Every year on Frank's birthday, December 12, the Empire State Building in New York City is lit with blue lights in honor of his nickname, "Ol' Blue Eyes."
There are many awards and many winners, but Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman are the only people to win an Honorary Oscar, a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and a competitive Oscar.
Founded by fellow singer Tony Bennett, The Frank Sinatra School for the Arts opened in September of 2009. Although Frank would've been honored, he might have been a bit embarrassed as well since he left high school without graduating, having attended only 47 days before being expelled due to rowdy conduct.
With between 150-250 million recordings sold, you might think Sinatra would be slowing down, but Capitol/EMI said its 2002 release, "Classic Sinatra", has sold about 2 million units in the United States alone.
On May 13, 2008, one day before the 10th anniversary of his passing, Frank Sinatra received another of the top honors the United States can bestow upon one of its citizens - a postage stamp bearing his likeness. In making the announcement, Postmaster General John Potter cited Sinatra's "legendary gift for transforming popular song into art."
Frank has an unprecedented 62-year span of top-ten albums on Billboard's charts - from "The Voice of Frank Sinatra" which reached No. 1 in 1946 to "Nothing But the Best", which reached No. 2 in 2008.
In 1997, Frank received the Congressional Gold Medal, the Congress's highest civilian award.
On March 4, 1946, Frank's first studio "album" - "The Voice of Frank Sinatra" - was released on Columbia Records. It was originally released as a set of four 78 rpm records totaling eight songs (although the 2003 CD has 18 tracks). It holds the distinction of being the first pop long-playing vinyl record released to play at the higher fidelity of 33 1/3 rpm.
Because of his wide range of talent and accomplishment, Sinatra was awarded three separate Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for Motion Pictures at 1600 Vine Street, one for Recording at 1737 Vine Street, and one for Television at 6538 Hollywood Boulevard.
From 1958, when the Grammy awards were established, until 2002, Frank Sinatra was involved in over 30 Grammy nominations. He won 13 Grammy's, including 9 for specific works, a Special Award for Artists & Repertoire Contribution (1959), the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1966), the Grammy Trustees Award (1979) and the Grammy Legend Award (1995). One must remember that many of his greatest recordings were made before the Grammy Awards even existed.
On May 23, 1985, President Ronald Reagan personally awarded two Presidential Medals of Freedom - one went to Francis Albert Sinatra and the other went to Mother Teresa.
According to Nancy, Frank almost died at birth. His mother was "tiny" and he was "huge" (13 ½ pounds). The doctor used forceps to pull the baby out, "ripping and scarring the baby's ear, cheek and neck, and puncturing his eardrum." The midwife (his grandmother) had to hold him under cold running water until he gasped and started breathing.
In 1980, Frank was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.
The first commercial recording of Frank's career was "From The Bottom Of My Heart" with the Harry James Orchestra. Recorded on July 13th, 1939, the old 78 rpm disc (Brunswick 8443) is the holy grail of Sinatra discophiles.
Frank's best friend in the Rat Pack was Dean Martin. However, they became estranged in the latter years of their lives due to Dean's leaving the big "Together Again Tour".
Frank Sinatra and the entire Rat Pack appeared in the 1960 movie Ocean's Eleven (1960), and Sergeants 3, in 1962.
Frank was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Variety Clubs of America in 1983.
In June of 1939, Frank left behind the days of playing in small dives and carrying around his own P.A. system when he signed with Harry James for the princely sum of $75 a week.
In November of 1939, only six months after signing him, Harry James graciously let Frank out of his contract to sign with Tommy Dorsey, who had one of the most popular bands in the country at the time. For Frank it was a great opportunity - but it was also a bad contract he would soon regret signing.
By May of 1941, Frank (or "Frankie" as many of the swooning girls called him) topped the male singer polls of both "Billboard" and "Downbeat" magazines. His magnetic appeal to "bobby soxers", as his teenage girl fans were known, presaged the even more frenetic response which Elvis Presley, and later The Beatles, would engender. This was a whole new world, a whole new audience for popular music - which before this had been the private property of adults.
It has been speculated that the Johnny Fontaine character in The Godfather was inspired by Frank Sinatra. Perhaps due to pressure from Sinatra's friends, the movie doesn't go nearly as far in drawing the parallel as the novel does (author Mario Puzo has remained coy on the possible connection). While it is true that Frank was down and out with a damaged voice and campaigned heavily for the role of Maggio in From Here to Eternity, it is more likely that his wife at the time, Ava Gardner, used her industry influence to get Frank the part. According to artist Paul Clemens, a friend of Ava's, she told Harry "King" Cohn, "the most hated man in Hollywood", who was helping producer Buddy Adler with the script : "You know who's right for that part of Maggio, don't you? That son-of-a-b*tch of a husband of mine. He's perfect for it."
There is, however, more reason to believe that New Jersey mob boss Willie Moretti got Frank out of an earlier, onerous contract with bandleader Tommy Dorsey by making him "an offer he can't refuse" - namely sticking the barrel of a gun into the trombonist's mouth and threatening to pull the trigger.
However, Nancy Sinatra denies this, saying that the Hearst newspaper accounts (which were the "historical" basis for The Godfather's story) claiming mobster Sam Giancana coerced Dorsey into letting her father out of the contract were started because of Frank's Democratic politics. She claims that the contract was, in fact, bought out by MCA founder Jules Stein for $75,000 - after significant and protracted legal pressure was applied. "'My end of it cost me something like $25,000,' my father recalled", she says. "I hope you fall an your ass", Dorsey was said to have offered as a parting shot. By most accounts, Dorsey's contractual stranglehold over Sinatra called for 33% of every dime Frank made professionally - for life.
Frank was instrumental in reuniting Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin after their long estrangement. Appearing on Lewis' annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, Frank told Jerry he had a friend who wanted to say hello and then escorted Dean onto the stage to greet a flabbergasted Lewis. The two remained friends until Martin's death.
Frank was married four times - with three ending in divorce :
Nancy Barbato (February 4, 1939 - October 29, 1951) was the mother of Frank's three children : Nancy, Tina, and Frank Jr. They divorced following the very passionate, and very public, affair Frank had with Ava Gardner.
Ava Gardner (November 7, 1951 - July 5, 1957) was the painful source of his greatest fifties recordings. Frank reportedly kept Ava's picture on his mirror long after their break up.
Mia Farrow (July 19, 1966 - August 16, 1968) was 19 when they first met, Frank was 48 - prompting Dean Martin to quip that he owned a bottle of Scotch older than her. Frank reportedly had divorce papers delivered to Mia on the set of Rosemary's Baby (1968) when she refused to quit filming and co-star with him in The Detective (1968).
Barbara Marx (11 July 1976 - 14 May 1998) converted to Roman Catholicism at Frank's request and, despite illness and in-law problems, stayed with him for the rest of his life.
Francis Albert Sinatra passed away on May 14, 1998. The epitaph on his tombstone is the title of the last song that he ever sang in public : THE BEST IS YET TO COME.
Sinatra's will contained a provision stating that anyone contesting the will would be automatically disinherited.
When the great Bela Lugosi died virtually penniless, Frank Sinatra quietly paid for his funeral.
Frank Sinatra: When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out.
Frank Sinatra: The thing that influenced me most was the way Tommy played his trombone. It was my idea to make my voice work in the same way as a trombone or violin-not sounding like them, but playing the voice like those instrumentalists.
Frank Sinatra: The martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth.
Frank Sinatra: Rock 'n Roll: The most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear.
Frank Sinatra: May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine.
Frank Sinatra: I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.
Sinatra: According to legend, I secured my release from Tommy when three men told him out of the sides of their mouths to "sign or else". What actually happened was I hired a couple of lawyers to get me out of it.
Frank Sinatra: Hell hath no fury like a hustler with a literary agent.
Frank Sinatra: I'm not unmindful of man's seeming need for faith; I'm for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel's. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle.
Frank Sinatra: All day long, they lie in the sun, and when the sun goes down, they lie some more.