Francis Albert Sinatra, born December 12, 1915, left us on May 14 1998, but for fans the memories and the melodies linger on, hence my Sinatra column encore.
Thanks to the tabloids, the devil side of Sinatra is well known to the public, however, the angel side of Sinatra is well known to God. And I have that information direct from his representative here on earth, which I quote from Frank Sinatra and the lost art of Living’, “The Way You Wear Your Hat” by Bill Zehme. When Frank’s mother, Dolly, visited Pope Paul VI in Rome, the pontiff said in Italian, “Your son is very close to God”. She asked me what he meant and he replied “because he does God’s work and does not talk about it”. And the Pope was “right on”, through the years Frank’s deeds were anonymous ones: Hospital bills were mysteriously paid, nuns found new school buses in their yards, impossible negotiations were suddenly resolved, underdogs got jobs, has-beens got second chances, friends of acquaintances were flown to medical specialists for life-saving surgeries, schools got new gymnasiums, churches got new steeples, children got new pets and jerks got their comeuppance.
Frank Sinatra was the most influential vocalist of the 20th century. His was an incomparable personality whose impact will be left for generation to come. And through his music Frank Sinatra was a friend to millions, a comfort during sad times and co-celebrant at happy times and special occasions… People from all walks of life were the beneficiaries of Frank’s acts of kindness. His responsiveness to others knew no limit and hard luck cases never found a softer touch. “Once his friend, you’re his friend for life”, said director Vincente Minelli or as Burt Lancaster put it: “If you say to Frank ‘I’m having a problem’, it becomes his problem”. When the late George Raft was in desperate straits financially, after the I.R.S. hit him for 85 grand in back-taxes, Frank gave the actor a blank check to take care of it. Frank’s generosity still keeps giving, to those in need, via the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center in California. Internet users can find out about the charitable work begun by Frank and wife Barbara Sinatra, which thanks to the support of friends and fans continues to thrive.
The Frank Sinatra Celebrity Golf Classics and related events have raised millions of dollars for the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center located at 39000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, California 92270, telephone (760) 340-2336. The organization provides individual and family therapy and special programs that address issues associated with the affects of child abuse and neglect. The center is an effective voice for children and the out patient Center stands as a symbol of Barbara and Frank Sinatra’s unwavering commitment to children in peril. The 25th annual Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational, benefiting the Center was held earlier this year at the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, California. www.franksinatragolf.com for more info.
More Memories: Frank Sinatra was awarded the “Grand Ufficiale” of the Order of the Republic of Italy in 1979. At a reception held at the residence of the Consul General, Dr. Amadeo Cerchione, Frank Sinatra made these remarks after receiving his award: “Mr. Minister, Representatives and Friends of the Italian Government, Ladies and Gentlemen: I am humbled. I am proud. I am American and I am Italian. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the honor you do my family today. My father, God bless him, would have burst his buttons to know his kid received the highest honor given to a civilian by the Italian Government. And my blessed mother would have gone door to door to tell the neighbors the good news.
For both of them- I also thank you. I accept your award not as its rightful or deserving owner – I accept rather on behalf of the countless Americans proud of their Italian heritage who deserve it much more… Much, much more than I do. I’m talking about all those fine decent people out there – all over America – who get out of bed every morning to do their share and more to reflect honor on their parents’ country by contributing to this country. I see them wherever I travel in America. They are the proud ones – proud of Italy – proud of America – proud of themselves for having two of the world’s great cultures in their lives… Thank you…Molte grazie… Arrivederci but not for long.”
In Las Vegas, on the following evening after his passing (May 15, 1998) all the hotels on the “strip” and downtown turned off their lights for one minute in tribute to Mr. Frank Sinatra. Around 8:30, the hotels started turning off their lights. Thousands of people had come to the strip to be there. Many were crying and talking about their love for Mr. S. Many had brought candles with them and started lighting them for that moment. The lights on the hotels started going dark and it became very silent. No one was talking or moving. Even when the lights on the street would turn green the cars would not go. The strip came to a complete stop. After a minute, the lights started coming on. Caesars Palace had a large picture in lights of Sinatra. The crowd of people started cheering and applauding. This spread from Caesar up and down the strip. In a minute or two, there were thousands of people cheering and applauding and the cars honking. All in a wonderful and jubilant tribute to “The Man”. A standing ovation from the citizen of Las Vegas and the people who loved him…