Singer, film actor. Born Francis Albert Sinatra, in Hoboken, New Jersey, on December 12, 1915, the only child of Dolly and Anthony Martin Sinatra. Sinatra is considered by many to be the greatest entertainer of the twentieth century. His recordings came to epitomize American popular singing at its finest, with a style that maintained fidelity to a song’s lyric and mood while imbuing it with subtle elements of jazz beat and phrasing. As a teenager, Sinatra worked unloading trucks for the Jersey Observer newspaper. He became a copy boy with an aspiration to be a journalist, but when told by the editor that copy boys “don’t know enough to be reporters,” Sinatra enrolled in secretarial school, studying English, typing, and shorthand. He was eventually promoted to cub sports reporter by the newspaper’s editor. In his spare time, Sinatra appeared on Major Bowes Amateur Hour, a popular radio talent show. A self-taught singer, he was matched with three other aspirants to sing “Shine.” After the program, the quartet was sent out on tour by Bowes as the “Hoboken Four.” His first professional contract was for $25 per week as a singer, head waiter, master of ceremonies, and a comedian at The Rustic Cabin, a country roadhouse in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, in 1938. It was here in 1939 that Sinatra was discovered by Harry James, who signed him to sing for his new swing band. After touring with James in 1939, Sinatra rose to prominence as lead singer with Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra (1940-42), with whom he recorded more than ninety songs. In 1943 he began working solo and served as emcee on the popular radio program The Lucky Strike Hit Parade. Sinatra soon became a teen idol, with hysterical “bobby-soxer” fans rioting outside his performance at New York’s Paramount Theater on Columbus Day in 1944. He recorded numerous hits for Columbia Records between 1943 and 1952, but moved to Capitol Records in 1953. In 1960 he co-founded Reprise Records, where he recorded exclusively after 1963. Sinatra married his childhood sweetheart Nancy Barbato, in February, 1939. They had three children: Nancy Sandra (1940), Franklin Wayne Emmanuel (Frank Jr.) (1944), and Christina (Tina) (1948). Sinatra experienced a career crisis in the late 1940s, which coincided with the beginning of a tempestuous romance to actress Ava Gardner. 1949 was arguably the worst year of Sinatra’s career. He was fired from his radio show, and six months later his New York concerts flopped.
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Frank Sinatra Biography
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