Frank Sinatra’s Generosity
When Lee J. Cobb, an actor who Sinatra knew for their appearance together in The Miracle Of The Bells but was not especially close to, nearly died of a heart attack in 1955, Sinatra gave him moral support, paid his bills and housed him during his recuperation. In Cobb’s words: “He built an insulated wall around me that shielded me from tension, worry and strain.”
When the owner of the Hollywood club the Mocambo, Charlie Morrison, died in 1957, leaving his widow virtually penniless, Sinatra stepped in and packed the place for two weeks, and the club grossed $100.000 in a fortnight.
For every story about Sinatra’s temper, impatience and revengeful petulance, there is another one about his generosity, compassion and thoughtfulness. Some stories made the papers -which was a useful antidote to some of the bad press he received – but many others did not. As Burt Lancaster said: “If you say to Frank ‘I’m having a problem’, it becomes his problem.”
In September 1947, for example, when Phil Silvers had lost his straight man, Rags Ragland, a fortnight before opening at the Copa and had tried to cancel, only for the club to insist that he perform, Sinatra stopped filming It Happened In Brooklyn to join his USO partner, raising Silvers’ spirits and contributing to glowing reviews.