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.
away, not speaking and not wanting to be spoken to. Somehow, he managed to pull himself together enough to be a pallbearer at Jilly’s funeral, which was held at the same church where Dolly’s service had been. And, boy, was there a cast of colorful characters. I hardly recognized any of them, but there they all were—in their suits and with faces so somber they must have known him for years. For once, there were no cameras and no press. I guess the “boys” arranged that. Frank didn’t even notice.
and Chico were almost identical, but Chico was a much more versatile pianist, so he would audition for jobs in houses of ill repute but send Harpo (who knew only one tune) to work. Those boys would probably still be working in brothels but for Minnie, who put them on the stage in vaudeville acts because she knew they were naturally so funny. She was right. At Harpo’s house, El Rancho Harpo, Zeppo introduced me to Gummo and his wife, Helen, as well as Groucho and Chico. Chatting with them, I
Glenn Miller’s “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Whenever his electrician came by to help Frank fix any problems with the track, the two of them would spend hours together “testing” the entire system. I’d pop my head around the door sometimes just to watch Frank, happy to see him so playful and animated, a glass of Daniel’s in his hand. Model trains were going to hold Frank Sinatra’s attention for only so long, however, and his restlessness soon kicked in again. Turning his attention to politics, and
loved emeralds, and these were the finest I’d ever seen, not that I could see them very clearly because my eyes misted over with tears of gratitude and love. “I don’t know what to say!” I finally whispered. He kissed the nape of my neck. “Then say nothing. Just turn a few heads tonight.” As I arrived at a gala on Frank’s arm that night wearing the Cartier Necklace, Caroline Tose (the wife of Leonard, who owned the Philadelphia Eagles) came rushing up to me and, staring at the necklace, asked,
New York, starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro (who Frank always hoped might play him in a movie one day), I had an idea. The title song written by John Kander and Fred Ebb and belted out by Liza was such an incredibly powerful number that I suddenly realized it was perfect for Frank. It would be great for him because of his connection with New York, but I was convinced it would be a huge hit internationally too. When I first suggested that he record it, though, he dismissed my idea out of