The Man Nobody Knows—Frank Sinatra
He has a hair-trigger temper. He loves chocolate bars, but hates chocolate malts. He owns a taxicab company in Philly and is perpetually torn between passionate loyalties and sudden disillusionments.
Today he is considered the most consistent record-album seller in the business, after nearly hitting bottom in 1951.
He can’t stand ashtrays with butts in them.
He. weighed thirteen-and-a-half pounds at birth. During the filming of Columbia’s “Pal Joey,” in which Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak scrap for his affections, he observed: “The less clothes girls put on, the more chance they have of losing a man.”
He is the most controversial figure in show business today.
He has a strong aversion to dirty money.
He’s a restless sleeper and a restless liver.
He has been known to make a transatlantic call merely to place a bet. His generosity is as monumental as his outbursts of anger.
His name is Francis Albert Sinatra.
He met his first wife, Nancy Barbato, in 1935, when he was nineteen and she, sixteen. He was singing for two dollars a night at local lodge meetings.
He has made millions and tossed it away.
He does not own a sports car—isn’t interested.
He is completely unpredictable—a chameleon of moods which can change a dozen times in twenty-four hours. He is an indefatigable worker for liberal causes. He possesses a superb collection of symphonic records, which he can discuss among experts.
He is inordinately fond of hotdogs embellished “with the works” and downed with a Coke.
His father was born in Sicily, and his grandfather, who came from Genoa, was a skilled lithographer. His mother insisted on dressing him “in sissy clothes” when he was a little boy. He cherishes very fond memories of his grandmother and a family neighbor, Mrs. Gordon. When he was a boy, she gave him a mezuzah, a Jewish religious charm. He always wears it.
He is 5’11” tall, has blue eyes and dark brown hair, and attended Demarest High School, Hoboken. He worked on a newspaper delivery truck after school hours.
His father, Martin, was a bantamweight prizefighter who fought under the name of Marty O’Brien.
It wasn’t long ago when all Frank had to lean upon was a microphone. Today he has fifty-five people working for or with him. “Suddenly, I’m a one-man industry.”
He owns the Atlantic City race track, sponsors a string of fighters, is stricken by sudden spells of self-doubt and can expound intelligently on politics, electronics or literature.
He has a low opinion of rock ’n’ roll, owns a powerful telescope and photographs excitingly.
He is a fair amateur painter—landscapes and clowns.
He carries a St. Genesius medal. On the back of it is a tiny Oscar in bas-relief and the inscription: “Dad, we’ll love you from here to eternity.” A present from Nancy, given him the evening before he got the Academy Award for his unforgettable Maggio in “From Here to Eternity.”
He’d rather eat alone than dine with “a table-hopper, a head-twister, or an arm waver. They’re about as relaxing as a blow to the Adam’s apple, and do just as much damage to the appetite.”
His house in Beverly Hills’ Coldwater Canyon is decorated in his favorite colors—black and white. His likes and dislikes are also black and white. There are no grays in his attitudes.
Frank Sinatra has two dominant passions—his work and his children, Nancy, sixteen; Frank, twelve, and Tina, eight.
He is paradoxical and impulsive and possesses a physical stamina that frequently wears out his more athletic associates.
His aspirations recognize their limitations: “I’ve got no hunger for a dramatic part on Broadway or in London, with people like Sir Laurence Olivier or John Gielgud. I’m not in their league.”
He married Nancy Barbato, his boyhood sweetheart, on February 4, 1939. They divorced October 30, 1951.
He is an avid reader, an impeccable dresser, and twenty-two years ago got his first break with the late Tommy Dorsey in a Paramount movie titled “Las Vegas Nights,” for which he was paid less than two hundred dollars a week.
He is fanatically orderly—suits, socks and shoes must always be in their proper place.
He heads his own record subsidiary company and is equally conversant with big-time gambling and the seamier side of prizefighting.
He gets fighting mad for the underdog.
He is an expert on Puccini and Berlioz. His mother Natalie, who dabbled in politics, was for many years a leader of the ward in which they lived. She was also the local midwife during his childhood.
He was born in the Hoboken apartment of his parents on December 12, 1915.
He visits art galleries, likes staying up late, and is constantly finding excuses to see his children, whom he adores.
He was the only actor whom nightclub comedian Joe E. Lewis, a friend of many years, would okay to portray him in Paramount’s “The Joker Is Wild.” He becomes so immersed in the role that Lewis was prompted to remark, “Frank had a better time playing my life than I had living it.”
Frank Sinatra has a keen sense of humor and loves to send and receive gag wires. When he read recently that his friend, Tony Curtis, had been hit in the eye by a flying arrow during the filming abroad of “The Vikings,” Frank sent him a two word cable: “Dope, duck!”
His former tendency towards a flashy wardrobe has been greatly modified; he now is most frequently seen in a plain dark suit with a solid-colored tie.
He was the prime influence in furthering the careers-of Jackie Gleason, Phil Silvers and Sam Davis, Jr.
He is violently defensive about his private life.
His Beverly Hills home was built for him by famous architect Paul Williams. It is decorated in Chinese modern. His closest friend is his personal manager—Hank Sanicola, whom he has known since his earliest days.
He is involved in many businesses but does not invest in oil. He prefers to invest in things he understands.
He smokes moderately, has no desire to own a yacht and thinks baseball and show business are very much alike. “I was up to bat many times through the years on the Hollywood lots before I blasted one (‘From Here to Eternity’) into the bleachers and became a star.”
He married Ava Gardner in Philadelphia on November 7, 1951, separated two years later, and was divorced last month.
He has a penchant for giving lavish and expensive gifts.
He follows a backbreaking schedule—films, records, television, stage appearances—but not for money or security. Simply, he is more relaxed and happy when he is up to his ears in self-expression. While engaged on one phase of his career, he is constantly thinking of the others. While doing a picture, his piano player, Bill Miller, is always on hand to run through a new song or a new arrangement whenever Sinatra has a break.
His home away from home is the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood, of which he is part owner. He visits it nearly every night. His other favorite restaurant is Romanoff’s in Beverly Hills, where he lunches every chance he gets. Mike and Gloria Romanoff are close friends.
is father was a member of the Hoboken fire department nineteen years. He got his first break in show business by appearing on Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour with a quartet known as the
Hoboken Four. The quartet flopped, but Frank made good with a solo of “Night and Day.”
He was paid $8,000 for his Oscar-winning role in “Eternity,” but the same studio, Columbia, paid him $150,000 for “Pal Joey,” plus unconditional ownership of thirty percent of the film in perpetuity.
He is fond of garlic, hates sweet pickles, has no patience for chess, and cannot abide “gabby women” and “personality boys.”
He is very proud of an Academy Award-winning movie short, “The House I Live In,” which he made as a plea for racial tolerance.
On a Christmas Day in Las Vegas, he once got up at seven, chartered a plane to Los Angeles, spent the day with his children and got back in time to do his show.
He is bored by football, wrestling and mystery stories. He hates short, droopy socks.
His advice to girls: “Don’t stalk a man, or you’ll wind up somewhere along the matrimonial creek without a paddle. Decide how often he begins to take you for granted. Go out with other men. Jealousy in small doses is insurance against boredom and familiarity.”
Frequently he sneaks away to his desert retreat in Palm Springs. “That’s where I really relax. I don’t dress. I don’t shave. I just sit. Even golf is too much work, although my house is next to a fairway.”
He cannot be induced to do a story in which he does not believe, for any amount of money. Contrary to what has been published about him, he numbers many columnists and newspapermen among his closest friends.
He is not affected by great heights, swims fairly.
He is particularly proud of the Hi-Fi set he designed for his Coldwater Canyon home.
Frank Sinatra’s is probably the most sensational career in the annals of the show world. He is equally at home in tragedy, comedy, farce, or simply as a nightclub entertainer.
He has been called “the man with the golden charm,” and with good reason—he holds an extraordinary fascination for women of all ages. He has never been described as handsome.
He is an indefatigable perfectionist in any work he undertakes. He frequently reads himself to sleep in the small hours of the night, and thus piles up an amazing amount of reading—all the magazines and best-sellers.
He is probably the champion telephoner in the business, calling someone every time he catches his breath. When Fat Jack Leonard, a friend of his, was ill in the East two years ago, Sinatra called the hospital at least once a day for weeks.
He decided to become a singer when he heard a Bing Crosby record in 1936. Now, thirteen years after his first hit, he still evokes cries of “Oh, Frankie” whenever he essays an old-time glissando.
He recalls his beginnings: “I used to sing in all kinds of joints. A guy never knew if he had a steady job until the boss said to him: ‘You’re eating with me.’ That phrase meant the job was yours.”
He followed the Major Bowes vaudeville tour doing a lot of sustaining programs around New York, after which he became singing m.c. and headwaiter at the Rustic Cabin roadhouse.
His attorneys and accountants, agents, producers and public relations advisors all play a part in his multifarious activities, including a young lady named Gloria Lovell, who is his executive assistant and “girl Friday.” She runs the Sinatra office in Beverly Hills and keeps the complex machinery well-oiled.
He still loves to make records—whether he sings on them or conducts the orchestra (as he did recently for an album of Peggy Lee songs). He personally selects the titles for his own record albums.
He collaborates with the artist in designing the covers.
His new television deal with ABC will bring him three million a year for twenty-eight shows, lifting his annual gross to more than four million dollars—possibly an all-time high.
He co-stars on the Bing Crosby-Frank Sinatra TV spectacular Sunday night, October 13. A novelty of the show is that it will be the first time Frank and Bing have appeared together on a live telecast.
His thoughts on women’s clothes: “A smartly dressed girl will catch a man’s roving eye faster than a girl in all-out bra and shorts. It isn’t what the masculine eye sees, but what it thinks it sees that counts. A lot of tomatoes think that all they have to do is give a man a bird’s-eye view of their assets, and he’ll drop to his knees with a proposal of marriage. They couldn’t be wronger.”
Frank Sinatra has been way down, even out and has come back stronger than ever. He happens to love every moment of it.
“I don’t work this hard for money. To me, the work is a satisfaction in itself. I am at ease when I work. I’m restless when I’m not working towards anything.
“I’ve got no plan, no wish for a lazy retirement. I just want to do what I can, as well as I can.”
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1957