Frank Sinatra the lover
In one show at the Sands, Frank Sinatra was singing "What Is This Thing Called Love" when Dean Martin interrupted by quipping: "Frank, if you don't know, we're all dead". On another occasion Martin announced: "When Sinatra dies they're giving his zipper to the Smithsonian".
Even when he was a nobody, Sinatra was, by all accounts, mad about sex and romance; when he hit Hollywood in the mid-1940s, he made a list of the starlets he wanted to get to know, and he got to know them all. After his marriage to Ava Gardner he spent the next couple of decades dating and sleeping with the most glamorous women in the world.
To men, Sinatra was one of the world's greatest lovers. He was the guy living the life they could never live, bedding the women they could never bed: Marylin Monroe, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner... and those were only the ones they'd heard of. But Sinatra wasn't one to brag, and even tried to deny it: "I can honestly say to you, slaves of the press", he said at a journalists' lunch in 1965, "that if I had as many lover affairs as you have given me credit for, I would now be speaking to you from a jar at the Harvard Medical School". And his wooing could certainly be tender: "I loved them all", he told the writer Pete Hamill, "I really did". Hardly any of them had anything bad to say about him. Marlene Dietrich: "He is the Mercedes-Benz of men". Judith Campbell: "He knows how to make you feel like a complete woman".
As always, however, there is a darker aspect to Sinatra's unquenchable ardour -the infidelities, the abortions and the distraught ex-lovers that are perhaps the occupational hazards of being a Lothario. "The one I've really loved, Frank Sinatra, you've done me wrong", read a note cited by Kitty Kelley written by the actress Shirley Van Dyke, who Sinatra had dated and then distanced himself from, before her attempted suicide in 1957. "You're so big and I'm so small".
Dean Martin once said on the stage of the Sands: "Everyone hates a smart-ass, Frank". Sinatra replied, grinning: "Yeah, but everybody loves a lover".