Sunday, June 19, 2011

"He Loved Me Best, So HAH!"

"Lady Blue Eyes, My Life With Frank," by Barbara Sinatra Crown Archtype 388 pretty self-serving words $24.95

Born Barbara Ann Blakely, she began her showgirl career winning beauty contests. In 1948, she married Bob Oliver. They had a son and shortly thereafter divorced. She had a long affair with a disc jockey in Las Vegas. She worked as a showgirl and as such caught the eye of Zeppo Marx whom she married in 1959. She writes that he adored her enough to adopt her son with Oliver. This was a ploy -- getting new husbands to adopt the boy (looking for a vacancy in the Will) but it didn't work with Sinatra.

There are always two -- sometimes three and four versions -- of any event. Barbara writes that she and Sinatra began dating "in the early '70s" but she didn't obtain a divorce from Zeppo until 1973. She then married Sinatra in July of 1976, after they had been living together for four years. Others in the know have said she chased him inexorably for 13 years (an earlier Katey-Waity) until at age 65, he gave up and married her.

She writes of their glorious love story -- Frank would leave little love notes all over the house for her, named both his plane and his boat Lady Blue Eyes; bought her expensive jewelry at the drop of a hat to surprise her-- same with new cars. All in all it sounds idyllic. Sounds.

In return she made him quit smoking in the house (he made her quit smoking at all) cut him off from some of his more disreputable friends, and locked herself in her room when he began drinking gin. All in all she made his life a living hell. Just read any one of Sinatra's children's books about Mommie Not Dearest At All.

If you like name-dropping, this is the book for you. All of the famous names were, of course, BFF. There is a curious coldness to the Widder Sinatra. "I met O.J. (Simpson) at a disco with his wife, Nicole, who was adorable; it was so sad how that ended." A brutal double murder was "so sad"?

She was thrilled to brag that at 22 years of marriage, she'd outlasted Nancy Barbato, Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow. Poor Frank, I'm sure it felt like 44 years to him.


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