Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Icons: Blue Eyes

Icon: Frank Sinatra, American jazz legend

“I'm not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I'm not looking for the secret to life.... I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.”
“Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”
“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.”
-Frank Sinatra

Sinatra, the son of Italian immigrant parents, came to personify the big band sound and the image of male sophistication. After getting his start in the swing era, he became one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful artists of all time. Always a social being, Sinatra fraternized with various celebrities as well as President John F. Kennedy and was a founding member of the famous Rat Pack.

Sinatra's mark was not only on the music scene. He established quite a career in the film industry. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in From Here to Eternity, and he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for The Man with the Golden Arm. Sinatra was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1985 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra also won eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Trustees Award, Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Below are clips of two films in which he starred. Both of them have been remade starring today's equivalent actors in terms of star power and sophistication.

Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Remade in 2004 starring Denzel Washington, Liev Schrieber, and Meryl Streep

Ocean's Eleven (Ending Credits, 1960)
Remade in 2001 starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, and Andy Garcia

Sinatra lived a rather troubled personal life and suffered from depression and alcoholism. His turbulent love life was also a source of ire for him. His classic song I'm a Fool to Want You was co-written by him and inspired by his whirlwind love affair with stunning film goddess Ava Gardner. Gardner, known for her rampant affairs, broke his heart. They were the Ben and JLo or Brangelina of their time with heavily documented dramatic twists in turns in their marriage. The relationship drove Sinatra to attempted suicide on more than one occasion. The lyrics of the song are haunting and true and speak to the true nature of love lost.

I'm a Fool to Want You (1957)


HawkMom said...

"All the Way" has to be my favorite song of his.

If it weren't for the fact that I would have lived in grinding poverty and oppression related to my race and gender, I would love to have been "of age" in that Ocean's Eleven era. Men were men. Women were women. I don't think we'll ever see those days again. In the meantime, Janie Bryant needs to design my wardrobe when Mad Men isn't shooting.

george.arnett said...

haha i agree. i wish we lived in the days when people valued being a lady and a gent. and All the Way is great. u should listen to the version with celine dion...omg...changed my life