Frank Sinatra was a suave, and charismatic communist mafioso.
The singer, who would have been 104 today, was a pop culture figure whose shady business dealings were equally as notorious as his abusive womanizing. The stories that trailed him for the majority of his career paint a picture of a man walking hand in hand with his demons, balancing his public image as a romantic gentleman with the reality of his predilection for violence, heavy drinking, and shady business dealings.
Frank Sinatra - Strangers In The Night www.youtube.com
Frank Sinatra had a legendary temper, and anyone who personally knew him was fully aware of it. His first arrest was in 1938 when one of his girlfriends attacked his soon-to-be wife Nancy Barbato. The latter had Sinatra arrested for seduction and adultery.
Soon after his marriage to Barbato, which somehow proceeded, Sinatra briefly joined the esteemed Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Sinatra was quickly revealed to be narcissistic and controlling, at one point throwing a glass pitcher at Buddy Rich because he kept messing up his drum solos. Sinatra's relationship with his bandmates quickly crumbled, and the crooner set out on his own.
His first solo appearance was in New York's Paramount Theater around 1942, and the crowd allegedly went hysterical. It was then discovered that Sinatra had hired girls to scream for him during his set, not that he would be stopped by such fraudulence! He still scored a record deal with Columbia a year later, but shortly after the FBI began looking into him for connections to the mob because he was spotted visiting mob boss Lucky Luciano in Cuba. The press began to eat him alive, and he reacted violently to intrusive questions, at one point punching a reporter in the face, a matter he ultimately settled in court. Still, the cascade of bad press against him did little to change his image in the public eye until the 1960s.
Frank Sinatra interview www.youtube.com
In 1962, President Kennedy was meant to stay at Sinatra's Palm Springs mansion. In anticipation of his arrival, Sinatra installed a special suite in his house exclusively for the president and added amenities that included 25 extra phone lines and a helipad. Kennedy ended up staying with Bing Crosby instead, after getting word of Sinatra's ties to the mob. When Sinatra found out, he destroyed the suite and took a sledgehammer to the heliport he had built. His marriage with Nancy unraveled, as did his following marriage to Ava Gardner. The night before his second wedding, Gardner received a letter from an alleged prostitute, who said Sinatra had been sleeping with her for months.
In 1951, after a particularly brutal argument, Sinatra took a handful of sleeping pills to spite Gardner, in what would be the first of his many suicide attempts. Their marriage dissolved into infidelity, with Sinatra often publicizing his womanizing to spite Gardner. Nancy Bacall, who had a brief relationship with the singer, called him "terrifying." South African actress Juliet Prowess said: "After a few drinks he could be difficult." His fourth wife, Mia Farrow, whom he married in 1966 when she was 21 and he was 50, temporarily ended her career at Sinatra's request. She took a part in Rosemary's Baby despite Sinatra's furious protests, and the couple was divorced a few months later. Barbara Sinatra, his final wife, penned a piece to the Daily Mail, explaining his "terrifying mood swings," and "sadistic manipulation." So yes, happy birthday Ol' Blue Eyes, and good riddance.