From the mid-1940s Sinatra was America’s biggest music star. Idol of the Bobby Soxers, he was indeed the first pop star in the history of music. The singer has been billed as a healthy family man, with his wife Nancy and three young children, Nancy, Frank Jr and Tina. But the reality was typically very different. Not only was he extremely famous and incredibly talented, the star also had a few advantages over most men.
As her film career also began to flourish, Sinatra began sleeping with a succession of major starlets and goddesses on the big screen, from Lana Turner and Angie Dickinson to Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland.
Actress and close friend Ruta Lee described the extraordinary power her famous eyes had over women: “Those fabulous Frank Sinatra blue eyes were so piercing. When he was with you those blue eyes stayed with you, you felt like he was entering your soul. It was something incredible.
However, another friend also revealed a little more personal detail.
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Gardner divorced Rooney in 1943, but then married actor and conductor Artie in 1945. It was short-lived and for the remainder of the decade his affair with Sinatra accelerated.
Between endless rowing and sex, their relationship was notoriously as explosive by day as by night. Sinatra said; “If we hadn’t killed each other during the day, we might have killed each other in bed. “
Gardner biographer Anthony Uzarowski said: “It was toxic and explosive. Frank’s mansions in Palm Springs still bear the scars of those fights. A bottle of champagne was thrown in the sink and a lump is still visible today.
When the case became public, his fans were disappointed to discover that their idol was deeply flawed. His musical career was already failing and he was abandoned by his agent, publicist and record company.
In October 1951, Nancy granted him a divorce and he immediately married Ava but nothing changed in their tumultuous relationship. The marriage was in trouble within two years.
Russo said, “She drove him crazy, crazy. I spent many nights with him crying like a little child because he loved her so much.
For the first time in her life, Sinatra had lost all power in a relationship. When Gardner flew to Africa to film Mogambo in 1953, he followed her as a big romantic gesture, but she clearly wasn’t excited to see him.
Lee said, “It broke his heart.”
Still, Sinatra managed an extraordinary comeback. With his film and musical career seemingly over, he landed a role in From Here To Eternity in 1953 with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. Rumors were that the studio didn’t want him, but Sinatra’s Mafia dealings smoothed the way. Others say Gardner got some favors. Either way, it paid off and the star ended up winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
At the same time, his musical career was revived when he straddled the latest swing craze, starting with his comeback hit I’ve Got The World On A String. Sadly, her professional success has not been matched at home.
Uzarowski explained why: “Ava said that as soon as things started going well for him, he returned to his arrogant ways, which she hated… Their relationship suffered because they didn’t trust each other. “
This suddenly became clear when she traveled to London for a secret abortion in 1952. When Catholic Sinatra found out about it, it was devastating.
Uzarowski added: “It was heard that she should have killed him for what she did to him and the baby.”
At the same time, Sinatra’s return to blatant feminization enraged his wife. Gardner issued a press release announcing that their marriage was over in October 1953, although the divorce was not finalized until 1957.
Russo said, “Ava Gardner destroyed it. He went to his agent’s apartment. He tried to kill himself.
Sinatra was discovered just in time and rushed to hospital. He was back on TV a few days later in The Colgate Comedy Hour with Jimmy Durante. It is possible to see the bandages in his left wrist.
After the divorce in 1957, Sinatra had a short-lived marriage with Mia Farrow from 1966 to 1968.
It will take him almost a decade before he finally settles down with his third wife, Barbara, who is finally credited with the stability of his life and the severing of her ties to the Mafia. They married in 1976 and were together until Sinatra’s death in 1998.
SINATRA: THE KING OF CROONERS ON CHANNEL 5
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