Historical Account of the Rat Pack

Historical Account of the Rat Pack

Hipsville would like to introduce you to the Rat Pack stars from the past ....
Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop & Dean Martin ....

Frank Sinatra Biography

Frank Sinatra Biography

  • Born: Dec. 12, 1915, in Hoboken, N.J. He wasn't breathing when born. Grandmother held him underwater until he gasped. Was the son of a firefighter.
  • Died: May 14, 1998, at 10:50 p.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; died of heart attack.
  • Full name: Francis Albert Sinatra.
  • Wives: Last wife was Barbara Marx; formerly married to childhood sweetheart Nancy Barbato, actresses Ava Gardner & Mia Farrow.
  • Children: Frank Jr. and Nancy Sinatra, who sang hit 1970s song "These Boots Were Made for Walking."
  • Names: Also known as Chairman of the Board, Ol' Blue Eyes and The Voice. Other names included Lean Lark, Croon Prince of Swing, Moonlight Sinatra, Groovey Galahad, and Svengali of Swing.

Frank Sinatra Biography

  1. Born December 12, 1915 an only child whose parents dreamed of his studying to be a Civil Engineer.
  2. Attended Demarest High School (Hoboken, NJ) and participated in all sports.
  3. Sinatra's favorite passion is prizefighting. Was a "close friend" of Tami Mauriello, a heavyweight contender in 1943.
  4. Hated mathematics!
  5. Worked for the circulation manager of the Jersey Observer newspaper. He first started out riding news trucks, and later was promoted to copy boy.
  6. He wanted to be a reporter. When told by the editor that copy boys "don't know enough to be reporters," Frank went to a secretarial school and enrolled in a Journalism class, studying English, typing, and shorthand. Finally, the editor relented and made Frank a cub sports reporter. Frank covered various school games he actually played himself. He was 18 years old at the time.
  7. When it came to learning how to sing, Frank did it by singing. He never read a note, and never took a lesson. He did however enjoy spending summers playing a ukulele on the beaches of the Jersey Shore.
  8. One of Frank's idols was Bing Crosby. After hearing Bing sing one night in 1935, he told his date Nancy Barbato (who one day would be his wife) that he just had to be a singer. Bing's voice would be his role model for tone and phrasing styles in his own singing later on.
  9. To get people interested in hearing him sing, he performed in neighborhood theater amateur shows, where you could win $10 or a set of dishes! He went from one movie house to the next. In attendance was Demarest alumni, who once watched him play basketball!
  10. Won a prize on Major Bowes Amateur Hour, which landed him his first professional contract: $25 per week for being a singer, headwaiter, master of ceremonies, and a comedian at a country roadhouse called The Rustic Cabin in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The time period was 1938. At the same time, he began taking a dozen quarter-hour sustaining programs every week over 4 local, New Jersey radio stations. Frank's cash take for these events amounted to 70 cents a week for carfare. Anyway it was around 1938 and people were beginning to hear Sinatra.
  11. Harry James heard Frank sing at The Rustic Cabin in 1939 and signed him to a two-year contract as lead vocalist in James' new band. This was June of 1939. Sinatra would be associated with Harry James for only six months.
  12. At a musician's benefit in Chicago (December 1939), Tommy Dorsey approached Frank and told him he was looking for a vocalist. Frank was delighted and told Dorsey: "I've been trying for years to sing the way you play trombone." That was the beginning of a three-year relationship between Sinatra and Dorsey. It was at this time that Frank acquired the rabid following of young fans, which enabled him later to branch out as a solo artist. It was also at this time that Frank's career soared.
  13. Frank always wanted to serve his country. However, on December 9, 1941, three days shy of his 26th birthday, he was classified as "4-F" at the Newark Induction Center because of a "punctured eardrum." Frank earned this from a playmate on a deserted street in Hoboken (the boy swung a bicycle chain at Frank during a fight) . Amazingly, it kept him out of the Armed Forces in 1941 when it was time for him to report.
  14. He married his childhood sweetheart, Nancy Barbato in February of 1939. The bowties you see from a lot of old photos were compliments of Nancy herself. She knitted them to hide Frank's huge Adam's Apple!!
  15. Around November of 1946, Columbia Records estmated that Frank was recording an average of 24 songs per year, enabling them to issue one new Sinatra record a month. At that time, his records were selling at an annual rate of 10 million per year!!
  16. A talent agency marketing his voice advertised it as:"The Voice That Thrilled Millions." This sweeping phrase was condensed by a weary journalist to simply, "The Voice." The name, as you know, stuck to him ever since.
  17. In the Fall of 1942, eager to go out on his own and to get out of his contract with Dorsey, he pledged one third of his future gross earnings to Dorsey, and another 10% of his future gross to Dorsey's manager, Leonard Vannerson.
  18. Manny Sacks and William Paley of the Columbia Recording Corporation took a chance on recording Frank as a soloist. Both Columbia and MCA (Frank's new talent agency) freed Sinatra from Dorsey and Vannerson by paying them $60,000. The year was 1948.
  19. Always hated cops. With some of his first wages from the Jesey Observer, Frank bought new clothes. While parading them around in Hoboken, the cops saw them and wanted to know were he got them from. "Ya copper, what's it to you?" he said to them. When they got through with him he was torn, tattered, and a bloddy mess; ribs cracked, his nose smashed, and his face and body horribly swollen. From that day on, all authority has sent him a little berserk!
  20. "The House I Live In," made at the peak of Sinatra's popularity earned him a special Academy Award in 1945.
  21. Frank was first linked to the Mafia in February 1947 in a gossip column report that stated he was seen in Havana with mobster Lucky Luciano. Later, in 1949, he was tied to both the Mafia "and" the Communists. The Committee on Un-American Activities said he followed or appeased some of the Communist Party line program. Sinatra has flat out denied any involvement with the Communist Party. Apparently, these accusations continued. On April 8, 1947, Sinatra punched Hearst gossip columnist Lee Mortimer at Ciro's (Hollywood's hot night spot). The Hearst papers went wild, running whole pages on this incident, and repeated stories on the Mafia/Communist charges. Sinatra said he punched Mortimer because the columnist called him a "dago"! 22. 1949 was Sinatra's "rock bottom" year. He was fired from his radio show; 6 months after that his New York concerts flopped. Soon, his personal life was falling apart as fast as his career. He and Nancy were splitting. His affair with Ava Gardner had become an open scandal. Columbia Records wanted him out. In 1950, he was released from his MGM film contract, and his own agent, MCA, dropped him. He was a has-been at 34.
  22. Frank was sick, broke, and reduced to borrowing from Ava Gardner. His career and personality were near shambles. Friends Toots Shor, Hank Sanicola, and Jimmy Van Heusen, etc. tried to get him into getting hold of himself. As it turned out, Frank Sinatra saved Frank Sinatra! He read James Jones' From Here To Eternity, and knew that the part of Maggio, the tough little Italian who refused to be broken, could have been written for him. He went to see Buddy Adler (Columbia Pictures Producer) and asked to be tested for the part. Adler had 5 other actors ahead of Sinatra to test. Frank, then went to Henry Cohn (head of Columbia pictures) to sell himself for the role. Frank sold Cohn, got the part, and the rest is as they say, history!
  23. Sinatra, who plays Montgomery Clift's soldier-buddy in
  24. From Here To Eternity, underwent several hours of military training every day to prepare for his role as Maggio.
  25. Frank accepted $8,000 for his role as Maggio in From Here To Eternity. He had been getting $150,000 per picture prior to this.
  26. As you know, Frank won an Academy Award for his portrayl as Maggio in
  27. From Here To Eternity. His comeback had started!! Within a few months hew was back on his feet, making Guys and Dolls, The Tender Trap, and The Man With The Golden Arm. He signed a new recording contract with Capitol Records and his singing was better than ever on actual records and in personal appearances. Three records: ("Young At Heart," "Learnin' The Blues" and "The Tender Trap") were million copy sellers. Capitol later released Songs For Swinging Lovers and NBC offered him a multimillion dollar, write-his-own-ticket TV contract.
  28. Frank's support of then Senator JFK was well documented and filmed. However, Kennedy's campaign advisors worried about Sinatra's Mafia aura and expressed the hope that the singer would keep his distance from the Senator, while still recognizing Frank's valuable contributions to event organization. After JFK had won the Presidential Election (1960), and in a gesture of classic macho deference, Sinatra offered to share a prize girlfriend, Judith Campbell Exner, with the President. Kennedy liked the idea and began an affair with Exner. (Sinatra's musical hit that year, appropriately enough, was "All The Way"). Then Sinatra went too far; he introduced Exner to Chicago Mob leader Sam Giancana. Bobby Kennedy, in the middle of a campaign to crush the Mafia, put a stop to his brother's involvement with Exner, and ultimately, strongly reiterated the need for Jack to stay free and clear of Sinatra. The Kennedy's had been planning to stay with Sinatra in Frank's Palm Springs compound. Sinatra had remodeled his house in anticipation of the presidential visit. At the last minute, JFK announced they stay instead with Bing Crosby-who wasn't even a Democrat!! To the public, and to Frank, it was an inexplicable snub. He got even with Bobby later in the 1968 California primary by supporting Humphrey. Frank later discovered the Humphrey campaign had the same reservations that the Kennedy campaign had had, and he quietly left.
  29. Of all the success Frank endured, his private life remained disturbed. Shortly after (or during?) his split with Ava, Frank had been reported serious about only two women: Lauren Bacall (widow of Humphrey Bogart), and Juliet Prowse (a talented dancer from South Africa). Never quite knowing if he wanted serious relations or total freedom, he seemed at this time to develop an allergy to the word "marriage." Whenever it was mentioned, he would get an itch to run!! And ran he did, with his buddies-The Rat Pack (Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop).They would make movies together, sing together, and tour together. They even had their own lingo!! However, during these times, Frank continued to be a good father to this children. He was hard to figure out, in terms of what lifestyle he preferred.
  30. Sinatra married Mia Farrow in 1966. He just finished an album he called "September of My Years." At this time, Frank was 51, Mia was 21. A sixties rebel and opposed to the Vietnam War, Sinatra's friends claimed he "digged her brains." They were separated 16 months later in November of 1967 acknowledging that they spent little time together.
  31. Frank's key moment in shifting from left to right wing politics seem to have come during his retirement years (circa 1971-1972). The key moment came when the House Crime Committee held a new investigation of Sinatra's mob ties in 1972. The main evidence against him was the testimony of a confessed hit man who said that a New England Mafia boss had boasted that Sinatra was "fronting" for him as part owner to two resort hotels. The committee called Sinatra. The committe counsel later admitted (even to Frank himself) that the evidence was all hearsay.
  32. Sinatra explained his actual shift in political thinking in a New York Times Op-Ed piece he wrote right after his appearance before the committee. His old politics of "standing up for the little guy" had been altered. He saw his subpoena as a prime example of big government oppressing a little guy. He now embraced the right-wing populism that defined the principal oppressor of the little guy.
  33. Sinatra's Vital Stats in 1964: Height: 5'11" Weight: 155 lbs. Hair: Dark Brown
  34. In the mid-1960's, Frank's favorite New York bar was Jilly's Saloon (256 West 52nd Street - currently closed). Sinatra met Jilly in Miami Beach when performing at the Fontainebleau. They hit it off immediately.
  35. Sinatra announced his retirement on March 23, 1971. At the time, he wanted to spend more time with his family and perhaps write. However, he was back in the studio on April 30, 1973 to record tracks for his Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back LP. Obviously, he didn't last long in retirement!
  36. Sinatra dislikes women who smoke or drink too much or who wear heavy perfume. He dislikes roast lamb, fair-weather friends, green salads, phonies, complainers, and weshers. He is, of course, the perfect host. A great Italian cook! He lets people believe he is out swinging every night of the week, when actually he is often home reading. He is a best-seller addict, and has an insatiable interest in history. He has an excellent eye for quality French Impressionist paintings. He is what Rosalind Russell called: "a fake drinker" ... more often than not, he talks more about drinking than he actually imbibes. He believes the Lennon/McCartney song "Yesterday" is one of the best songs ever written, and strongly feels that prizefighter Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest he ever saw.
  37. Sinatra was an only child of Italian parents, and they spoiled him. From the beginning, this only child had money. His father was a fireman, but his mother was a popular Democratic ward leader. Frank had a charge account at a local department store and a wardrobe so fancy that his friends called him "Slacksey." He had a secondhand car at 15!! And in the depths of the Depression, after dropping out of high school, he had the ultimate luxury, a job unloading trucks at the Jersey Observer.
  38. During filming of his movies, Sinatra insisted on one or two takes. This had led to careless, even shoddy productions. A clear example of this can be seen in 1970's Dirty Dingus Magee.
  39. In 1974, Frank told Daily News columnist Kay Gardella that it was Billie Holiday, who he first heard in 52nd Street clubs in the 1930's, who was - and still remains - the greatest single musical influence on him.
  40. Back in 1963, the Nevada Gaming Control Board charged that the Chicago mobster Sam Giancana had been a week-long guest at Sinatra's Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe. The Gaming Control Board sought to revoke Sinatra's casino gambling license. After debating the issue, Sinatra chose not to fight the revocation order. Apparently, his friendship with Giancana was more important than his investment in Nevada,and he sold his interests for $3.5 million.
  41. Frank's father - Anthony Martin Sinatra - ran a saloon when he wasn't working for the fire department. His father was a blue-eyed Sicilian,close-mouthed, passive, and in his own way, tough. He once boxed as "Marty O'Brien" in the years when the Irish ran northern New Jersey.
  42. Dolly Sinatra, Frank's mother, was born Natalie Garaventi. When Frank was born, she was disappointed. Why? She wanted a girl! In fact, prior to his birth, she had already bought lots of pink clothes. She dressed Frank in those pink outfits, rather than discard them.
  43. When Frank released Trilogy in 1980, it was heralded as his best work in 15 years. Rolling Stone stated that he was "deeper and rawer in his bass register, lighter and more inflective in the baritone range. In concert, the voice sounded impossibly big, animative, cunning, and formidable. It was as if the presence of an audience somehow impelled him to renewed levels of ingenuity and intensity."
  44. Don Costa stuff: Costa was one of the few certifiable legends in pop music history; over 280 chart records in more than 30 years; producer; arranger and friend to a galaxy of musical luminaries including Frank Sinatra. Produced/arranged a number of Sinatra LPs: She Shot Me Down, Some Nice Things I Missed, Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back, The Main Event, Cycles, Sinatra and Strings, etc. Actually wrote the melody on one track for She Shot Me Down, entitled "Monday Morning Quarterback."
  45. Frank Sinatra married Barbara Marx on July 11, 1976. She was formerly married to one of the 4 famed "Marx Brothers," Zeppo Marx. Barbara Sinatra was born in Missouri. She moved to Wichita, Kansas during the Second World War, and upon the War's conclusion, moved to California, where she remains with Frank to this day. When she first arrived in California, she settled in Long Beach and ran a modeling school and consulted to the Miss Universe Beauty Pageants. She had an 8-month stint as a Las Vegas showgirl and did some modeling for a fashion designer in Los Angeles.
  46. Frank's real estate (as of 1983): The Rancho Mirage Compound (Palm Springs, California); Waldorf Towers Apartment (NYC); large house (Los Angeles). Frank loves LA and NY the most. On the other hand, Barbara loves New York City the most. She enjoys attending social events, art museums, plays, and Broadway shows.
  47. At Rancho Mirage during the early 1980's, Frank and Barbara Sinatra feel most at ease out of all of the homes they own together. There are "his" and "hers" cactus gardens; door mats monogrammed BAS (for her) and FAS (for him)!! There's a swimming pool and tennis court, guest houses and green spaces and a projection room in old railroad caboose, where he also keeps his collection of model trains. Barbara loves animals, particularly dogs. At one point, at the Compound, there were as many as eight dogs!
  48. In the early 1980's, Sinatra performed in Rio de Janeiro before the largest audience (175,000 people) ever to attend a concert by a soloist-the event, at the time, was recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records. As an aside note, Frank has also set box office records performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
  49. Various Awards: Frank received special awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. In 1983, he was one of 5 recipients to receive a Kennedy Center Honor. That same year he received two honors of distinction. Variety Clubs International, the show business charity, saluted him for his achievements as an entertainer and a humanitarian. As a tribute to him, the Sinatra Family Children's Unit for the Chronically Ill, was established at the Seattle Children's Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center. In 1979, Frank wins the Trustees Award in acknowledgment of his lifetime of devotion to the high standards of recording artistry. In early 1994, the Recording Industry Association of America awarded Frank Sinatra with his first multi-platinum record in his 55-year career, for 2 million units sold of the all-star vocal collection, Duets. This was Sinatra's first "multi" platinum record. He scored "platinum" with Strangers In The Night in 1966, and Greatest Hits in 1968. In addition, Frank has racked up 21 gold albums in his career.
  50. Grammy Awards: Only The Lonely wins for Best Cover Art (1958); Come Dance With Me wins Album of the Year and Best Male Vocal (1959); September of My Years wins Album of The Year; "It Was A Very Good Year" wins Best Male Performance (1965); Sinatra: A Man And His Music is named Album of The Year. Strangers In The Night wins Record Of The Year and Best Male Vocal Performance (1966); Grammy Legend Award (1994).
  51. Harry Connick Jr. on Frank Sinatra: "Sinatra is the total master of vocal technique. He was the first at holding phrases for such a long time, sliding from note to note. The way he can get vibrato on the high notes - it's amazing. Then there is his breath control, the way he can hold phrases for 20 or 25 seconds. The best example is on 'Old Man River' from The Concert Sinatra album. He must have an extra set of lungs; I wish he kept them in my chest."
  52. Frank's three children (all conceived with first wife Nancy): Nancy Sandra - born in 1940; Franklin Wayne Emmanuel (Frank Jr.) - born in 1944; and Christina (Tina) - born in 1948. Nancy and Frank Jr. were born in Jersey City; Tina was born in LA.
  53. Out of all the songs Frank's recorded, the one he "hates" the most is "Strangers In the Night."
  54. Frank Sinatra has faced triumph, failure and triumph again throughout his long career as an entertainer. New musical fads and trends-bebop, soft rock, hard rock, punk, rap, hip-hop-come and go, but somehow the Sinatra show that exploded half a century ago beats on into the 1990's.
  55. (Rolling Stone, 1980) "What Sinatra did was important: he took the songs of Porter, Gershwin, Arlen, Cahn, Fein, and others and made them seem personal and imperative. It was an eloquent display of his paradoxical brand of artistry; touch, yet sensitive, vain yet compassionate, grasping yet generous. And when Sinatra left the stage, we realized we might never witness artistry that big and that provocative, again."
  56. Frank Sinatra developed a unique white-blues style, supple enough to express the wide range of his own turbulent emotions. He transformed the tunes of the great writers into something personal by the sincerity of his performance; Sinatra actually seemed to "believe" the words he was singing.
Text by - This Is Sinatra

 

Historical Account of the Rat Pack

Frank Sinatra Biography
Rat Pack Archive

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