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Frank Sinatra Essay

976 words - 4 pages


My speech today is on not just a man, but a man who owns tens of millions of recordings, nine Grammy’s and two Academy Awards, some 60 films, worldwide tours, television specials, and hundreds of millions of dollars raised for charities. In sheer productivity, few popular artists could touch the hem of his tuxedo jacket. In pure, smoldering style, he was unexcelled. His rueful, macho star power ensured that the music and lyrics of the swing era would resonate throughout the later years of the 20th Century - despite a near-endless string of horror stories about his vulgarity, hot temper and alleged ties to organized crime. Frank Sinatra was alluring and powerful not despite his contradictions, but because of them. He was bigger than life, but human as the next guy, and keenly aware of his public persona's many sides. And yet he knew, deep down, that the music - The Voice - was clear enough, powerful enough and passionate enough to eclipse the public's darkest doubts about Sinatra the man. Francis Albert Sinatra was born Dec. 12, 1915, the only child of working-class Italian-American immigrants, in a tenement at 415 Monroe St. in Hoboken, New Jersey. His father, Anthony, was a boxer-turned-fireman; his mother, Natalie "Dolly" Sinatra, was a former barmaid who often sang at family gatherings. Their home and their neighborhood rang with the sounds of the Italian bel canto style of singing, which Sinatra said inspired him to sing. In high school, he saw his hero, crooner Bing Crosby, perform live, an event that inspired him to become a solo vocalist. Between working various jobs at The Jersey Observer, Sinatra sang with a neighborhood vocal group, the Hoboken Four, and appeared in neighborhood theater amateur shows, where first prize was usually $10 or a set of dishes. His first professional gig was at the Rustic Cabin roadhouse in Englewood Cliffs (my Grandmother saw him perform there way back when), where Sinatra sang, told jokes and played the role of emcee when he wasn't waiting tables. He also continued his 4-year love affair with hometown sweetheart Nancy Barbato, who would later become his first wife and the mother of his three children – Nancy, Frank Jr., and Tina. Sinatra later hit it big with the Tommy Dorsey Band, performing with Dorsey until he decided to go solo. Wooing crowds of "booby-soxers," Sinatra garnered his nickname, "The Voice." In the late 1940’s, Sinatra met the sultry Ava Gardner. Their much publisized affair led to Sinatra’s divorce for his first wife Nancy, and he married Ava in 1951. Within 2 years they were separated, and divorced in 1957. She was the love of his life, and loosing her devastated Sinatra. He never completely recovered. But he had a good time trying! Sinatra has been linked to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Zsa Zsa Gabore, Natalie Wood, Marilyn Monroe, and Jackie Onnassis. He was married four times, the later two to Mia Farrow, and Barbara Marx....

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