Legendary Frank Sinatra Part Twenty
I’m now doing Legendary Frank Sinatra Part Twenty, but don’t worry, I have one more in the works. This is Legendary Frank Sinatra Part Twenty, I hope you stick around to hear this album, I got to do quick, for I’m going to start another Frank Sinatra blog, for tomorrow.
Sinatra’s gravestone at Desert Memorial
Park in Cathedral City, California
Sinatra died with his wife at his side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on May 14, 1998, aged 82, after a heart attack. Sinatra had ill health during the last few years of his life, and was frequently hospitalized for heart and breathing problems, high blood pressure, pneumonia and bladder cancer. He was further diagnosed as having dementia. He had made no public appearances following a heart attack in February 1997. Sinatra’s wife encouraged him to “fight” while attempts were made to stabilize him, and his final words were, “I’m losing.” Sinatra’s daughter, Tina, later wrote that she and her sister, Nancy, had not been notified of their father’s final hospitalization, and it was her belief that “the omission was deliberate. Barbara would be the grieving widow alone at her husband’s side.” The night after Sinatra’s death, the lights on the Empire State Building in New York City were turned blue. Also right after Sinatra’s death, the lights on the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor, and the casinos stopped spinning for a minute.
Sinatra’s funeral was held at the Roman Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California, on May 20, 1998, with 400 mourners in attendance and thousands of fans outside. Gregory Peck, Tony Bennett, and Sinatra’s son, Frank Jr., addressed the mourners, who included many notable people from film and entertainment. Sinatra was buried in a blue business suit with mementos from family members—cherry-flavored Life Savers, Tootsie Rolls, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a pack of Camel cigarettes, a Zippo lighter, stuffed toys, a dog biscuit, and a roll of dimes that he always carried—next to his parents in section B-8 of Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California. His close friends Jilly Rizzo and Jimmy Van Heusen are buried nearby. The words “The Best Is Yet to Come”, plus “Beloved Husband & Father” are imprinted on Sinatra’s grave marker. Significant increases in recording sales worldwide were reported by Billboard in the month of his death.
Legacy and honors
Sinatra, c. 1943
American music critic Robert Christgau referred to Sinatra as “the greatest singer of the 20th century”. His popularity was later matched only by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson. For Santopietro, Sinatra was the “greatest male pop singer in the history of America”, who amassed “unprecedented power onscreen and off”, and “seemed to exemplify the common man, an ethnic twentieth-century American male who reached the ‘top of the heap’, yet never forgot his roots”. Santopietro argues that Sinatra created his own world, which he was able to dominate—his career was centred around power, perfecting the ability to capture an audience.
Composer Gus Levene commented that Sinatra’s strength was that when it came to lyrics, telling a story musically, Sinatra displayed a “genius” ability and feeling, which with the “rare combination of voice and showmanship” made him the “original singer” which others who followed most tried to emulate. George Roberts, a trombonist in Sinatra’s band, remarked that Sinatra had a “charisma, or whatever it is about him, that no one else had”. Biographer Arnold Shaw considered that “If Las Vegas had not existed, Sinatra could have invented it”. He quoted reporter James Bacon in saying that Sinatra was the “swinging image on which the town is built”, adding that no other entertainer quite “embodied the glamour” associated with Las Vegas as him. Sinatra continues to be seen as one of the icons of the 20th century, and has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in film and music. There are stars on east and west sides of the 1600 block of Vine Street respectively, and one on the south side of the 6500 block of Hollywood Boulevard for his work in television.
Frank Sinatra’s television star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame, located on 1637 Vine Street
In Sinatra’s native New Jersey, Hoboken’s Frank Sinatra Park, the Hoboken Post Office, and a residence hall at Montclair State University were named in his honor. Other buildings named for Sinatra include the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, the Frank Sinatra International Student Center at Israel’s Hebrew University in Jerusalem dedicated in 1978, and the Frank Sinatra Hall at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, California, dedicated in 2002. Wynn Resorts’ Encore Las Vegas resort features a restaurant dedicated to Sinatra which opened in 2008. Items of memorabilia from Sinatra’s life and career are displayed at USC’s Frank Sinatra Hall and Wynn Resort’s Sinatra restaurant. Near the Las Vegas Strip is a road named Frank Sinatra Drive in his honor. The United States Postal Service issued a 42-cent postage stamp in honor of Sinatra in May 2008, commemorating the tenth anniversary of his death. The United States Congress passed a resolution introduced by Representative Mary Bono Mack on May 20, 2008, designating May 13 as Frank Sinatra Day to honor his contributions to American culture.
Sinatra received three honorary degrees during his lifetime. In May 1976, he was invited to speak at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) graduation commencement held at Sam Boyd Stadium. It was at this commencement that he was bestowed an Honorary Doctorate litterarum humanarum by the university. During his speech, Sinatra noted that his education had come from “the school of hard knocks” and was suitably touched by the award. He went on to describe that “this is the first educational degree I have ever held in my hand. I will never forget what you have done for me today”. A few years later in 1984 and 1985, Sinatra also received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Loyola Marymount University as well as an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Film and television portrayals
Sinatra has been portrayed on numerous occasions in film and on television. A television miniseries based on Sinatra’s life, titled Sinatra, was aired by CBS in 1992. Sinatra was directed by James Steven Sadwith, who won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Miniseries or a Special, and starred Philip Casnoff as Sinatra. Sinatra was written by Abby Mann and Philip Mastrosimone, and produced by Sinatra’s daughter, Tina.
Sinatra has subsequently been portrayed on screen by Ray Liotta (The Rat Pack, 1998), James Russo (Stealing Sinatra, 2003), Dennis Hopper (The Night We Called It a Day, 2003), and Robert Knepper (My Way, 2012), and spoofed by Joe Piscopo and Phil Hartman on Saturday Night Live. A biographical film directed by Martin Scorsese has long been in production. A 1998 episode of the BBC documentary series Arena, The Voice of the Century, focused on Sinatra. Alex Gibney directed a four-part biographical series on Sinatra, All or Nothing At All, for HBO in 2015. A musical tribute was aired on CBS television in December 2015 to mark Sinatra’s centenary.