Frank Sinatra’s Private Generosity
This is another excellent story about the Frank Sinatra that we as fans always loved about him. Listen to Jerry tell this story. One of many that we never heard of about Old Blue Eyes.
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.
When Sammy Davis Jr. lost an eye in a car accident in November 1954, Sinatra was there to save him from self-pity and restore his confidence, despite an article in Confidential that suggested intimacy between Davis and Ava Gardner.
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.
When the B-movie horror star Bela Lugosi checked into hospital as a drug addict in 1955, Sinatra sent him a gift and a message of support. “It gave me such a boost”, said Lugosi, who had never met Sinatra. “He was the only star I heard from.”