frequently criticized rock music,
much of it being his reaction to rhythms and attitudes he found
alien. In 1958 he lambasted it as "sung, played, and written for
the most part by cretinous goons. It manages to be the martial
music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the
1960–70: Ring-A-Ding-Ding, Reprise records, Basie,
Jobim, "My Way"
would start the 1960s as he ended the 1950s, his first album of the
decade, Nice 'n' Easy,
album chart and winning critical plaudits en masse, this, despite
Sinatra growing discontented at Capitol Records and having decided to form his own label, Reprise Records.
His first album on
the label, Ring-A-Ding-Ding
(1961), was a major
success peaking at #4 on Billboard
and #8 in the UK.
His fourth and final Timex
broadcast in March 1960 and secured massive viewing figures. Titled
It's Nice to Go Travelling
, the show is more commonly
known as Welcome Home
. Elvis Presley
appearance after his army discharge was somewhat ironic; Sinatra
had been scathing about him in the mid fifties, saying: "His kind
of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac. It fosters
almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people."
Presley had responded: "... [Sinatra] is a great success and a fine
actor, but I think he shouldn't have said it. ... [rock and roll]
... is a trend, just the same as he faced when he started years
ago." Later, in efforts to maintain his commercial viability,
Sinatra would eventually record Presley's hit "Love Me Tender
" as well as works by
"), and Joni
Following on the heels of Can Can
was Ocean's 11
, the film that
would become the definitive on-screen outing for "The Rat Pack
January 27, 1961, Sinatra played a benefit show at Carnegie Hall for Martin
Luther King, Jr. and would go on to play a major role in the
desegregation of Nevada hotels and
casinos in the 1960s.
Sinatra led his fellow members of the
Rat Pack and label-mates on Reprise
refusing to patronize hotels and casinos that wouldn't allow black
singers to play live or wouldn't allow black patrons entry. He
would often speak from the stage on desegregation
. He would play more benefits for
Martin Luther King, Jr. who, according to Frank Sinatra, Jr.
, at one point during a
show in 1963 sat weeping as Sinatra sang Ol' Man River
, the song from the musical
that, in the show, is
sung by an African-American
September 11 and 12, 1961, Sinatra recorded his final songs for
In 1962, along with Janet Leigh
, he starred in the
political thriller The Manchurian
as Bennett Marco. That same year, Sinatra and
Count Basie collaborated for the album Sinatra-Basie
. This popular and
successful release would prompt them to rejoin two years later for
a follow-up It Might as
Well Be Swing
, which was arranged by Quincy Jones
. One of Sinatra's more ambitious
albums from the mid-1960s was The Concert Sinatra
, which was
recorded with a 73-piece symphony orchestra on 35 mm
first live album, Sinatra at
the Sands, was recorded during January and February 1966
at the Sands Hotel
and Casino in Las Vegas.
In June 1965, Sinatra, Sammy Davis,
. and Dean Martin
played live in
St. Louis to benefit Dismas House. The concert was broadcast live
via satellite to numerous movie theaters across America. Released
in August 1965 was the Grammy Award–winning album of the year
September of My
, with a career anthology A Man and His Music
November, itself winning Album of the Year at the Grammys in 1966.
The TV special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music
both an Emmy award and a Peabody
In the spring, That's Life
with both the single and album becoming Top Ten hits in the US on
s pop charts. Strangers in the Night
to top the Billboard
and UK pop singles charts, winning
the award for Record of the Year at the Grammys
. The album of the same name also topped the
chart and reached number 4 in the UK.
Sinatra would start 1967 with a series of recording sessions with
Antônio Carlos Jobim
Later in the year, a duet with daughter Nancy, "Somethin' Stupid
", topped the
pop and UK singles charts. In December, Sinatra
collaborated with Duke Ellington
the album Francis
A. & Edward
During the late 1960s, press agent Lee
would invite columnists with their spouses into
Sinatra's dressing room just before he was about to go on stage.
The New Yorker
that "The first columnist they tried this on was Larry Fields of
the Philadelphia Daily
, whose wife fainted when Sinatra kissed her cheek.
'Take care of it, Lee,' Sinatra said, and he was off."
Back on the small-screen, Sinatra once again worked with
, with Ella
on the TV special A Man and His Music + Ella +
(1970) was one
of Sinatra's most acclaimed concept albums,Erlewine, Stephen
. allmusic.com. Retrieved
2006-12-19. but was all but ignored by the public in commercial
terms. Selling a mere 30,000 copies, and reaching a peak chart
position of 101, its failure put an end to plans of a television
special based on the album.
With Sinatra in mind, singer-songwriter Paul
wrote the song "My Way
inspired from the French "Comme d'habitude" ("As Usual"), composed
by Claude François
and Jacques Revaux
. "My Way" would, perhaps,
become more identified with him than any other over his seven
decades as a singer.
1970–80: Retirement and comeback
12, 1971 — at a concert in Hollywood to raise money for the Motion Picture and TV Relief
Fund — at the age of 55, Sinatra announced that he was retiring,
bringing to an end his 36-year career in show
In 1973, Sinatra came out of retirement with a television special
and album, both entitled Ol'
Blue Eyes Is Back
. The album, arranged by Gordon Jenkins
, was a great success, reaching number 13 on
and number 12 in the UK. The TV special was
highlighted by a dramatic reading of "Send in the Clowns
" and a song and dance
sequence with former co-star Gene
January 1974, Sinatra returned to Las Vegas, performing at Caesars Palace despite vowing in 1970 never to play there again
after the manager of the resort, Sanford Waterman, pulled a gun on
him during a heated argument.
With Waterman recently shot,
the door was open for Sinatra to return.
In Australia, he caused an uproar by describing journalists there —
who were aggressively pursuing his every move and pushing for a
press conference — as "fags", "pimps", and "whores." Australian
unions representing transport workers, waiters, and journalists
went on strike, demanding that Sinatra apologize for his remarks.
Sinatra instead insisted that the journalists apologize for
"fifteen years of abuse I have taken from the world press." The
future Prime Minister of
, Bob Hawke
, then the
Australian Council of
leader, also insisted that Sinatra apologize, and
a settlement was eventually reached to the apparent satisfaction of
both parties, Sinatra's final show of his Australian tour was
televised to the nation.
October 1974, Sinatra appeared at New York City's Madison
Square Garden in a televised concert that was later released as
an album under the title The Main Event –
Backing him was bandleader Woody Herman
and the Young Thundering Herd, who
accompanied Sinatra on a European tour later that month. The TV
special garnered mostly positive reviews whilst the album —
actually culled from various shows during his comeback tour — was
only a moderate success, peaking at #37 on Billboard
and #30 in the UK.
in front of the Egyptian
pyramids, Sinatra performed for Anwar
Back in Las Vegas, while celebrating 40 years in
show business and his 64th birthday, he was awarded the Grammy Trustees Award
during a party
at Caesars Palace.
1980–90: Trilogy, She Shot Me Down,
L.A. Is My Lady
In 1980, Sinatra's first album in six years was released,
Trilogy: Past Present
, a highly ambitious triple
that found Sinatra recording songs from the past
(pre-rock era) and present (rock era and contemporary) that he had
overlooked during his career, while 'The Future' was a free-form
suite of new songs linked à la musical theater by a theme, in this
case, Sinatra pondering over the future. The album garnered six
nominations — winning for best liner
notes — and peaked at number 17 on Billboard'
chart, while spawning yet another song that would become a
signature tune, "Theme
from New York, New York
" as well as Sinatra's much lauded
(second) recording of George
first was not officially released on an album until 1972's
Greatest Hits Vol. 2
The following year, Sinatra built on the success of
with She Shot Me
an album that revisited the dark tone of his Capitol
years, and was praised by critics as a vintage late-period Sinatra.
Sinatra would comment that it was "A complete saloon album...
tear-jerkers and cry-in-your-beer kind of things."
was embroiled in controversy in 1981 when he worked a ten-day
engagement for $2 million in Sun City, South Africa.
Frank Sinatra was selected as one of the five recipients of the
1983 Kennedy Center Honors
alongside Katharine Dunham
, Elia Kazan
. Quoting Henry James
honoring Sinatra, Reagan said that "art
shadow of humanity
," and said that
Sinatra had "spent his life casting a magnificent and powerful
Earlier that year, Sinatra had worked with Quincy Jones
for the first time in nearly two
decades on the album L.A.
Is My Lady
. Well received
critically, L.A. Is My Lady
came after an album
of duets with Lena Horne
, instigated by
Jones, was abandoned after Horne developed vocal problems and
Sinatra committed to other engagements, could not wait to
1990s: Duets, final performances
Sinatra celebrated his 75th birthday with a national tour, and was
awarded the second "Ella Award" by the Los Angeles–based Society of
At the award ceremony, he performed for the
final time with Ella
December, as part of Sinatra's birthday celebrations, Patrick
Pasculli, the Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, made a proclamation in his honor,
declaring that "no other vocalist in history has sung, swung and
crooned and serenaded into the hearts of the young and old... as
this consummate artist from Hoboken".
The same month Sinatra
gave the first show of his Diamond Jubilee Tour at the Meadowlands
Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Sinatra made a surprise return to Capitol Records and the recording studio for Duets, which was released
The artists who added their vocals to the album worked for free,
and a follow-up album (Duets II
was released in 1994, which reached #9 on the Billboard
Still touring, despite various health problems, Sinatra remained a
top concert attraction on a global scale during the first half of
the 1990s. At times, his memory seemed to fail him, and
a fall onstage in Richmond, Virginia in 1994 signaled further problems.
final public concerts were held in Japan's Fukuoka Dome in December 1994.
The following year, on
February 25, 1995, at a private party for 1,200 select guests on
the closing night of the Frank Sinatra Desert Classic golf
tournament, Sinatra sang before a live audience for the very last
of the show that Sinatra was "clear, tough, on the money" and "in
absolute control." His closing song was "The Best is Yet to
Sinatra was awarded the Legend
at the 1994 Grammy
. He was introduced by Bono
, who said
of Sinatra "Frank's the chairman of the bad attitude... rock 'n
roll plays at being tough, but this guy is the boss. The chairman
of boss... I'm not going to mess with him, are you?" Sinatra called
it "the best welcome...I ever had." However, during his speech,
Sinatra apparently ran too long and was curtly cut off by music,
then commercials, leaving Sinatra looking confused while talking
into a dead microphone.
to mark Sinatra's 80th birthday, the Empire State
Building glowed blue. A star-studded birthday tribute,
Sinatra: 80 Years My Way held at the Shrine
Auditorium in Los
Angeles, was his last televised appearance.
Sinatra was elected to the Gaming
Hall of Fame
Sinatra had three children; Nancy
by his first wife Nancy Barbato (married
1939-1951). He was married three more times, to the actresses
(married 1951-1957) and
(married 1966-1968) and
finally to Barbara Marx
to whom he was still married at his death.
Throughout his life, Sinatra had mood swings and bouts of
depression, symptoms of bipolar
, formerly known as manic depression. He himself
acknowledged this fact, telling an interviewer in the 1950s: "Being
an 18-karat manic-depressive, and having lived a life of violent
emotional contradictions, I have an over-acute capacity for sadness
as well as emotion." In her memoirs My Father's Daughter
his daughter Tina wrote about the "eighteen-karat" remark: "As
flippant as Dad could be about his mental state, I believe that a
a day might have kept his demons away.
But that kind of medicine was decades off."
After suffering another heart attack, Frank Sinatra died at 10:50
pm on May 14, 1998 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
with his wife Barbara by his side. He was 82 years old. Sinatra's
final words,spoken as attempts were made to stabilize him, were
"I'm losing." His death was confirmed by the Sinatra family on
their website with a statement accompanied by a recording of the
singer's version of "Softly As I Leave You." The next night the
lights on the Las Vegas
Strip were dimmed in his honor. President Bill Clinton
led tributes to Sinatra, stating
that he had managed "to appreciate on a personal level what
millions of people had appreciated from afar." Elton John
stated that Sinatra, "was simply the
best - no one else even comes close."
20, 1998 at the Church of
the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, Sinatra's funeral was held, with 400 mourners in
attendance and hundreds of fans outside. Gregory Peck
, and Frank Sinatra,
addressed the mourners, among whom were Jill St. John
, Joey Bishop
, Faye Dunaway
, Liza Minnelli
, Kirk Douglas
, Don Rickles
, Nancy Reagan
, Sophia Loren
, Bob Newhart
, and Jack Nicholson
private ceremony was held later that day at St. Theresa's Catholic
Church in Palm Springs. The eulogy was given by lifelong spiritual
adviser and minister Jairus Bellamy. Sinatra was buried
following the ceremony next to his parents in section B-8 of Desert
Memorial Park in Cathedral City, a quiet cemetery on Ramon Road at the border of
Cathedral City and Rancho
Mirage, near his famous Rancho Mirage compound, located on
tree-lined Frank Sinatra Drive.
His close friends Jilly Rizzo
and Jimmy Van Heusen
are buried nearby in the
The words "The Best Is
Yet to Come
" are imprinted on Sinatra's grave marker.
Awards and recognitions
Sidewalk star in front of Sinatra's
The U.S. Postal Service issued a 42-cent postage stamp in honor of
Sinatra on May 13, 2008. The design of the stamp was unveiled
Wednesday, December 12, 2007 — on the 92nd birthday of the
entertainer — in Beverly Hills, CA, with Sinatra family members on hand.
design shows an 1950s-vintage image of Sinatra, wearing a hat. The
design also includes his signature, with his last name alone. The
Hoboken Post Office was renamed in his honor in 2002. The Frank
Sinatra School of the Arts in Long Island City
and the Frank
Sinatra Park in Hoboken were named in his honor.
The U.S. Congress passed a resolution on May 20, 2008 designating
May 13 as Frank Sinatra Day to honor his contribution to American
culture. The resolution was introduced by U.S. House
representative Mary Bono Mack
To commemorate the anniversary of Sinatra's death, Patsy's
Restaurant in New York City, which Sinatra was very fond of and a
regular at, exhibited in May 2009 15 never before released photos
of Sinatra that were taken by Bobby Bank
The photos are of his recording "Everybody Ought to Be in Love" at
a recording studio that was nearby.
Stephen Holden wrote for the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide
- Frank Sinatra's voice is pop music history. [...] Like
Presley and Dylan — the only other white male American singers
since 1940 whose popularity, influence, and mythic force have been
comparable — Sinatra will last indefinitely. He virtually invented
modern pop song phrasing.
- In 1992, CBS aired a TV mini-series about the entertainer's
life called Sinatra, directed by James Steven Sadwith and starred
Philip Casnoff as Sinatra. Opening
with his childhood in Hoboken, New Jersey, the film follows
Sinatra's rise to the top in the 1940s, through the dark days of
the early 1950s and his triumphant re-emergence in the mid-1950s,
to his status as pop culture icon in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. In
between, the film hits all of the main events, including his three
marriages, his connections with the Mafia and his notorious
friendship with the Rat Pack. Even with the presence of Tina Sinatra as executive producer. Casnoff
received a Golden Globe nomination for
- Brett Ratner is currently
developing a film adaptation of George Jacobs' memoir Mr. S: My
Life With Frank Sinatra. Jacobs, who was Sinatra's valet, will
be portratyed by Chris Tucker.
Sinatra garnered considerable attention due to his alleged personal
and professional links with organized
, including figures such as Carlo
, Sam Giancana
, Lucky Luciano
, and Joseph Fischetti
. The Federal Bureau
of Investigation kept records amounting to 2,403 pages on
With his Mafia
ardent New Deal
politics and his friendship
with John F. Kennedy
, he was a
natural target for J. Edgar Hoover
's FBI. The FBI kept Sinatra
under surveillance for almost five decades beginning in the 1940s
with, for example, an erroneous report that the star paid $40,000
for his 4-F
through the early 1980s when he was successful in efforts to get
his Nevada Gaming license
renewed. The documents include accounts of Sinatra as the target of
death threats and extortion
also portray rampant paranoia
obsessions at the FBI and reveal nearly every celebrated Sinatra
foible and peccadillo
For a year Hoover investigated Sinatra's alleged communist
affiliations, but came up empty-handed. Readers learn that the
budding star, to get an exemption from military service, told
draft-board doctors that he had an irrational fear of crowds. In
truth he was drafted into the Army during World War II but got a 4F
because of a damaged eardrum, something that was apparent at birth
after a complicated delivery using forceps.The files include his
rendezvous with prostitutes, and his extramarital affair with
, which preceded their
marriage. Celebrities mentioned in the files are Dean Martin
, Peter Lawford
Giancana's girlfriend, singer Phyllis
The FBI's secret dossier on Sinatra was released in 1998 in
response to Freedom of
Sinatra held differing political views throughout his life.
Sinatra's parents had immigrated to the United States in 1895 and
1897 respectively. His mother, Dolly Sinatra (1896-1977), was a
Sinatra remained a supporter of the Democratic Party until the late
1960s when he switched his allegiance to the Republican Party
Political activities 1944-1968
In 1944 after sending a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sinatra was invited to meet
Roosevelt at the White
House, where he agreed to become part of the Democratic
party's voter registration drives.
He donated $5,000 to the Democrats for the 1944 presidential
, and by the end of the campaign was appearing at two
or three political events every day.
After World War II
, Sinatra's politics
grew steadily more left wing, and he became more publicly
associated with the Popular Front
started reading liberal literature, and supported many
organizations that were later identified as front organizations
of the Communist Party USA
by the House Un-American
in the 1950s, though Sinatra was never
brought before the Committee.
Sinatra spoke at a number of New Jersey high schools in 1945, where
students had gone on strike in opposition to racial integration.
Later that year Sinatra would appear in The House I Live In
, a short film
that stood against racism. The film was scripted by Albert Maltz
, with the title song written by
and Abel Meeropol
(under the pseudonym of Lewis
Sinatra supported the candidacy of Henry A. Wallace
January, 1961, Sinatra and Peter
Lawford organized the Inaugural Gala in Washington,
D.C., held on the evening before new President John F. Kennedy was sworn into
The event, featuring many big show business stars,
was an enormous success, raising a large amount of money for the
Democratic Party. Sinatra also organized an Inaugural Gala in
California in 1962 to welcome second term Democratic Governor Pat
move towards the Republicans seems to have begun when he was
snubbed by President Kennedy in favor of Bing Crosby, a rival singer and a Republican,
for Kennedy's visit to Palm Springs in 1962.
Kennedy had planned to stay at
Sinatra's home over the Easter
weekend, but decided against doing so because of problems with
Sinatra's alleged connections to organized crime. Sinatra had
invested a lot of his own money in upgrading the facilities at his
home, in anticipation of the president's visit. President Kennedy's
brother, Attorney General Robert
was intensifying his own investigations into organized crime
figures at the time, such as Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana,
who had earlier stayed at Sinatra's home.
The President and
Giancana were also sharing the favors of mistress Judith Campbell
, who was in frequent contact
with the president. Giancana's under-the-table influence had
been critical in capturing Illinois for the Democrats in the presidential election of
Political activities 1970-1984
February 27, 1970 Sinatra sang at the White House as part of a tribute to Senator Everett Dirksen.
Over the summer
Sinatra supported another Republican
candidate as he
declared for Ronald Reagan
in his race
for a second term as the Governorship of California
was also good friends with Vice President Spiro Agnew
. Sinatra said he agreed with the
Republican Party on most positions, except that of abortion
After a lifetime of supporting Democratic presidential candidates,
Sinatra supported Richard Nixon
re-election in the 1972 presidential
. In 1973, Spiro Agnew
resigned the vice presidency, amid charges of bribery, extortion
and tax fraud; Sinatra helped Agnew pay some of his legal bills
that he faced after his exit from office.
In the 1980
, Sinatra supported Ronald Reagan
, and donated $4 million to
Reagan's campaign. Sinatra said he supported Reagan as he was “the
proper man to be the President of the United States… it's so
screwed up now, we need someone to straighten it out”. Reagan's victory gave
Sinatra his closest relationship with the White House since the early 1960s, as a result of which Sinatra
arranged Reagan's Presidential gala, as he had done for John F. Kennedy, 20 years
Sinatra returned to his birthplace in Hoboken, New
Jersey, bringing with him President Reagan, who was in the
midst of campaigning for the 1984 presidential
Reagan had made Sinatra a fund-raising
ambassador as part of the Republican
' 'Victory 84’
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