But it wasn't just Frank Sinatra's ability to sing, win awards, and inspire tributes that made him cool. Here are ten more things that made him a super suave star.
10. The FBI was obsessed with him. The FBI watched Sinatra for almost 50 years, beginning in the 1940s, and amassed some 2,403 pages of records on him. In response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI dossier on Sinatra was released in 1998. The declassified files revealed, among other things, threats of death and extortion against Sinatra, investigations of Sinatra's alleged mafia ties and Communist associations, and his offer to be an informer for the organization (they declined).
9. He was a founding member of the 1960s Rat Pack
. The first supergroup of multi-talented stars, the Rat Pack -- Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop -- never referred to themselves by that name, instead calling themselves the Summit or the Clan. But the press loved the moniker, and the Rat Pack stuck. Along with Davis Jr. and Martin, Sinatra was considered one of the leaders of the group.
8. He shared a famous woman with Woody Allen. From 1966 to 1968, Sinatra was married to actress Mia Farrow, who was thirty years his junior. In 1980, she began an ill-fated 12-year relationship with Allen, who would leave her for one of their adopted children.
7. He learned music by ear. Sinatra never learned to read music, and did well enough hitting pitch without learning how to translate notes on paper. He was obviously way too cool for that.
6. He founded Reprise Records. The Sinatra nickname, "Chairman of the Board," was born in 1960, the year he founded Reprise. The label, which Sinatra sold to Warner Bros. Records in 1963, went on to boast a roster that included Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, T. Rex, The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Green Day, Mastodon, My Chemical Romance, and Disturbed.
Ronald Reagan presents Sinatra with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985.
5. He made the Empire State Building glow blue. This was done to mark Sinatra's 80th birthday in 1995.
4. He was friends with President John F. Kennedy. Sinatra and the Rat Pack played a big role in Kennedy's 1960 campaign, for which the theme song was "High Hopes," sung by Sinatra, who'd recorded a special track with lyrics about Kennedy worked in. In January of 1961, Sinatra and Peter Lawford organized Kennedy's Inaugural Gala. Legend has it the friendship soured when Sinatra prepared a room at his house for Kennedy in anticipation of the president's visit to Palm Springs in 1962, but JFK opted to stay with Bing Crosby instead.
3. He performed for Anwar Sadat in front of the Egyptian pyramids. Talk about a collection of legends: The only remaining of the seven ancient wonders of the world (the Great Pyramid of Giza), a Nobel Peace Prize winner (then-president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat), and Frank Sinatra. It happened in 1979, two years before Sadat was assassinated.
2. He was a civil rights activist. In 1961, Sinatra played a benefit show for Martin Luther King, Jr. at Carnegie Hall (one of many benefits Sinatra did for King), and led a massive artist boycott on hotels and casinos in Nevada that refused to admit black patrons and performers.
1. He was Frank fucking Sinatra.
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