Friday, December 11, 2015

Spirits in the Sky - Frank Sinatra - December 12, 1915 - May 14, 1998 - Happy 100th Birthday


The man with the golden voice

There is only one Chairman of the Board, golden voice, leader of the Rat Pack, king among celebrities, and legend, Frank Sinatra.  The Jersey boy who was declared dead at birth in his parent's home when the doctor said he did not survive the birth complications, only to be revived by his grandmother and given a second chance at life, ranks second to none as an American icon.

Here is an excerpt of what Bob Pisani of CNBC said about Frank today.

Frank Sinatra's favorite toast was, "May you live to be 100, and may the last voice you hear be mine."
He didn't make it to 100, but the business of Frank Sinatra is still going strong.
Seventeen years after his death, that voice can still be heard in restaurants, bars, airports and other public spaces all over the world.
And why shouldn't business be good, with a legacy like this: 1,400 recordings. Thirty-one gold, nine platinum, three double-platinum and one triple platinum album. And he appeared in 60 films!
And the business keeps expanding.

The following are comments from around the world on Frank.

New York Post
This Dec. 12, Frank Sinatra would have turned 100 years old. James Kaplan’s two-part biography of the legendary singer only seems that long.

Lady sings the blues

Sinatra said Billie Holiday was the single biggest influence on his music.
Photo: AP; Redferns

Billie Holiday, just eight months older than Sinatra, had been a success long before he was, recording hits while Frank was scrounging for singing gigs in Hoboken.

He was in love with the ragged texture of her voice and her incomparable laid-back phrasing, and in love, too, with Billie herself: her sultry, wounded, distant presence both regal and ravaged.

“It is Billie Holiday who was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me,” he said.

In July 1959, Holiday, a longtime narcotics addict, lay dying in Harlem’s Metropolitan Hospital. According to Jacobs, he and Frank visited a gaunt and wasted Lady Day in her hospital room, where three cops were stationed at the door. She was thrilled to see Sinatra, who made happy talk about how he’d loved her latest album and how much she’d influenced his phrasing.

“I may have showed you how to bend a note, Frankie, that’s all,” Holiday said. Then she leaned over to him and whispered, so the police couldn’t hear, “Will you cut the s–t, baby, and get me some dope?”

Sinatra, despite his hatred of drugs, tried to get heroin for Holiday as a medical necessity. When that didn’t work, Frank bought it himself from a dealer. With police outside Holiday’s door, though, there was no way to get the drugs through.

Billie’s liver failed, and she went into a coma and died on July 17, 1959. Sinatra was disconsolate, holed up in his apartment, drinking, weeping and playing her records over and over for four days.

Broken Marilyn

Sinatra had thought about marrying Marilyn, just to save her.
Photo: Getty Images

Frank was fond of Marilyn Monroe, even buying her a poodle she named Maf — short for “Mafia.” But Jacobs said that his boss was disgusted by Marilyn’s slovenliness and disdainful of her intellect.

Still, Sinatra had considered marrying Marilyn, just to save her.

“He felt if she were his wife, everyone else would back off, give her some space and allow her to get herself together,” a friend recalled. “ ‘No one will mess with her if she’s Mrs. Frank Sinatra,’ he said. ‘No one would dare.’ ”

When Marilyn died, Frank was “devastated,” his valet recalled. Joe DiMaggio was devastated, too, and furious. He blamed the Kennedys — “she was a toy for them,” he said — as well as Sinatra.

DiMaggio organized Marilyn’s funeral and would not invite a single movie star. Frank arrived at the cemetery with bodyguards and tried to force, then bribe, his way in. He was turned away.

Yesterday Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe rejected Frank Sinatra's marriage proposal a year before her death, new book claims
18 OCT 2015
By Christopher Bucktin

A new biography of the singer claims the Hollywood beauty turned him down because she was secretly back with estranged husband Joe DiMaggio

Marriage proposal: Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe look at a photo from fellow actor Peter Lawford's new polaroid camera

Marilyn Monroe turned down an offer of marriage from Frank Sinatra , a new biography of the singer claims.

Sinatra thought he alone could stop Monroe’s downward spiral that would lead to her death from a drugs overdose, aged 36, in 1962.

But he was rebuffed because the Hollywood icon was secretly back with her former husband, baseball player Joe DiMaggio .

In his book The Chairman, James Kaplan says Sinatra once took Monroe to his Cal-Neva resort in Lake Tahoe and looked after her when she was ill.

Sinatra supposedly believed he could save Monroe from the vultures he saw as leading her towards her doom.

By that time Sinatra had divorced second wife Ava Gardner but had not yet married his third wife Mia Farrow - while Monroe had divorced her third and final husband Arthur Miller.

Jilly Rizzo, Sinatra’s closest aide, told the author: “Yeah, Frank wanted to marry the broad.

"He asked her and she said no.”

Rat Pack

The one song Sinatra hated? My Way... and other odd facts about Ol' Blue Eyes on the eve of his 100th birthday

Rumours and truths: This week marks the 100th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth
This week marks the 100th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth.

To celebrate the life of one of the world’s greatest entertainers, here are some facts you probably didn’t know about Ol’ Blue Eyes — from his strange backstage demands to his links with Scooby Doo.


The delivery of the 13lb baby in his parents’ New Jersey kitchen on December 12, 1915, was traumatic. When he finally emerged, there were no signs of life. So the doctor put him to one side to attend to his mother, Dolly.

It was only when the child’s grandmother picked up the baby, ran cold water over him and slapped his back that he started breathing.


He was supposed to be called Martin after his father, but the priest who conducted his baptism accidentally named him after Frank Garrick, the family friend who was there as the baby’s godfather.

Sinatra’s mother chose to stick with the name, believing the mistake must be a good omen.


The young singer certainly had appeal — but George Evans, his publicist, wasn’t taking any chances. He auditioned girls to find those who could scream the loudest, then paid them $5 to sit at carefully chosen points in the audience, so creating even more of a frenzy.


Frank's stormy relationship with actress Ava Gardner upset him so much that on more than one occasion he tried to kill himself.

Gardner once walked into the bedroom to find him holding a gun to his head. As she struggled to take the weapon from him it went off, but the bullet missed them both.

Another attempt came during Sinatra’s dip in popularity in the Fifties. Walking through New York’s Times Square, he saw a crowd of girls waiting to see new showbiz sensation Eddie Fisher.

Band of brothers: The 'Rat Pack' aka Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop always preferred to call themselves ‘The Summit’


It became one of his most famous songs, but according to his daughter Tina, he ‘always thought that song was self-serving and self-indulgent’. But it ‘stuck and he couldn’t get it off his shoe’.


The New York Yankees baseball team play his signature song New York, New York after every home game in the Bronx.

For a while they played Sinatra’s version only after victories — following a defeat they would play Liza Minelli’s rendition. But when Minelli complained bitterly they stopped the practice.


Sensitive about his modest height of 5ft 7in, the singer used what Americans call ‘elevator shoes’, some of them the work of celebrity Los Angeles shoemaker Pasquale di Fabrizio.


Scooby Doo was originally going to be called Too Much. But during a flight to a development meeting, CBS executive Fred Silverman heard Sinatra’s recording of Strangers In The Night.
The ‘dooby do’ lyrics at the end gave him the idea for the cartoon hound’s new name.

In 1972, Belgian artist Guy Peellaert (who designed album covers for David Bowie and the Rolling Stones) published a book called Rock Dreams.

It told the story of popular music in 125 paintings. One depicted Sinatra’s move from singing into acting as a newspaper article headlined Frankie Goes Hollywood.

The Liverpool band added the extra word ‘to’ to form their name Frankie Goes To Hollywood and had a string of hits including Relax and Two Tribes.

Tragic: Frank's relationship with Ava Gardner upset him so much that he attempted suicide


The movie Robin And The 7 Hoods was a re-telling of the Robin Hood myth featuring Chicago gangsters. While shooting a scene at a funeral in 1963, the cast and crew received news that John F. Kennedy had been shot and killed. Sinatra, who had been friends with the President, was traumatised.


As if the JFK coincidence wasn’t spooky enough, Sinatra learned during the filming of a kidnap scene in Robin And The 7 Hoods that his own son, Frank Jnr, had been kidnapped. (The scene was cut from the final version of the movie.)

Following the abduction on December 8, 1963, Sinatra received a ransom demand of $240,000, together with the instruction that he must only call the kidnappers from pay phones. In the middle of one call, he ran out of money, and panicked that the error had cost his son’s life. 
But after payment of the ransom, Frank Jr was released. His father vowed he would never be caught without coins again and always carried a roll of 10 cent coins.


Sinatra’s famous gang of friends — which included singers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, comic Joey Bishop and actor Peter Lawford — were given their famous nickname by Hollywood star Lauren Bacall. But they always preferred to call themselves ‘The Summit’, after a 1960 meeting of world leaders in Paris.


At one time, Sinatra was part-owner of the Cal Neva Lodge resort and casino in Lake Tahoe. The resort was so-called because half of it was in California and half in neighbouring Nevada.


In the classic Mafia novel The Godfather, later made into an Oscar-winning series of films, the entertainer Johnny Fontane receives help with his career from organised crime figures.

Although the book’s author, Mario Puzo, denied that the character was inspired by Sinatra, the singer — always surrounded by rumours of Mafia links — took it as an insult.

When the two met in Los Angeles restaurant Chasen’s in 1970, Sinatra screamed: ‘I ought to break your legs!’


HIS contracts always specified that the red carpet leading from his dressing room to the stage must be anchored by tacks no more than 18in apart.

Broadcaster Clive James introduced Sinatra at a 1988 concert to mark the opening of the Sanctuary Cove resort in Queensland, Australia. He witnessed the singer’s lawyer bending down with a tape measure to ensure that the clause had been complied with.


‘This is a gentleman’s drink,’ he said of the his favourite drink, Jack Daniel’s. He always had two fingers of whiskey, four ice cubes and a splash of water.

For some reason, Sinatra would never touch the rim of the glass — he cupped it in his hand, protected by a cocktail napkin.


Though he began performing professionally as a teenager in the late Thirties — as a singing waiter at the Rustic Cabin club in Englewood, New Jersey — he never learned formally to read music, instead relying on a good ear to help him hold a tune.


Ol’ Blue Eyes suffered a heart attack on May 14, 1998. His journey to hospital was through empty streets because most people were at home watching the final episode of the TV comedy Seinfeld.

Sinatra’s life couldn’t be saved. His last words were: ‘I’m losing.’ The Empire State Building was lit up in blue in tribute.


His friends placed a bottle of Jack Daniel’s in his pocket when he was buried and put a pack of Camel cigarettes and a Zippo cigarette lighter in his coffin. His gravestone reads: ‘The best is yet to come.’ 

When he died his funeral was larger than the funeral for President Kennedy.  Here is a news account of the event.

That's Life

New Jersey Online

Family, Stars bid Sinatra Farewell
May 21, 1998

Associated Press Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- It was the passing of a legend, another time marker for the century, and Hollywood's royalty bid farewell to Frank Sinatra with touches of kindness, doses of laughter and moments of reflection.

``Barbara, Frank loved you very much,'' Kirk Douglas, his speech still showing the effect of a stroke, told Sinatra's widow. ``We all know that, so don't cry too much. Think of Frank up there with Dean Martin, up with there with Sammy Davis Jr.

``Boy, heaven will never be the same!''

There was hearty applause from the 400 mourners packed inside Good Shepherd Catholic Church for Wednesday afternoon's two-hour service, which included a funeral Mass officiated by Cardinal Roger Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles.

It was uplifting, as Mrs. Sinatra asked, but there was no escaping reality: As speakers paraded to the microphone and Communion was served, eyes were focused on the metal casket in front with the body of Ol' Blue Eyes.

Sinatra died of a heart attack last Thursday at 82.

Just before the funeral began, Nancy Sinatra placed her head on her father's casket and prayed. Nearby, Liza Minnelli hugged Mia Farrow, who was briefly married to Sinatra in the 1960s. Another touching moment came when ``Put Your Dreams Away'' by the man known as The Voice boomed from speakers.
``Our world is a better place because Frank Sinatra passed through it,'' Douglas said.

Mourners spanned the generations: James Darren, Bruce Springsteen, Vic Damone, Sidney Poitier, Jerry Vale, Tony Bennett, Debbie Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Dionne Warwick, Angie Dickinson, Wayne Newton, Quincy Jones, Milton Berle, Ernest Borgnine, Gregory Peck, Joey Bishop, Tony Curtis, Paul Anka, Red Buttons, Nancy Reagan, Bob Newhart.

During his remembrance, Frank Sinatra Jr. noted his father had the mystic romance of Rudolph Valentino, the aloofness of James Dean, sexiness of Marilyn Monroe and the appeal of Elvis Presley.
``Unlike the others, he lived to a ripe old age,'' his son noted.

Looking down at the casket 10 feet away, he concluded: ``So long buddy, and take care of yourself.''
The church was a floor-to-ceiling ocean of white flowers -- orchids, roses, mums and Sinatra's favorite, gardenias. Pallbearers, including Don Rickles, Steve Lawrence, Tom Dreesen and Sinatra Jr., wore gardenia boutineers.

Mrs. Sinatra, wearing black, sat in the front row with her son, Robert Marx, who delivered one of the brief eulogies. ``He made her feel like a little girl. She called him her knight in shining armor. And he was,'' said Marx, whom Sinatra considered a son.

The tributes were by turns touching and racy, reflecting the personality of a man whom Peck described as a ``reckless rogue, sentimental fella.''

Producer George Schlatter offered a slightly off-color remembrance: ``His favorite words were `Jack' and `Daniel's.' His least favorite: `Take two.'''

Following the tributes, Sinatra's casket was carried out of the church to a hearse, amid the din of four media helicopters hovering overhead and dozens of reporters and camera operators behind police lines across the street.

As news helicopters followed, the hearse drove to Van Nuys airport, where the casket was loaded on a private jet that flew with the immediate family to the desert town of Palm Springs some 110 miles east.
In a simple ceremony at modest Desert Memorial Park in nearby Cathedral City, Sinatra was buried next to his parents and his best friend, Jilly Rizzo, in a plot near the road.

Sinatra fan Earl Timko, 80, drove up to the cemetery in his golf cart and recalled that he had seen the Chairman of the Board when he was alive.

``He and his friends, they knew how to live it up.''

Pallbearers at Sinatra Funeral

Pallbearers and some of the other notables who joined Frank Sinatra's family in mourning at Wednesday's funeral:


Tom Dreesen, Mason Golden, Steve Lawrence, Robert Marx, Tony Oppedisano, Don Rickles, Frank Sinatra Jr., Eliot Weisman.


Tony Bennett, Milton Berle, Ernest Borgnine, Hank Cattaneo, Kirk Douglas, Quincy Jones, Billy May, Wayne Newton, Gregory Peck, Susan Reynolds, George Schlatter, Danny Schwartz, Jerry Vale, Jerry Weintraub.


Paul Anka, Joey Bishop, Red Buttons, Diahann Carroll, Rosemary Clooney, Tim Conway, Tony Curtis, Vic Damone, Marvin Davis, Tony Danza, James Darren, Angie Dickinson, Phil Donahue, Mia Farrow, Lee Iaccoca, Alan King, Larry King, Steve Lawrence, Jack Lemmon, Sophia Loren, Larry Manetti, Ed McMahon, Liza Minnelli, Bob Newhart, Sidney Poitier, Nancy Reagan, Debbie Reynolds, Carol Bayer Sager, Tom Selleck, Suzanne Somers, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Stack, Marlo Thomas, Robert Wagner, Dionne Warwick, Lew Wasserman.

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