Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Frank Sinatra was a legendary performer and had roles in a multitude of movies and musicals. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the film From Here to Eternity. Of course, being more well known for his singing, Sinatra got his start in the Big Band Era with the likes of Tommy Dorsey.
Here is an interesting note. In the movie the 1972 movie, The Godfather starring Al Pacino and Marlon Brando, a famous crooner, named Johnny Fontane performed at Vito Corleone's daughter's wedding. Like Sinatra, the fictional Fontane was adored by the Bobby Soxers of the 1940's. In the movie, Fontane told the Godfather that he was looking to star in a war picture that “would be perfect for him” but the studio head, Jack Woltz refused to give Fontane the part. This is the big horse head sequence of the movie. People thought this was a reference to Frank Sinatra and the role he wanted in a war picture called “From Here to Eternity”. However, Sinatra was not refused a role in the movie by the studio head of Columbia Pictures, Harry Cohn. Sinatra did get a part in the movie because he was “perfect for the role” of a diminutive soldier who gets beat up by Ernest Borgnine in the movie.
However, the role of the Mob did come into play in Sinatra's real life when Tommy Dorsey would not let Sinatra out of his contract. It is said that three men approached Dorsey and made him an offer he could not refuse and Dorsey let Sinatra out of his contract for one dollar. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, Frank Sinatra was adored by the New Jersey mob boss who was reported as being one of the three men who visited Dorsey. Being known as the man whose songs have put many a person in a romantic mood, while being a guest on the Johnny Carson Show, Johnny jokingly asked Sinatra who's records he listens to when he wants to be in a romantic mood.
Another famous Frank Sinatra staple was the entourage that went around with him when he began performing in Las Vegas. Known as the Rat Pack, they consisted of other performers and movie stars such as Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Lorre.
Frank Sinatra crooned his way into everyone's hearts then and for generations of people to come. Three of his more popular songs are My Way, Strangers in the Night and and the remake of (Theme from) New York, New York.
Sadly, Frank Sinatra passed away this day in history, May 14th, 1998. Although he is gone now, his music will live on forever.