Guys and Dolls: Frank Sinatra stars in 1955 trailer
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For a generation, Frank Sinatra, nicknamed Ol’ Blue Eyes, helped transform the entertainment industry, collecting Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammys with ease. His starring part in From Here to Eternity cemented his credentials as a talented, and acclaimed actor, while his ballads such as My Way and Somethin’ Stupid earned rave reviews from fans. The crooner’s life away from the camera was as well documented as it was when in front of it, with Sinatra enjoying four marriages before his death aged 82 in 1998.
The star, who helped form the infamous Rat Pack, also endured a series of tough relationships with fellow stars, including an aspiring Marlon Brando.
According to reports, Brando – who would become well known for being unprofessional in his conduct on-set with co-stars – and Sinatra had a huge falling out while on the set of Guys and Dolls.
The 1955 musical, which was created following the success of the Broadway stage show, saw the pair team up as the story’s two male lead parts.
But Stefan Kanfer, in his 2008 book Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando, outlined how tough a working relationship the two megastars actually endured.
At the time of the film going into production, Sinatra was already a household name, collecting his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor earlier in 1954, but had lost out on a role in On the Waterfront to Brando.
When it came to casting in Guys and Dolls, Brando delivered a second knock to Sinatra’s ego, being cast in the bigger of the two roles the pair went up for.
Kanfer noted that Sinatra “saw in Marlon a figurehead of youthful rebellion, an avatar of all that threatened his career”.
He added: “The wounded swagger notwithstanding, Sinatra was a deeply insecure man in the mid-fifties.”
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The relationship became even tense when Brando’s experience in dancing and singing began to test the patience of Sinatra, already a major recording artist recognised across the globe.
Brando was reportedly told that he’d be given all the additional dancing and lessons he needed, yet the star continued to focus more on the acting of the role, as opposed to the other elements to his character.
And this infuriated Sinatra.
Kanfer added: “The tone for the film was set on the first day of rehearsals, when Brando was introduced to Sinatra.
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“‘Frank,’ Marlon confided, sotto voce, ‘I’ve never done anything like this before, and I was wondering, maybe I could come to your dressing room and we could just run the dialogue together?’
“Sinatra was succinct: ‘Don’t give me any of that Actors Studio s***.’
While his relationship with stars such as Brando was certainly strained, he often showered others with goodwill and love, including the likes of Hollywood golden girl Marilyn Monroe.
Such was the closeness in their relationship, Sinatra was reportedly incensed after Monroe’s death in 1962, and even believed there was a cover-up following news of her demise being made public.
At the time of her death, an official investigation from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office ruled Monroe probably died due to suicide, as a result of a barbiturate overdose.
But Sinatra wasn’t convinced, and according to the 2018 book, Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon, Ol’ Blue Eyes, though deeply in love with her, didn’t believe the cause of death.
Author Charles Casillo wrote: “Like many men, Frank Sinatra fell under her spell. He treated her like he had never treated any other woman.
“He was very protective of her.”
The author argued that such was Sinatra’s love for Monroe, he planned to propose to the actress, a scheme that was ultimately dashed by his lawyer.
Though others, including Sinatra’s close friend Tony Oppedinsano, argued the two were simply just really good confidants.
He said: “Frank felt she was too troubled, too fragile, for him to sleep with and then walk away.”
With Frank so besotted with Monroe, regardless of the physical relationship they shared, when her death was announced as suicide, he was heartbroken.
Oppedisano recalled how Monroe had planned to outline how her relationship with US President John F. Kennedy had developed, and that Sinatra was convinced this led to her death.
He said: “Frank believed if the press conference hadn’t been announced, she would have lived a lot longer.
“Frank believed she was murdered and he never got over it.”
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