Frank Sinatra was an accomplished singer, songwriter, and actor, whose award-winning career spanned over five decades. Known as Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Sultan of Swoon, The Voice, and Chairman of the Board, he was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on December 12, 1915, to immigrants. His mother, Natalina Della, was from northern Italy, and his father, Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, was a boxer, fireman, and bar owner from Sicily. A difficult delivery resulted in a punctured eardrum, which prevented him from later serving in the military during World War II.
In 1935, Sinatra saw Bing Crosby in concert and decided that he would become a singer. His first big break came in 1935. He had auditioned alone for the opportunity to appear on Major Bowes and His Original Amateur Hour, a radio talent show popular in the 1930s and 1940s. A trio, known as the Three Flashes, also auditioned. Producers decided to combine the two acts and renamed them the Hoboken Four. The group disbanded not long after.
Sinatra went solo, and during the 1940s he had 17 Top Ten Singles. He was known for his baritone voice and big band style of music. In 1941, Billboard named him Top Male Vocalist of the Year. He also won several Grammys during his career, including Album of the Year in 1959, 1965, and 1966. In 1973, Songwriters of America named Sinatra Entertainer of the Century.
He continued to sing, but in the 1950s began an impressive acting career as well, winning a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor (1954) for From Here to Eternity, and another for Best Actor (1958) for Pal Joey. Sinatra’s role in From Here to Eternity also won him the 1954 Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In 1960, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1973, he was presented with the Life Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild. Some of his other film credits include Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Guys and Dolls (1955), and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
During the 1960s, Sinatra started The Rat Pack, which consisted of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. They performed at The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. The Rat Pack starred in several movies together, including Ocean’s 11 (1960) and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964).
In 1980, Sinatra was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame. And in 1985 President Ronald Reagan presented Sinatra with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award for “distinguished civilian service in peacetime.”
Sinatra had three children from his first marriage with Nancy Barbato. His duet with daughter Nancy, “Something Stupid,” was Number One on the Billboard charts in 1967. Sinatra was also married to Johnston County’s own actress Ava Gardner, and later to actress Mia Farrow. He was married a final time in 1976 to Barbara Marks, and the couple stayed together until his death in 1998.
If Sinatra were alive today, he would have turned 103 years old this December (2018), and we at Life 103.1 are pleased to include in our “Timeless Favorites” playlist a number of his most popular hits, songs that are indeed timeless in their appeal.
(sinatra.com; biography.com; allmusic.com; rollingstone.com; imdb.com)