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Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in Books and Movies, Frank Sinatra, Old Hollywood | 0 comments

Boring Ol’ Gold Diggin Lady Blue Eyes

When I read Ava Gardner’s biography, Love Is Nothing, (as recommended to me by a friend at Las Charolastras,) I decided I wanted to know more about Frank Sinatra. I have always been a fan of his music, and after reading about his tumultuous affair with Ava Gardner, I was really hooked on this Hobokenite. I figured his fourth (and final) wife’s new book “Lady Blue Eyes” would be the perfect foray. However, all I learned about Frank Sinatra was that he was pretty fiery, but mostly after 60 his life got pretty normal….

You see, Barbara Sinatra’s book is half about her life, and half about her life with Frank Sinatra. But A.) nobody cares about Barbara Sinatra before she became Barbara SINATRA, and B.) Barbara shacked up with Francis Albert when he was 60. 60! It’s really hard to become entwined in what she refers to as their steamy affair when I am looking at pictures of a man not dissimilar to my grandfather, and she is obviously in like her 70s-80s writing this book, so she doesn’t really go into any steamy details anyway. I am not trying to sound ageist here, but my god, 75% of the book is spent with Barbara Sinatra, Zeppo Marx her ex husband, and Frank Sinatra playing either tennis or gin rummy! I want to know about mobster rat pack Frank Sinatra! The Frank Sinatra that grew up in Hoboken and owned Las Vegas every night and  took Mia Farrow’s virginity and had fights flinging glasses with Ava Gardner. I DO NOT want to read about an 80 year old Frank Sinatra who wears white pajamas and plays with his dogs.

To be fair, the book does have a disclaimer that if you’re looking for scandal, you’re not going to find it. and boy is that the truth. But there seemed to be pockets of intrigue, like how before Barbara met Frank she had been a show girl at the Riviera in Las Vegas and before that, a model, she married Zeppo Marx of the famous Marx brothers and was once pursued by a young JFK. I mean while it didn’t boast scandal, it certainly dropped enough names to peak my interest.

As it turns out, spoiler alert:

  • Barbara totally blew JFK off, nothing happened, and just to clear things up by pursued by JFK she basically meant that he looked at her one time on a boat
  • Zeppo is boring and kind of an asshole and she married him out of convenience because Babs is kind of a gold digger. To add to the lack of interest, Zeppo is also an octogenarian by the time she marries him, so nothing exciting ever really happens, because he took just wants to play gin rummy and golf
  • As for being a showgirl at the Riviera, those few pages are pretty short. While she does have a few interesting run-ins with the mob, it certainly isn’t enough to keep the story going

Honestly, by the time Barbara Sinatra shacks up with Frank, he really is ready to settle down. It’s kind of like if after Russell Brand’s crazy life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, he married a nobody, and then that nobody tried to write a book about her life with him. It would be a book about playing gin rummy and being happily committed. BO-RING. Not to mention, as previously stated, Barbara is kind of a gold digger! I am not saying she didn’t love him, but she boasted several times that she was so ecstatic that Frank told her she would never have to pay for anything again, and her whole life she basically moved in with different men for money and security. After her stint at the Riviera, which I believe was in her late 20s, she doesn’t work another day in her life! She goes from rich to more rich, just jerkin her poor son Bobby around the entire time! Poor guy! Barbara even admits that Zeppo was a total asshole to her son, and insisted she put him in military school, and guess what, SHE DID! You can’t complain about Zeppo and other men treating your son badly after you marry these men and let them, BARBARA!

To be brutally honest, I couldn’t even finish the book. It occurred to me about 60% of the way through the book (yeah Kindle!) that nothing was going to happen other than Frank slowly and sadly withering away. I just can’t read that!

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