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Frank Sinatra is laid to rest

Frank Sinatra is laid to rest


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Long before his stature in the world of show business earned him the nickname “Chairman of the Board,” Frank Sinatra was known simply as “The Voice.” During a career that saw him go from skinny teen idol to middle-aged playboy, Sinatra’s personality and looks were certainly major factors in his success, but they could never fully overshadow his voice—an instrument that could convey very deep emotions in a sincere, understated way.

“Right from the beginning, he was there with the truth of things in his voice,” is how Bob Dylan put it on May 20, 1998—the day Frank Sinatra was laid to rest. “His music had an influence on me, whether I knew it or not. He was one of the very few singers who sang without a mask. This is a sad day.”

Francis Albert Sinatra died of a heart attack on May 14, 1998, at the age of 82 with his immediate family by his side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Six days later, some 400 mourners attended his private funeral at the Roman Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, with thousands more lining the streets outside. With the Archbishop of Los Angeles presiding as celebrant, Kirk Douglas and Gregory Peck delivering eulogies and Tony Bennett and Sidney Poitier acting as an honor guard, the service was in every way worthy of a show-business legend, but the guest list also included less-famous members of Sinatra’s famously large entourage, such as Pepe Ruiz, a bartender from Chasen’s, a favorite Hollywood hangout of Sinatra’s during his Rat Pack days.

“It was a little laughs, a lot of love,” Mr. Ruiz told an Associated Press reporter after the service. ”I would not say it was a funeral. It was all his friends getting together to say goodbye.”

On a Sinatra family-sponsored website for several days following the funeral, an excerpt of a letter from Frank to his daughter Nancy was posted that amounted to a brilliant eulogy for Ol’ Blue Eyes by Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. Sinatra wrote: “Those of us who roll with the punches, who grin, who dare to wear foolish clown faces, who defy the system—well, we do it, and bully for us. Of course, there are those who do not, and the reason I think is that (and I say this with some sadness) those uptight, locked-in people who resent and despise us, who fear us and are bewildered by us, will one day come to realize that we possess rare and magical secrets. And more—love.”


Francis Wayne Sinatra was born January 10, 1944, [4] in Jersey City, New Jersey, into the household of one of the most popular singers in the world, Frank Sinatra. The younger Sinatra was technically not a "junior" (his father's middle name was Albert) but was nonetheless known as Frank Jr. throughout his life. He hardly saw his father, who was constantly on the road, either performing or working in films. However, Sinatra Jr. recalled wanting to become a pianist and songwriter from his earliest days.

Kidnapping Edit

Sinatra was kidnapped at the age of 19 on December 8, 1963, at Harrah's Lake Tahoe (Room 417). [5] He was released two days later after his father paid the $240,000 ransom demanded by the kidnappers (equivalent to $2,030,000 in 2020). Barry Keenan, Johnny Irwin, and Joe Amsler were soon captured, prosecuted for kidnapping, convicted, and sentenced to long prison terms, of which they served only small portions. Mastermind Keenan was later adjudged to have been legally insane at the time of the crime and hence not legally responsible for his actions. [5] Famed attorney Gladys Root represented Irwin.

The kidnappers demanded that all communication be conducted by payphone. During these conversations, Frank Sr. became concerned that he would not have enough coins, which prompted him to carry 10 dimes with him at all times for the rest of his life he was even buried with 10 dimes in his pocket. [6]

At the time of the kidnapping, Frank Sr. and the Rat Pack were filming Robin and the 7 Hoods. The stress of the kidnapping, in addition to the assassination of Sinatra's close friend John F. Kennedy just a few weeks prior to the kidnapping, caused Sinatra to seriously consider shutting down production completely, although the film was ultimately completed. [7]

By his early teens, Sinatra was performing at local clubs and venues. At age 19, he became the vocalist for Sam Donahue's band. [8] He also spent considerable time with Duke Ellington, learning the music business. [9]

Sinatra spent most of his early career on the road. By 1968, he had performed in 47 states and 30 countries, had appeared as a guest on several television shows, [10] including two episodes of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour with his sister Nancy, hosted a 10-week summer replacement series for The Dean Martin Show, had sung with his own band in Las Vegas casinos, and had been the opening act for bigger names at other casinos. During that time, he gained a reputation for rigorous rehearsals and demanding standards for his musicians. [11]

Sinatra appeared in the Sammy Davis Jr. drama A Man Called Adam in 1966. He also played a deputy district attorney, named Gino Bardi, on the television crime drama Adam-12, in three episodes, the last of which was titled "Clinic on 18th Street" (originally broadcast on March 13, 1974). [12] This episode was an edited television pilot for a Mark VII Limited series that was not sold. [13] His other acting credits included roles in Aru heishi no kake (1970) with Dale Robertson, Code Name Zebra (1987) opposite James Mitchum, and Hollywood Homicide (2003) with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett.

The National Archives now houses a 15-minute song and monologue composed by Sinatra in 1976, Over the Land. It evokes the memory of the U.S. flag and the nation's experiences with the flag since the War of 1812.

Starting in 1988, at his father's request, Sinatra placed his career on hold in order to act as his father's musical director and conductor. [14] Poet/vocalist Rod McKuen said:

As the senior Sinatra outlived one by one all of his conductors and nearly every arranger, and began to grow frail himself, his son knew he needed someone that he trusted near him. [Frank Jr.] was also savvy enough to know that performing was everything to his dad and the longer he kept that connection with his audience, the longer he would stay vital and alive. [15]

In 1989, Sinatra sang "Wedding Vows in Vegas" on the Was (Not Was) album, What Up, Dog?, and performed the song live with the band on Late Night with David Letterman on March 23, 1989. [16]

During the 1995–1996 television season, Sinatra was offered the role of Vic Fontaine on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Despite being a fan of the show and finding the role interesting, he turned it down, declaring that he only wanted to play an alien. [17] James Darren accepted the part, after refusing three times because he found the idea of a vocalist playing a vocalist to be too "on the nose", but changed his mind when he read the script. [18]

Sinatra guest-starred on an episode of Son of the Beach, in the episode "You Only Come Once" (2002), playing the villain Stink Finger, [19] and he sang his own theme song for the character. He had a guest spot playing himself on an episode of The Sopranos, "The Happy Wanderer" (2000), [20] in a role either mocking or acknowledging all the stories about his father's involvement with the mob – he lets Paulie Walnuts refer to him as the "Chairboy of the Board." (His sister, Nancy, also appeared as herself in a later Sopranos episode "Chasing It" (2007). [21]

Sinatra appeared in the show Family Guy, season 4, episode 19: "Brian Sings and Swings", wherein he was introduced as the "Member of the Board". He performed several tunes during the show, accompanied by Stewie and Brian. During the ending credits, he sang the Family Guy theme song. He also recorded a commentary for its DVD release. [ citation needed ]

He returned in a 2008 episode, "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing" (Season 7, Episode 6), wherein he sang with Brian again, with Stewie returning as a sideline investor supporting the duo. A third episode featuring Sinatra, "Bookie of the Year" (Season 15, Episode 2), aired posthumously on October 2, 2016 and was dedicated to his memory. This was his final appearance recorded.

In 2006, Sinatra released the album That Face!, including the songs "You'll Never Know" and the self-penned song "Spice."

Sinatra made a brief cameo appearance in the series premiere episode of the 2010 CBS legal comedy-drama The Defenders, as well as the show's series finale. [22]

His father's recording of "Theme from New York, New York" is played following the end of every Yankees home game, [24] and Sinatra Jr. performed the song at the 2014 Belmont Stakes.

Sinatra's song "Black Night", written and sung by him, was used as the theme song to Rick Alverson's feature film Entertainment (2015), starring Gregg Turkington and John C. Reilly. [25]

Sinatra married Cynthia McMurry on October 18, 1998 they divorced on January 7, 2000. He had one son Michael, from a previous relationship. [26]

Sinatra underwent surgery for prostate cancer in January 2006. [27]

On March 16, 2016, the Sinatra family released a statement to the Associated Press that Sinatra had died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona Beach, Florida, at the age of 72. [28] [29]

Sinatra said that his famous name had opened some doors, but "a famous father means that in order to prove yourself, you have to work three times harder than the guy off the street." [30]

Music critic Richard Ginell wrote of a 2003 concert by Sinatra:

Sinatra Jr. might have had an easier time establishing himself had he gone into real estate, but his show made me awfully glad he decided music was his calling. There aren't too many singers around with Sinatra's depth of experience in big band music, or his knowledge of the classic American songbook. There are even fewer with such real feeling for the lyrics of a song, and such a knack for investing a song with style and personality. [31]

Sinatra composed several songs, including:

  • "Spice"
  • "Believe in Me"
  • "Black Night"
  • "What Were You Thinking?"
  • "Missy"

His kidnapping was rumored (and later debunked) to be a publicity stunt by Frank Sr. to promote his son's singing career, which is believed to have inspired the plot for the Hawaii Five-O episode "Tiger by the Tail". [32] Addressing the rumor, Frank Sr. famously said "This family needs publicity like it needs peritonitis."

Frank Jr. also made several appearances in Family Guy as himself, often performing songs or getting into misadventures with Brian Griffin and Stewie Griffin.


On December 21, 1903, he emigrated to New York City from Palermo, Sicily, on the SS Città di Milano with his mother Rosa Saglimbeni Sinatra, his sisters Angela and Dorotea, and his brother. His father, Francesco (1857-1946), born in Lercara Friddi, [2] was already in the city working in a pencil factory earning eleven dollars a week, and his mother went on to own and operate a small grocery shop. Sinatra himself apprenticed as a shoemaker, until he started prize-fighting, calling himself Marty O'Brien, because Italians were not welcomed in boxing. [3] [4]

On February 14, 1914, Sinatra eloped with Natalie Garaventa [1] : 25 (also known as "Dolly"), in Jersey City, New Jersey, as Dolly's parents refused to host a wedding and did not approve of Marty, as he was illiterate, inferior at boxing, and was a Sicilian, whereas the Garaventa family were Ligurian. [ citation needed ]

The couple eventually moved to 415 Monroe Street, Hoboken, New Jersey. Their only child, Francis Albert Sinatra, was born on December 12, 1915. [ citation needed ]

Sinatra continued his boxing career until he broke his wrists after 30 professional fights. He then attempted to find marine work but was rejected due to asthma. Dolly helped him find work as a fireman, and he was eventually appointed to the Hoboken Fire Department in 1927, where he attained the rank of Captain without having to take any formal exams. [ citation needed ]

While still a Captain in the fire department, Sinatra and his wife opened a tavern, called Marty O'Brien's. With sufficient income, the family of three moved to a three-bedroom apartment, only a few blocks away from Monroe Street, but well out of Little Italy, at 703 Park Avenue. [ citation needed ]

Sinatra suffered a fatal heart attack in 1969 at a Houston hospital. [5] He was buried at the Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California other family members, including Frank Sinatra and Anthony's wife are buried nearby. [6]

In the 1992 CBS miniseries Sinatra (a series about the life of his son Frank), he is portrayed by Joe Santos. [ citation needed ]


Frank Sinatra was a lonely child

In spite of his talent, Frank Sinatra actually had to grapple with loneliness in childhood. Frank was the only child of Italian immigrants who were both very active and prominent in their Hoboken neighborhood. His father, Antonino Martino, or "Marty," owned a local tavern and was a part-time prizefighter. Frank's mother, Natalina, or Dolly, was a midwife and, according to The Irish Times, also helped desperate women to obtain illegal abortions. Dolly was also involved in local politics and was elected Democratic Ward Leader in their neighborhood.

His parents' work and activities meant they were often away, so young Frank was usually left on his own or with his grandmother. Most children in Frank's predominantly Italian neighborhood came from large families, while he grew up an only child, which was considered highly unusual. According to VQR, in a later interview with journalist Pete Hamill, Sinatra admitted that he longed for a sibling when he was a child: "I used to wish I had an older brother that could help me when I needed him. I wished I had a younger sister I could protect."


Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, in an upstairs tenement at 415 Monroe Street [a] in Hoboken, New Jersey, the only child of Italian immigrants Natalina "Dolly" Garaventa and Antonino Martino "Marty" Sinatra. [3] [4] [5] The couple had eloped on Valentine's Day, 1913, and were married at the city hall in Jersey City, New Jersey they later got remarried in a church. [6] Sinatra weighed 13.5 pounds (6.1 kg) at birth. [7] His was a breech birth [7] he had to be delivered with the aid of forceps, which caused severe scarring to his left cheek, neck, and ear, and perforated his ear drum, damage that remained for life. [8] [9] Due to his injuries at birth, his baptism was delayed for several months. [7] A childhood operation on his mastoid bone left major scarring on his neck, and during adolescence he suffered from cystic acne that scarred his face and neck. [10] Some children called him "Scarface" when he was eleven this made him so angry he wanted to physically assault the doctor who had delivered him. [11] Sinatra was raised Roman Catholic. [12] [13]

—Sinatra's daughter Nancy on the importance of Dolly in Sinatra's life and character. [14]

When Sinatra's mother, Natalina, was a child, her pretty face earned her the nickname "Dolly". As an adult, she stood less than five feet tall and weighed approximately 90 pounds. Sinatra biographer James Kaplan describes her as having a "politician's temperament—restless, energetic, unreflective". [15] She was the daughter of a lithographer. [16] Born in Genoa in northern Italy, she was brought to the United States when she was two months old. [17] Dolly was influential in Hoboken and in local Democratic Party circles. [18] She used her knowledge of Italian dialects and fluent English to translate for immigrants during court proceedings, particularly those pertaining to requests for citizenship. This earned her the respect of local politicians, who made her a Democratic ward leader. [6] She was the first immigrant woman to hold that position in her local third ward, and reliably delivered as many as six hundred votes for Democratic candidates. [19] In 1919, she chained herself to city hall in support of the Women's suffrage movement. She also worked as a midwife, earning $50 for each delivery, a fair amount of money at the time. These activities kept Dolly away from home during much of her son's childhood. [15] [b] Sinatra biographer Kitty Kelley claims that Dolly also ran an illegal abortion service that catered to Italian Catholic girls, and was so well known for this doctors referred their patients to her, for whom she would travel as far afield as Jersey City and Union City. [21] [c]

Sinatra's father, Antonino – a small, blue-eyed, ruddy-complexioned man [17] – was from Lercara Friddi, near Palermo, Sicily. [3] His parents had originally been vineyard cultivators. [25] He arrived at Ellis Island with his mother and sisters in 1903, when they joined his father, Francesco Sinatra, who had immigrated to the US in 1900. [26] Francesco worked for 17 years at the American Pencil company, which "wrecked his lungs" according to granddaughter Nancy. [27] Antonino was a bantamweight boxer who fought under the name Marty O'Brien. [3] Though a boxer, who would talk "loud and rough", he had a gentle, reserved demeanor. [28] He retired from boxing in 1926, after having broken both wrists, and later found work on the docks as a boilermaker, but was soon laid off due to problems with asthma. [29] He served with the Hoboken Fire Department for 24 years, working his way up to Captain. [30] Kaplan claims that Marty never learned to read. [26]

In 1920, Prohibition of alcohol became law in the US. Dolly and Marty ran a tavern during those years, allowed to operate openly by local officials who refused to enforce the law. [20] Kaplan notes the possibility that the Sinatras procured their liquor from members of the American Mafia. They purchased the bar, which they named Marty O'Brien's, with money they borrowed from Dolly's parents. When they were busy with the tavern, Sinatra was watched by relatives and sometimes a Jewish neighbor named Mrs. Goldberg, who taught him Yiddish. [31] When Sinatra was six, his uncle Babe, Dolly's brother, was arrested for driving a getaway car after a Railway Express truck driver was murdered. Though Dolly attended his trial daily and attempted to evoke sympathy, her brother was convicted and sentenced to prison for 15 years. [32] Other family members had minor clashes with the law Sinatra's father and uncles had been arrested for assorted minor offenses. [33] Sinatra later recalled spending time at the bar, working on his homework and occasionally singing a song on top of the player piano for spare change. [34] During the Great Depression, Dolly provided money to her son for outings with friends, and for him to buy expensive clothes. [35] He also earned pocket money by singing on street corners. [36] Neighbors described him as the "best-dressed kid in the neighborhood" and the "richest kid on the block", aided by the fact that he was an only child, and had his own bedroom. [37] According to Kaplan, Dolly doted on her son, but she also abused him when he angered her, hitting him with small bat she kept at Marty O'Brien's. [38] Excessively thin and small as a child and young man, Sinatra's skinny frame later became a staple of his own jokes and those of the Rat Pack members during stage shows, one self-effacing joke being: "A little kid, skinny. So skinny my eyes were single file. Between those two and my belly button my old man thought I was a clarinet". [39]

Sinatra developed an interest in music, particularly big band jazz, from a young age, and became addicted to listening to the radio, "entranced by the new musical and comedy routines and captivated by the huge audiences they commanded", according to biographer Chris Rojek. [40] He began singing at a young age, sitting on top of the piano at his parent's bar in Hoboken, "Marty's O'Brien's. [41] Dolly was not enthusiastic at the idea of her son becoming a singer, but she realized when Sinatra was as young as 11 he had something. Sinatra later recalled: "One day, I got a nickel. I said "This is the racket". I thought, "It's wonderful to sing. I never forgot it." During his early teenage years Sinatra forced himself to develop his voice. wanting to "make something of himself". He listened heavily to Gene Austin, Rudy Vallée, Russ Colombo and Bob Eberly, and "idolized" Bing Crosby, adopting Crosby's props such as a sailor's cap and pipe in his own performances. [42] Sinatra's maternal uncle, Domenico, gave him a ukulele for his 15th birthday, and he began performing at family gatherings. [43]

Sinatra graduated from David E. Rue Junior High, [44] and enrolled at A. J. Demarest High School on January 28, 1931, where he arranged bands for school dances. [43] He left without graduating, having attended only 47 days before being expelled for "general rowdiness". [40] [44] The school principal, Arthur Stover stated that he "showed no real talent for anything", while Macy Hagerty, his Math teacher, described him as a "lazy boy" with "absolutely no ambition at all when it came to school". [45] Sinatra's father was particularly disappointed with his son, hoping that he would make it to college. Sinatra recalled his father scolding him in his strong local accent on the school step after Stover ordered Sinatra senior to "get him out", exclaiming, "What's the matter with you? You don't want to learn nothing?" [39] To please his mother, he enrolled at Drake Business School, but departed after 11 months. [43]

Sinatra's father, who knew that his son was interested in getting into show business, insisted that his son find a "real job" to avoid becoming a "bum" after leaving school. [39] Dolly found him work as a delivery boy at the Jersey Observer newspaper, where his godfather Frank Garrick worked, [d] and briefly as a riveter at the Tietjen and Lang shipyard. [47] She was also responsible for his job at the Union Club at 600 Hudson Street in Hoboken, run by Joseph Samperi, where he was paid $40 a week for five weeks. [48] He performed in local Hoboken social clubs such as The Cat's Meow and The Comedy Club, and sang for free on radio stations such as WAAT in Jersey City. [49] In New York he found jobs singing for his supper or for cigarettes. [43] Sinatra began taking 45-minute elocution lessons for a dollar an hour under New York-based vocal coach John Quinlan to improve his speech. Quinlan was impressed by his vocal range, remarking, "He has far more voice than people think he has. He can vocalize to a B-flat on top in full voice, and he doesn't need a mike either". Years later, Sinatra professed that he had never had a proper vocal lesson, but that Quinlan had simply helped him work on vocal calisthenics to "help the throat grow and add a couple of notes on the top and spread the bottom". [50]

In 1938, Sinatra found employment as a singing waiter at a roadhouse called The Rustic Cabin in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, for which he was paid $15 a week. The roadhouse was connected to the WNEW radio station in New York City, and Sinatra began performing with a group live during the Dance Parade show. [51] [52] Despite the low salary, he felt that this was the break he was looking for, and boasted to friends that he was going to "become so big that no one could ever touch him". [53] Fellow musicians began to resent his cocksure attitude, and according to one Jersey city musician, Sam Lefaso, Sinatra was mocked for displaying little talent and having a "tight, high voice", which sounded "awful". When they told him that he was a lousy singer, Sinatra would flare up, angrily cursing and swearing at the others. [54]

It was while working at The Cabin that he became involved in a dispute between his girlfriend Toni Della Penta, who suffered a miscarriage, and Nancy Barbato, a stonemason's daughter, in 1939. [32] Sinatra had met Barbato in Long Branch, New Jersey, where he spent most of the summer working as a lifeguard. [55] After Della Penta attempted to tear off Barbato's dress, Sinatra ordered Barbato away and told Della Penta that he would marry Barbato, several years his junior, because she was pregnant. Della Penta went to the police, and Sinatra was arrested on a morals charge for seduction. After a fight between Della Penta and Dolly, Della Penta was later arrested herself. [32] Sinatra married Barbato that year, [56] and Nancy Sinatra was born the following year. [57]


Drinking ritual

To cement a Sinatra friendship, it was almost a rite of passage to share a bottle with him. He didn't always misbehave while drinking. Saloons and restaurants with bars were his sanctuaries. His father owned Marty O'Brien's Tavern in Hoboken. Sinatra literally made his first nickel singing at his father's bar. He also met the mobsters that delivered Prohibition era liquor there. Marty Sinatra boxed for cash purses under an Irish name because the Irish ran New York area politics through their control of Tammany Hall. As the Italian gangs took control of the illegal liquor trade, Marty got jobs as a protector for their bootlegger trucks.

Sinatra first visited Palm Springs in 1944, after moving from New Jersey to Hollywood and being introduced to the desert by the asthmatic, philandering Van Heusen. Over the next 20 years, he fueled up or worshiped at the altars of the Chi Chi, Ruby's Dunes, the Biltmore, Howard's Manor, the Trinidad, Don the Beachcomber and Romanoff's on the Rocks, which Sinatra owned with an entourage of celebrities including Lauren Bacall and Beverly Hills restaurateur, Mike Romanoff.

The Chi Chi was booked by a disbarred attorney for the Chicago outfit, so it featured big name entertainment – Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee. Sinatra would drop in with an entourage including Van Heusen and Cahn, trumpeter Ray Anthony and Jack Benny's bandleader, Phil Harris. If they wanted to party on after closing time, Police Chief Gus Kettman would give a nod and house bandleader Bill Alexander would play as long as they wanted.

Ruby's Dunes was owned by Irwin Rubinstein, who took over the Dunes when Detroit mobster Al Wertheimer was chased out of town. In Sinatra's down-and-out years, Ruby fed him, engendering a loyalty that lasted forever. When Sinatra was back on top, he'd bring in pals like actors Yul Brynner and David Jansen, and baseball manager Leo Durocher. When Desert Memorial Park wasn't staffed to bury Ruby within 24 hours of his death, Sinatra demanded to pay whatever it cost to get him into the ground by sunset in accordance with Jewish tradition.

When Sinatra got a Nevada gaming license and opened his Cal Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe in the summer of 1962, Sinatra staffed it with pals from seasonal Palm Springs restaurants. Ruby was put in charge of the dining room. Andy Andrews, maître d' of the Howard Manor, assisted him. Eddie King, manager of Don the Beachcomber, became host of the showroom.

Frank Sinatra at Ruby's Dunes in Palm Springs. He's chatting with hostess Beau Wheat. (Photo: Desert Sun File Photo)

Drinking was Sinatra's way of coming down from concert performances that would drain most entertainers. On stage, he gave everything. He used his technical prowess to fuse the bel canto style of Italian opera with the conversational way of cabaret singers. He used his mastery of sense memories to relive the emotional moments of his life to make each individual audience member feel he was telling stories directly to them. "He did that every single night," says Pat Rizzo, who played saxophone in Sinatra's orchestra and then became a local nightclub singer. "I couldn't do that."

As Sinatra continued his late-night wind-downs, they became a way of life. He didn't give in to insomnia, he embraced it by seeking companions to drink with until dawn. Barbara earned kudos for being able to keep up with her husband. But, when she felt like going to bed, she went and didn't ask her husband to join her. "He's going to do what he wants to do and it didn't make any difference what I thought," she says.

Singer Steve Lawrence, who became a fringe member of Sinatra's entourage during the Sands years and ended up a Sinatra pallbearer, kept up with The Chairman on his 75th birthday world tour.

Cut to a hotel after a concert in Dublin, Ireland. A manager greets Sinatra and his entourage.

"Oh, Mr. Sinatra. My name is Jamie O'Brien. We're delighted to have your company. If there's anything we can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask."

"Thank you very much," Sinatra says. "Where's your bar?'

"Oh, I'm afraid we don't have one."

Sinatra's blood boils. Lawrence steps in.

"Excuse me," he says. "Don't you have a little place off the lobby, a little room where you could put a couple buckets and tables and chairs? Put some Jack Daniels or some vodkas in there?"

"Yes, we could do that," says the manager. In five minutes, the hotel has a bar. Sinatra walks in with a dozen people and they sit around a table, drinking as Sinatra holds court. He talks about the days he used to watch his old bandleader, Tommy Dorsey, play trombone and never seem to take a breath, and how he simulated circular breathing.

The entourage starts to peel off as the night wears on. Sinatra says to no one in particular, "Doesn't this bar have any music?"

Lawrence steps up again. "When we came in, there was a piano player in the lobby," he tells the manager. "Could you put him and the piano in the room? Mr. Sinatra would like to hear some music."

"Of course!" says the manager. In five minutes, the makeshift bar has a piano. The pianist asks Sinatra what he'd like to hear.

"I'd like to hear Oscar Peterson, but he's not here. Why don't you just play?"

So the pianist plays for four hours. The rest of the entourage leaves. Now it's just Lawrence and Sinatra with a bottle.

"I'm looking at those pretty blue eyes and we're talking about music and musicians and matters of the day," Lawrence says. "We were talking about (arrangers) Don Costa, Nelson Riddle – everything that was on his head. He says, 'It's unfortunate we can't make this a more beautiful place. The world is beautiful. Some of the people aren't too hot, but the world is gorgeous.'"

Dean Martin (from left), Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Van Heusen. (Photo: Van Heusen Estate)


Saying Farewell to ‘The Voice’

Robert Wagner broke down as he delivered one of the eulogies. Frank Sinatra Jr. eloquently said so long to his father. Kirk Douglas commented during another eulogy that with the legendary singer joining his deceased Rat Pack buddies, “heaven will never be the same.”

But as his funeral ended Wednesday, it was Sinatra who serenaded himself out.

The star-studded service at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills was a fairly traditional affair: a choir sang “Ave Maria” at the beginning the archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, delivered the homily.

But then, at the close, came Sinatra’s recorded voice wafting through the church, singing “Put Your Dreams Away.”

At that moment, singer Edie Adams recalled later, “I think we all lost it. It was the first time we heard Frank.”

The body of Sinatra, who died of heart failure last Thursday at 82, was later flown from Van Nuys to Palm Springs and laid to rest at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, where his parents are buried.

About 500 people attended the funeral--and just about as many spectators lined the sidewalk across Bedford Drive to the east of the church and along Santa Monica Boulevard on the other side.

Guests were a mixture of old Hollywood and not-so-old Hollywood--from Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn to Tom Selleck, squaring his shoulders to adjust his suit jacket as he made his way to the church, and Bruce Springsteen. Composer and record producer Quincy Jones, lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, singer Dionne Warwick and talk show host Larry King were among the guests. Comedians like Norm Crosby and Dom DeLuise--better known from variety shows and lounge acts than MTV and Letterman--were also there. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was in attendance. Comedian Don Rickles and singer Steve Lawrence were among the pallbearers. Other guests included Wayne Newton, Milton Berle, Tony Curtis, Diahann Carroll, Robert Stack, Joey Bishop, Angie Dickinson, Marlo Thomas, Phil Donahue, Tony Danza and Ed McMahon. Paramount Studios head Sherry Lansing and former MCA/Universal Studios chief Lew Wasserman attended the service as well.

All were required to flash glossy white invitation tickets that read in purple script, “Francis Albert Sinatra, Funeral Mass.”

In one poignant moment before the start of the Mass, Sinatra’s daughter Nancy laid her head in prayer against her father’s gardenia-draped coffin for several minutes. Nearby, Liza Minnelli embraced Mia Farrow, Sinatra’s third wife.

“He sang for the world for 60 years,” said Frank Sinatra Jr. during the two-hour service. “Today and last night, everyone sang for him, and he listened.”

Sinatra Jr., his father’s last bandleader, then looked at the casket and said, “So long, buddy, and take care of yourself.”

With sunlight pouring through the church’s stained-glass windows, Sinatra’s widow, Barbara, was the first to take communion from Mahony, who would later remember Sinatra’s philanthropic work.

“He saw to the needs of others,” the cardinal said.

Sinatra Jr. called his father a “reckless, rogue sentimental fella.”

“His favorite words,” recalled producer George Schlatter, “were ‘Jack’ and ‘Daniels.’ His least favorite: Take two.”

Douglas urged the crowd to celebrate the “man with a God-given talent.”

“Barbara, Frank loved you very much,” said Douglas, his voice only slightly slurred from a stroke. “We all know that, so don’t cry too much. Think of Frank up there with Dean Martin, up there with Sammy Davis Jr.”

Onlookers wedged themselves against waist-high barricades on Bedford, straining for a glimpse of a famous person stepping out of a limo. Malcolm Callen, 37, and his wife Rebecca, 35, tourists from Fort Deposit, Ala., took pictures and wrote down names of the stars they sighted. Mary Wooldridge, a letter carrier in the neighborhood, was carting a camera to snap pictures before starting her mail delivery.

Gail Wells, 52, brought her dog and staked out a position across Santa Monica Boulevard from the church. “I grew up with him--all my dating was done to Frank Sinatra music,” said Wells, who never saw the singer in concert. She said of the funeral, “This is the only thing I’ll go to that he’s at.”

Some stars who appeared as a skywriter created a giant heart in the blue sky were those whose appeal seems ageless. The crowd of onlookers cheered the appearance of Tony Bennett. When Debbie Reynolds stepped from a limo, wearing a black pillbox hat with a tiny swatch of black veil down the back, the crowd yelled her name. She smiled and gave a little wave. When Sophia Loren walked into the church, a school bus on Santa Monica just happened to get caught at a traffic light blocking the sight lines of photographers across the street poised to capture her image. “You blew Sophia Loren!” a photographer screamed in frustration at the bus.

The color of choice for clothing and vehicles was black. The men wore black suits, the women were attired in sleek black skirt suits and pants outfits and high heels. Many were ferried to the church in limousines and Lincoln Town Cars, Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, all of which came purring up to a waiting line of 15 valets uniformed in blue vests or red jackets.

Inside, the church was awash in white flowers, particularly gardenias, Sinatra’s favorite. The fragrance filled the sanctuary as guests listened to the cardinal’s homily and the eulogists offered their memories.

“I laughed and I cried, I laughed and I cried--we all did, it was a celebration of his life,” said Tom Dreesen, 53, a comedian who toured with Sinatra for 13 years and served as a pallbearer.

“His spirituality was really brought out--his love for people and for his country,” said Florence LaRue of the singing group the Fifth Dimension, which toured with Sinatra. “Most people were talking about how he liked to live. Someone said his idea of going out to dinner involved bringing your passport. He believed in the now, they said.”

Gently noted was Sinatra’s legendary temper. One guest quoted a eulogist: “Short fuse? He had no fuse!”

Several guests said afterward that as fulfilled as they were by the funeral, this service was not Frank doing it his way.

“Frank wouldn’t have liked it. Frank would have said, ‘Make it 10 minutes, and get it over with,’ ” said Dreesen. “But we loved it.”


Personal Life

Frank Sinatra married his childhood sweetheart Nancy Barbato in 1939. They had three children together—Nancy (born in 1940), Frank Sinatra Jr. (born in 1944) and Tina (born in 1948)�ore their marriage unraveled in the late 1940s.

In 1951, Sinatra married actress Ava Gardner after they split, Sinatra remarried a third time, to Mia Farrow, in 1966. That union, too, ended in divorce (in 1968), and Sinatra married for a fourth and final time in 1976 to Barbara Blakely Marx, the ex-wife of comedian Zeppo Marx. The two remained together until Sinatra&aposs death more than 20 years later.

In October 2013, Farrow made headlines after stating in an interview with Vanity Fair that Sinatra could be the father of her 25-year-old son Ronan, who is Farrow&aposs only official biological child with director Woody Allen. In the interview she also acknowledged Sinatra as the great love of her life, saying, "We never really split up." In response to the buzz surrounding his mother&aposs comments, Ronan jokingly tweeted: "Listen, we&aposre all *possibly* Frank Sinatra&aposs son."


Go Deeper

Andrew Mach is a former Digital Editor for PBS NewsHour in New York City, where he manages the online editorial direction of the national broadcast's weekend edition. Formerly, Mach was a news editor and staff writer for NBC News. He's also written for the Christian Science Monitor in Boston and had stints at ABC News, the Washington Post and German network ZDF in Berlin, in addition to reporting for an investigative journalism project in Phoenix. Mach was a recipient of the 2016 Kiplinger Fellowship, the 2015 RIAS German/American Exchange fellowship by the Radio Television Digital News Foundation and the 2012 Berlin Capital Program Fulbright. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a native of Aberdeen, South Dakota.


The last of Frank Sinatra’s four wives will be buried next to her famed crooner husband Tuesday after a public memorial service in the desert near Palm Springs.

Barbara Sinatra died of natural causes at her Rancho Mirage home last Tuesday while surrounded by family and friends, according to family spokesman John E. Thoresen, director of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation. she was 90.

The Las Vegas showgirl had been married to Marx Brothers legend Zeppo before her marriage to Sinatra.

She will be memorialized at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palm Desert during a ceremony that is open to the public. Sacred Heart’s Father Howard Lincoln also read Sinatra’s last rites.

Following the service, she will be buried next to Frank Sinatra at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City.

Barbara Sinatra’s Rancho Mirage home is in the upscale community just east of Palm Springs, and Palm Desert and Cathedral City are also desert cities near the better-known resort town.

The onetime model and Las Vegas showgirl tied the knot with Frank Sinatra in 1976 at Walter Annenberg’s Rancho Mirage estate, the first of only three couples to be married at what is now known as Sunnylands. They traveled the world together until his death in 1998.

In 1985, the couple began raising funds to establish the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children in Rancho Mirage, which advocates for children suffering the effects of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. The nonprofit center on the Eisenhower Medical Center campus also focuses on prevention, community education and breaking the generational cycle of abuse. It has provided treatment for more than 20,000 children through age 18 since its inception, according to Thoresen.

Sinatra chaired the children’s center’s Board of Directors and advocated on behalf of abused children throughout the United States and abroad. She also served on the Board of Trustees of the Princess Grace Foundation.

In 2016, the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation developed a series of animated videos entitled “The Protect Yourself Rules” for children in grades K-6. The videos are distributed to teachers, school counselors, after-school programs and parents, free of charge. In the past 11 months, the program has been shown to more than 700,000 children throughout the United States and in many foreign countries, according to Thoresen.

A 2011 book,”Lady Blue Eyes … My Life with Frank,” details Sinatra’s humble beginnings in Missouri, her life with her iconic husband and her philanthropic efforts.

Sinatra, who also maintained homes in Beverly Hills and Malibu, is survived by her son, Robert Marx, his wife, Hillary Roberts, and a granddaughter Carina Blakeley Marx.


Frank Sinatra’s Died Aged 82

Frank Sinatra died aged 82, on May 14th 1998. His wife Barbara and three children were all at his bedside.

Frank’s final few years had been filled with health problems, such as heart and breathing problems, pneumonia, bladder cancer, and dementia. His final words were “I’m losing.” He was buried with a pack of Camel cigarettes, a bottle of Jack Daniels, a lighter, and a dollar in dimes.

So, was Frank Sinatra a musical genius who should be looked on favorably, or was he a problematic and complicated character? Let us know what you think of him in the comments. And, i you’ve enjoyed this video, please like it and share it.


Watch the video: Frank Sinatra-Killing me softly (November 2022).

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