Jazz Institute of Chicago

Regarding Frank Sinatra

Regarding Frank Sinatra
by Corky Hale

I first met Frank when I joined the Coconut Grove Orchestra in the early '50s. Every week they booked a big star, but surprisingly, that was the period that Frank's career was at its lowest ebb.

I remember this clearly because a review appeared in the L.A. Times which said something like: "Sinatra has lost his voice. But keep your eye on the gal playing harp, intermission piano, and doing the vocals. She is sensational and you will be hearing a lot about her." (I tried desperately to find that review for years, but couldn't.) At any rate, I clearly remember Ava Gardner sitting out front watching him and the show.

I ran into Frank again a couple of years later after his separation from Ava and dated him on and off in 1956. Frank was noted for taking out a lot of party girls, but if he went to a lovely party or dinner, he would take me because I had a little black dress and pearls and made a good presentation and we could talk about music and liberal Democratic politics.

I specifically remember that when he did "Our Town" on television I was his date for the production party after the show. He told a mutual friend he couldn't get romantic with me because I reminded him too much of his daughter.

I soon married an Englishman and moved to Italy, so I didn't see Frank again for a number of years. I ran into him probably three or four times at big music dinners both in New York and L.A. But I'll always remember his sweetness, considerateness, and the fun I had dating him. Out of all the major singers I've ever worked with, Frank was surely the one who made the greatest impression on me.

Corky Hale's new CD, "Corky," is available at Tower Records, or from GNP Crescendo, 8480-A Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90069. E-mail gnp@pacificnet.net.

Copyright ©2003. All rights reserved.

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