Sinatra fever

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • May 17, 2005

by Karen Feld


Looks like “Everything Happens to Me” is an understatement, according to the just-published “Sinatra: The Life” by journalist Anthony “Tony” Summers (former BBC reporter) and his wife, Robbyn Swan. Summers and Swan, who met when they worked together for The Independent in the U.K. newspaper’s Washington office, now live in Ireland.

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Palette, next to the Madison Hotel, hosted a pre-launch book party on Friday evening for the revealing bio of Old Blue Eyes, complete with “Blue Eyes” martinis and “Franktini” libations. Ava Gardner, the Rat Pack, JFK, Lucky Luciano and a host of others – it’s all there. All or nothing at all, a world on a string, and I did it my way – what a ride.

The authors had hoped to be able to interrupt the piped-in Sinatra music to play a rare tape they obtained of a previous interview with Ava Gardner, who they say used lots of blue language, but whose recollections of the “good times” were very touching. For some reason – perhaps a technical difficulty, or perhaps because of the sound system’s reach to others beyond the Palette bar site of the party – the plan was nixed.

The authors had to be close-mouthed for four years about some of the original findings that this embargoed book contains. They located the Sicily church where both Lucky Luciano’s parents and Sinatra’s grandparents, who lived within one street of each other, were married. Frank and Lucky had family connections well before Cuba or the U.S. Mafia.

Just in case you don’t believe what you’re reading, the book is documented with 142 pages of six-point type with endnotes and sources. But The Buzz hears that two of Sinatra’s kids, Nancy and Frank Jr., have been busy contacting the usual suspects to express the family unhappiness. For example, we hear that after having been confirmed six weeks ago to appear on Larry King’s show, the authors suddenly were canceled without explanation. Summers had appeared on King’s shows to promote previous books.

Nancy Sinatra has apparently been publicly stating that the quotes from Jerry Lewis in the book (excerpted in the current Vanity Fair) are lies! But sources tell me that Summers has Lewis on tape during that interview. Stay tuned! Books hit the shelves today.

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Former President Bill Clinton, shown May 3, said he has had a slow recovery from surgery.

Dining Notes: Widower Cronkite; still-recovering Clinton

Walter Cronkite is still in mourning for his late wife, Betsy, but he is certainly not lacking invitations to escort New York socialites to chic dinner parties … that’s because Bill Clinton is taken. The former president and Sen. Hillary Clinton dined at Oceanaire in downtown D.C. for seafood with a party of nine including her brothers on Wednesday evening. … The previous evening, his treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, threw a party for Bill Clinton in New York. Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards flew in for that one. Although the former president looks terrific, we’re told he complained about how bad he feels. Having to go back into the hospital for the second procedure so soon after the original heart surgery has taken its toll. He also made a couple trips that cut into his recovery time, including the trip to Rome for Pope John Paul II’s funeral. Perhaps that wasn’t a great idea from a health perspective, but it surely was from a political perspective. After all, everyone wants the Catholic vote. The Democrats want to keep them; and the Republicans have to lure them.

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Original Star Wars cast member Ccarrie Fisher speaks with the media before entering a showing of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” on Thursday at the Uptown Theater in Washington.

Vader behavior at Star Wars premiere

Carrie Fisher, also known as Princess Leia from the first three “Star Wars” films, was in D.C. for the premiere of the new “Star Wars” release, “Revenge of the Sith,” Thursday evening at the Loews Cineplex Uptown Theatre in Cleveland Park. She also received an award from Women in Film on Friday evening. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds (from her marriage to Eddie Fisher), who made it big in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” accompanied her daughter. Paparazzi focused on shooting the aging star, did not know to focus the Force like the Sith the movie is titled after, and apparently forgot they were at a “Star Wars” movie premiere with its attendant mania. Photographers were physically attacked by autograph seekers and sellers pushing to have photos of the much younger Princess Leia signed. One obnoxious fan pushing at Fisher’s mom was unaware who she was other than just a body close to the woman he said was “the last autograph I need.” Reynolds was upset with the behavior of the autograph hounds, thanking one shooter for telling the fans to get their acts together. The generation gap was evident both among the fans, and the way both mother and daughter dealt with them.

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