Without A Song

Alright, everybody I apologize profusely for the tardiness of this post. I had a final this morning and moving out of my apartment in the afternoon, but as long as I get this post up in the ballpark of midnight we can call it good! And so, 11 more days until Frank Sinatra Day! However, tonight our story takes a not so great turn. This is when we look at a very dark period in Frank’s career and in his personal life.

One of the most famous pictures of a Hollywood couple ever taken.
One of the most famous pictures of a Hollywood couple ever taken. Frank and Ava look very happy here.

And since this is such an intense topic, I figure that it is best to just go at it in a straightforward manner. And although there wasn’t a single reason for this drop in his career, it can pretty much be summed up in two words: Ava Gardner. Frank was crazy about Ava, according to all of the stories Ava was the burning true love of Frank’s life. But the world definitely didn’t see it the way he did. And understandably so. He divorced his wife Nancy in 1951 after twelve years of marriage and three children. What’s more, Frank hadn’t been the most faithful of husbands from the beginning. He married Ava only ten days after the divorce was final, and the public was outraged. Despite the mass chaos this caused, Frank is reported to have said, “I love her, and God damn me for it.”

Well, eventually Frank had virtually no career left. It isn’t as if he hadn’t seen it coming either. It is also reported that Frank told Ava that his whole life all he’d ever wanted to do was sing, but now all that he wanted was her. At this point, his glittering career and massive success had come to a complete halt in a matter of years. It seemed that Frank Sinatra was finished. What’s more, by the time Frank and Ava had been married two years, they were already separated. The divorce would take four more years to finalize. It seems that they just couldn’t live with or without each other. Maybe they were too much alike or maybe while Ava’s career skyrocketed and Frank’s plummeted there was some tension.

Frank’s career was eventually saved, of course, in 1953 with his role as Angelo Maggio in From Here to EternityBut the fact remains that at this point, Frank really didn’t have much. It was an incredibly dark time for him, the loss of his career and then eventually the loss of a deep love after a tumultuous go of it. In later posts I’ll of course visit the comeback and all of that, but for tonight I think it is important to focus on these not so great times. I’m not making excuses for Frank, because in many ways up to this point I think he’d gotten away with a little bit too much. Perhaps he had it coming. But I also know that in the end it isn’t really my job to analyze or give a firm opinion because at the end of the day I don’t really know what happened. All I can do is look at the stories just like everybody else and see a man who had fallen into a hole after making huge mistakes. That is something that each of us can connect to.


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