Nationality: American. Born: Francis Albert Sinatra in Hoboken, New Jersey, 12 December 1915. Education: Attended David E. Rue Junior High School and Demarest High School, Hoboken. Family: Married 1) Nancy Barbato, 1939 (divorced 1950), daughters: the singer Nancy and Christina, son: Frank Jr.; 2) the actress Ava Gardner, 1951 (divorced 1957); 3) the actress Mia Farrow, 1966 (divorced 1968); 4) Barbara Marx, 1976. Career: 1935—singer with Hoboken Four: winner of Major Bowes' Amateur Hour contest, and appeared in short film; solo singer at clubs; 1939—singer with Harry James Band; first recordings; 1940–42—singer with Tommy Dorsey Band; 1942—first appearance as solo singer in New York; 1943–44—on radio program Your Hit Parade (also appeared on the show, 1947–49); 1945–47—on radio program Songs by Sinatra ; 1950–52—in the musical TV series The Frank Sinatra Show ; 1953—serious film role in From Here to Eternity ; 1956—produced the film Johnny Concho ; 1957–58—in the music and drama TV series The Frank Sinatra Show ; 1960—formed his own record company, Reprise Records; 1965—directed the film None but the Brave . Awards: Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, for From Here to Eternity , 1953;
Major Bowes' Amateur Theatre of the Air (Auer) (as singer)
Las Vegas Nights (Murphy) (as band singer)
Ship Ahoy (Buzzell) (as band singer)
Reveille with Beverly (Barton) (as singer); Higher and Higher (Whelan) (as Frank); Show Business at War ( March of Time series) (short)
The Road to Victory (Prinz) (as himself); Step Lively (Whelan) (as Glen)
The All Star Bond Rally (Audley) (as himself); Anchors Aweigh (Sidney) (as Clarence Doolittle); The House I Live In (LeRoy) (as himself)
Till the Clouds Roll By (Whorf) (as himself)
It Happened in Brooklyn (Whorf) (as Danny Miller)
The Miracle of the Bells (Pichel) (as Father Paul); The Kissing Bandit (Benedek) (as Ricardo)
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (Berkeley) (as Dennis Ryan); On the Town (Donen and Kelly) (as Chip); Adam's Rib (Cukor) (voice only)
Double Dynamite (Cummings) (as Emile Keck); Meet Danny Wilson (Pevney) (title role)
From Here to Eternity (Zinnemann) (as Angelo Maggio)
Suddenly (Lewis Allen) (as John Baron)
Young at Heart (Gordon Douglas) (as Barney Sloan); Not as a Stranger (Kramer) (as Alfred Boone); The Tender Trap (Walters) (as Charlie Reader); Guys and Dolls (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (as Nathan Detroit); The Man with the Golden Arm (Preminger) (as Frankie Machine)
Meet Me in Las Vegas ( Viva Las Vegas ) (Rowland) (as himself); High Society (Walters) (as Mike Connor); Around the World in Eighty Days (Anderson) (as piano player)
The Pride and the Passion (Kramer) (as Miguel); The Joker Is Wild (Charles Vidor) (as Joe E. Lewis); Pal Joey (Sidney) (title role)
Kings Go Forth (Daves) (as Lt. Sam Loggins); Some Came Running (Minnelli) (as Dave Hirsh)
Invitation to Monte Carlo (Lloyd) (as himself); A Hole in the Head (Capra) (as Tony Manetta); Never So Few (John Sturges) (as Captain Tom Reynolds)
Can-Can (Walter Lang) (as Francois Durnais); Ocean's Eleven (Milestone) (as Danny Ocean); Pepe (Sidney) (as himself)
The Devil at Four O'Clock (LeRoy) (as Harvey)
Sinatra in Israel (short) (as himself); The Road to Hong Kong (Panama) (as himself); The Manchurian Candidate (Frankenheimer) (as Bennett Marco)
Come Blow Your Horn (Bud Yorkin) (as Alan Baker); The List of Adrian Messenger (Huston) (as Gypsy stableman); Four for Texas (Aldrich) (as Mack Thomas)
Paris When It Sizzles (Quine) (as singing voice)
Von Ryan's Express (Robson) (as Colonel Joseph Ryan); Marriage on the Rocks (Donohue) (as Dan Edwards)
Cast a Giant Shadow (Shavelson) (as David "Mickey" Marcus); The Oscar (Rouse) (as himself); Assault on a Queen (Donohue) (as Mark Brittain)
The Naked Runner (Furie) (as Sam Laker); Tony Rome (Gordon Douglas) (title role)
The Detective (Gordon Douglas) (as Joe Leland); Lady in Cement (Gordon Douglas) (as Tony Rome)
Dirty Dingus Magee (Kennedy) (title role)
That's Entertainment! (Haley—compilation) (as narrator)
Contract on Cherry Street (Graham—for TV) (as Detective Frank Horannes)
Cannonball Run II (Needham) (as himself)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Zemeckis) (as voice of Singing Sword)
Entertaining the Troops (doc)
Listen Up!: The Lives of Quincy Jones (Weissbrod—doc)
Young at Heart (for TV) (as himself); The Films of John Frankenheimer (Emery) (as himself); Sinatra: 80 Years My Way (as himself)
Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Sound of Movies (Burns—for TV) (archive footage)
Johnny Concho (McGuire) (title role)
Sergeants 3 (John Sturges) (as Sgt. Mike Merry)
Robin and the Seven Hoods (Gordon Douglas) (as Robbo)
The First Deadly Sin (Hutton) (as Edward Delaney, exec pr)
None but the Brave (as Chief Pharmacist Mate Maloney)
Sinatra in His Own Words , compiled by Guy Yarwood, New York, 1982.
A Man and His Art , New York, 1991.
"Frank Sinatra: My Meeting with the Chairman of the Board," interview with Walter Thomas, in Interview (New York), July 1991.
"And Then There Was One," interview with B. Zehme, in Esquire (New York), March, 1996.
Shaw, Arnold, Sinatra , New York, 1968.
Ringgold, Gene, and Clifford McCarty, The Films of Frank Sinatra , New York, 1971.
Barnes, Ken, Sinatra and the Great Song Stylists , London, 1972.
Romero, J., Sinatra's Women , New York, 1976.
Howlett, John, Frank Sinatra , New York, 1979.
Lonstein, Albert, and Vito Marino, The Revised Compleat Sinatra: Discography, Filmography, Television Appearances, Motion Picture Appearances, Radio Appearances, Concert Appearances, Stage Appearances , Ellenville, New York, 1979.
Frank, Alan, Sinatra , London, 1984.
Jewell, Derek, with George Perry, Frank Sinatra: A Celebration , Boston, 1985.
Sinatra, Nancy, Frank Sinatra: My Father , Garden City, New York, 1985.
Kelley, Kitty, His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra , New York, 1986.
Adler, Bill, Sinatra, the Man and the Myth: An Unauthorized Biography , New York, 1987.
De Stefano, Gildo, Frank Sinatra , Venice, 1991.
Doctor, Gary L., The Sinatra Scrapbook , Secaucus, New Jersey, 1991.
Pickard, Roy, Frank Sinatra at the Movies , London, 1994.
Britt, Stan, Sinatra: A Celebration , New York, 1995.
Coleman, Ray, Sinatra: Portrait of the Artist , Atlanta, 1995.
Friedwald, Will, The Song Is You: A Singer's Art , New York, 1995.
Petkov, Steven, and Leonard Mustazza, The Frank Sinatra Reader , New York, 1995.
Shirak, Ed Jr., Our Way: Based on the Song a Time that Was , Hoboken, New Jersey, 1995.
Sinatra, Nancy, Frank Sinatra: An American Legend , Los Angeles, 1995.
Vare, Ethlie Ann, editor, Legend: Frank Sinatra and the American Dream , New York, 1995.
Levy, Shawn, Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Showbiz Party , New York, 1998.
Granata, Charles L. and Ramone, Phil, Sessions with Sinatra: Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording , Chicago, 1999.
Current Biography 1960 , New York, 1960.
Tercinet, A., "Frank Sinatra," in Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris), 15 June 1980.
Horton, R., "Ol' Blue Eyes," in American Film (New York), July/August 1988.
Plagens, Peter, "Stranger in the Night," in Newsweek (New York), 21 March 1994.
Ressner, Jeffrey, "And Again, One More for the Road," in Time (New York), 21 March 1994.
Schwartz, Jonathan, "And Now the End Is Near . . . Sinatra's Last Audition," in Esquire (New York), May 1995.
Holden, Stephen, "They Did It His Way," in New York Times , 10 December 1995.
Radio Times (London), 9 December 1995.
Tosches, Nick, "The Death, and Life, of the Rat Pack," in New York Times , 7 January 1996.
Natale, Richard & others, "Frank Sinatra 1915–1998: The 'Voice' is Silenced," obituary in Variety (New York), 18 May 1998.
Conomos, John, "It's a Quarter to Three?" obituary in Cinema Papers (Fitzroy), August 1998.
Sight & Sound (London), March 1999.
Sinatra , mini-series directed by James Sadwith, 1992.
Sinatra: 80 Years My Way , documentary, 1995.
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Frank Sinatra's acting has been notable for its variety of roles and versatility of styles. Appearing in many different types of films, he has made particular contributions to musicals, dramas, action/adventure films, and comedies. To a certain extent his film career has paralleled his singing career. As he grew older, he became more serious and introspective, sometimes more personal, as a singer. He sought new material and different arrangements in a conscious evolution of vocal style. Similarly, in films he turned from youthful, singing roles to serious, dramatic ones during the 1950s in an attempt to establish himself as an actor. His uncanny ability to choose just the right material to sing, however, has not always worked for him on the screen. Although he has had remarkable success in certain, very disparate films— On the Town , From Here to Eternity , A Hole in the Head , The Manchurian Candidate , and The Detective —he has also seemed frequently miscast or indifferent in others— Guys and Dolls , Can Can , and The Pride and the Passion . Nevertheless, he is probably as well known as a screen star as he is as a recording artist.
Sinatra's earliest roles exploited an image that had contributed to his popularity as a singer—the skinny kid who needs mothering. In several of the films, he played opposite a strong female character who had to teach him about love. In Take Me Out to the Ball Game , for example, Betty Garrett's Shirley chases Sinatra's Dennis Ryan, aggressively overcoming his reticence. At one point, she even picks him up and carries him off the baseball field. The two were paired in almost identical roles in On the Town as well. He was also cast in Anchors Aweigh as the younger partner who could not succeed in getting the leading lady to fall for him, but who realizes in time that a less sophisticated girl is the one he really loves.
Dissatisfied, however, with that image and the roles in those musicals, Sinatra left MGM. Although he appeared in subsequent musicals, it is primarily in dramatic roles that Sinatra has achieved success since he played Maggio in From Here to Eternity (the role that won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). Pivotal to that change in emphasis for his career, Maggio was a role for which Sinatra campaigned, and it led to further roles of dramatic power and significance, usually as a character whose tough facade hides his vulnerability. Such contradictions often lead to the film's dramatic conflict as in The Man with the Golden Arm , The Joker Is Wild , Some Came Running , and The Detective .
Sinatra's versatility as a screen actor is especially represented by his roles in comedies and adventure films. In both genres he avoids the pretentiousness of some of his less successful serious roles while still displaying a personal style akin to some of his best work as a singer. As Alan Baker, the older brother teaching the younger about sex in Come Blow Your Horn , as Tony Manetta, the playboy father working to raise a son in A Hole in the Head , or as Colonel Joseph Ryan leading a group of soldiers in a dangerous act of sabotage during World War II in Von Ryan's Express , Sinatra plays characters who assert themselves in precarious, though often funny, situations. They frequently make big mistakes in the process, but manage ultimately to turn the mistakes into successes. Moreover, as a result, the character learns a great deal about himself and proves to be a more responsible, endearing individual than the self-centered cad he seemed at first.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Sinatra and other actors such as Shirley MacLaine, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.—who appeared in several films together—became known as the "Rat Pack." (Sinatra has also been nicknamed "Chairman of the Board of Show Business," or just "Chairman of the Board.") His leadership of the Rat Pack and the stories of Sinatra's impatience with film production practices and lack of cooperation on the set are legendary. Certain films, particularly The Pride and the Passion , may have been compromised because of his intransigence. In addition, many other aspects of his offscreen life are often difficult to separate from his on-screen performances. Nevertheless, such a separation must be made because he created a significant number of diverse roles over a 40-year career.
—Jerome Delamater, updated by Linda J. Stewart