Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank
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Thirty years after she first heard his voice singing on the jukebox at her local drive-in, Barbara Ann Blakely heard Frank Sinatra take the wedding vows that began his fourth, final, and most enduring marriage.
In Lady Blue Eyes, Barbara Sinatra’s first public love letter to the husband she adored, she celebrates the sensational singer, possessive mate, sexy heartthrob, and devoted friend that she found in Frank. For more than two decades, Barbara was always by his side, traveling the globe and hosting glittering events for their famous friends, including presidents, kings, queens, Hollywood royalty, and musical legends. Among them were Sammy Davis, Jr., Princess Grace of Monaco, Bob Dylan, and Ronald Reagan. Each night, as Frank publicly wooed his bride with love songs from a concert stage, she’d fall in love with him all over again.
From her own humble beginnings in a small town in Missouri to her time as a fashion model and her marriage to Zeppo Marx, Barbara Sinatra reveals a life lived with passion, conviction, and grace. A founder of the Miss Universe pageant and a onetime Vegas showgirl, she raised her only son almost single-handedly in often dire circumstances until, after five years of tempestuous courtship, she and Frank committed to each other wholeheartedly. In stories that leap off the page, she takes us behind the scenes of her iconic husband’s legendary career and paints an intimate portrait of a man who was variously generous, jealous, witty, and wicked. Coupled with revealing insights about many of Frank’s celebrated songs, this is much more than the story of a showbiz marriage.
It is a story of passion and of a deep and lifelong love.
Marty and Dolly. My pop would stand at the stove cooking the greatest pasta sauce any young Italian boy could hope for. One time, I called in at the last minute and my pop cooked an Italian meal for the entire Tommy Dorsey orchestra. Some of the sax players had to eat in the hallway but they still loved the meal. Now that I’m an adult, two of my favorite things to do are to cook and to eat; occasionally I do both … and always with a beverage! Fortunately, I met the love of my life, a gorgeous
seen. “Jack Daniel’s does it for me,” he claimed. “That’s all I need.” He and Dean had always enjoyed a drink together, although neither of them drank onstage in those days—that was just an act. Even the drinks trolley they wheeled on during their Rat Pack shows was fake; the vodka bottles were filled with water and the whiskey bottles with apple juice. The real stuff came out only after the show, and although Frank joked, “I spill more than Dean drinks,” I sometimes saw the two of them in a
Billy Graham, my mother followed suit. As a “born-again” fundamentalist, she taught Bible classes and evangelized with a fervor that puzzled me. Having already been baptized as a baby, I was publicly immersed, shoulder-deep, in a huge tub. Every Sunday I was urged to go up to the preacher when the Spirit moved me to proclaim that I’d “seen the light,” accepting Jesus as my “Savior.” Out of sheer stubbornness, I never did. My father, who eventually found a job he liked as a butcher in a Safeway
store, played ostrich when my mother imposed tight new regulations on us. There was to be no dancing, no movies, no makeup, no jewelry, and definitely no boys. Strict curfews were set. Needless to say, by the time I was fifteen, my life seemed hopelessly drab. I’d had more fun in Bosworth. This wasn’t the freedom Mother had promised when we left Missouri. She and I had terrible fights, which usually ended in us not speaking to each other for days. Feeling increasingly trapped, I knew that I had
Looking up from where I was chatting with Jolene and George, I suddenly spotted my husband poking his finger in the chest of this man-mountain and thought, Uh-oh. I nudged Jolene, who nudged George and said, “Your friend’s in trouble. Do something.” George almost choked on his drink. “Have you seen the size of him?” he asked. “Frank’s not that much of a friend!” We laughed but sent him to rescue Frank anyway. Fortunately George is a big guy too, so he pushed his way between the two men and