Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra

( 16 )

Overview

"Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra, by former valet-aide George Jacobs with an oh-so-able assist by William Stadiem, has at least five quotable and shocking remarks about the famous on every page. The fifteen years Jacobs toiled for Frank produces a classic of its genre — a gold-star gossip-lover's dream....

"The rest is showbiz history as it was, and only Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, and Betty Bacall are spared. Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Juliet Prowse, Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Mia Farrow, Elvis Presley, ...

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Overview

"Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra, by former valet-aide George Jacobs with an oh-so-able assist by William Stadiem, has at least five quotable and shocking remarks about the famous on every page. The fifteen years Jacobs toiled for Frank produces a classic of its genre — a gold-star gossip-lover's dream....

"The rest is showbiz history as it was, and only Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, and Betty Bacall are spared. Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Juliet Prowse, Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Mia Farrow, Elvis Presley, Swifty Lazar, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr., Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Jimmy van Heusen, Edie Goetz, Peter Lawford, and all of the Kennedys come in for heaping portions of 'deep dish,' served hot. Sordid, trashy, funny, and so rat-a-tat with its smart inside info and hip instant analysis that some of it seems too good to be true....

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Editorial Reviews

NY Times Sunday Book Review
George Jacobs, Frank Sinatra's valet during the very good years 1953 to 1968, serves up a showbiz tell-all -- straight, no chaser. In a hip patois worthy of a cool-jazz film noir, Mr. S, written with William Stadiem, the author of Marilyn Monroe Confidential, recounts the epic mismatch of Sinatra, the hard-drinking swinger-in-chief, and the flower child Mia Farrow. — Eric P. Nash
The New York Times
Mr. Jacobs, who is downright anatomical in revealing what his former boss was like, was more inclined to see the sociable side of Sinatra's liaisons than their business or political implications. — Janet Maslin
Publishers Weekly
In this insider celebrity bio, Jacobs, who served as Sinatra's valet for more than 13 years, recalls the time when Sinatra (or "Mr. S," as he called him) first hired him, then fired him in a jealous rage in 1968. Jacobs, who grew up in New Orleans, offers glimpses of Sinatra's private life-his obsession with cleanliness, his professional and personal relationships, as well as his many sexual conquests (which Jacobs sometimes recounts with too much detail). Jacobs (writing with Stadiem, author of Marilyn Monroe Confidential), in sometimes overwritten prose, dishes out the dirt on everyone from Hollywood stars (he catches Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo in Sinatra's pool, swimming naked and kissing) to the Kennedy clan (future president JFK doing lines of coke with Rat Pack member Peter Lawford). The authors spare only Ava Gardner from the dirtiest gossip. Sinatra entrusted his valet with his most private affairs-Jacobs kept his various girlfriends and wives entertained while Sinatra was busy. (It was a paparazzo's photo of Jacobs dancing with Mia Farrow at a nightclub that ignited Sinatra's rage.) Despite Sinatra's temper tantrums, Jacobs maintains that Sinatra always treated him well; and despite Sinatra's off-color jokes, he insists that the star was not a racist. (Sammy Davis Jr. "was the only person in Mr. S's world who made me aware of being black, and made me feel second-class for it.") In the end this is a mostly respectful portrait of Sinatra by a man still stung by the singer's unforgiving temper. One only wishes the book included more of Jacobs. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
As-told-to memoir of life with the famous crooner by his African-American Man Friday, lubricated with racy tales about the stars, the Kennedys, and the Mob. Aided by veteran coauthor Stadiem (Too Rich, 1991, etc.), New Orleans native Jacobs begins his story at the end of his association with Sinatra. The summer of 1968 was not a good year for Mr. S. The music world was changing, many of his Mob pals were either in jail or exile, and his marriage to Mia Farrow was in trouble—which might explain why he summarily fired Jacobs for the sin of dancing with Farrow (at her request) in a popular Beverly Hills nightspot. In subsequent chapters, the author details his Hollywood rise, which began in 1950 when he came to California dreaming of a career in show biz after serving in the navy. Jacobs first worked for noted agent Irving Lazar, who introduced him to stars like Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Sinatra, whose career seemed stalled until he landed an Oscar-winning role in From Here to Eternity in 1952. One year later, Jacobs was hired away by Sinatra, who not only coveted his skills as a factotum but wanted to annoy Lazar, who had treated the singer like a has-been. Jacobs describes how he became close to Sinatra, a generous if volatile employer, met his family and friends, listened to his worries about his career. Though Mr. S. had numerous affairs—with hookers and starlets as well as Bacall and Monroe—he was still obsessed with Ava Gardner, the author recalls, as he liberally names names and regales scandals. Sinatra was insecure about his background, Jacobs reveals, and his awe of the Kennedys turned to hate when he was betrayed by Bobby and Jackie, who disapproved of hisassociation with JFK. By contrast, he remained loyal to mobsters like Sam Giancana. Deliciously gossipy, yet Sinatra is recalled with affection rather than spite. Agent: Peter Miller
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060596743
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/6/2004
  • Edition description: First Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 186,672
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

George Jacobs has refused countless offers to tell his story. Until now. A master chef and carpenter, he lives not far from the old Sinatra compound in Palm Springs, Florida, where he continues to be one of the toasts of that star-filled town.

William Stadiem was a Harvard JD-MBA and Wall Street lawyer before embarking for Hollywood, where he has written the screenplays for such films as Franco Zeffirelli's Young Toscanini, starring Elizabeth Taylor. He wrote the bestselling Marilyn Monroe Confidential, and Lullaby and Good Night with Vincent Bugliosi. Formerly the Hollywood columnist for Andy Warhol's Interview as well as food critic for Los Angeles magazine, Stadiem lives in a home overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Mr. S

My Life with Frank Sinatra
By George Jacobs and William Stadiem

Harper Entertainment

ISBN: 0060515163


Chapter One


Last Tango in Beverly Hills

Summer 1968. The only man in America who was less interested than me in sleeping with Mia Farrow was her husband and my boss, Frank Sinatra. Theirs had to be one of the worst, most ill-conceived celebrity marriages of all time, and after two years of one disaster after another, it was all over except for the paperwork. Mr. S's lawyer, Mickey Rudin, who was a combination bag man, hit man, and Hollywood hustler, was planning to take Mia down to Juárez for a Mexican divorce that would get her out of Mr. S's life once and forever, which, for everyone who knew them as a noncouple, couldn't have been soon enough.

I may sound like Mr. S's friend and idol Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca when I ask myself, of all the gin joints in the world, why did Mia have to walk into the Candy Store that hot night? But she did, and because I danced with her, and because the spying eyes of America, courtesy of an undercover scout for gossip queen Rona Barrett, were upon us, that frug, or watusi, or whatever it was, got blown up into a wild affair. And because I was Sinatra's valet, and because I was black, and because Mia was America's reigning Love Child, the rumors got particularly crazy, sort of Upstairs, Downstairs meets Shaft. Mr. S, who was the lowest he'd ever been in the fifteen years we'd been together, got even crazier. It cost me the job I loved, and it cost him a guy who loved him.

The summer of 1968 had been a particularly bad one for the generation gap. There had been the student seizure of Columbia University and the subsequent police riots and brutality. Then the same thing happened again in Paris. Soon there would be the Days of Rage at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and before too long Mr. S, who had been King of the Democrats, was supporting Richard Nixon. Because he thought that the permissive youth culture was a threat to the American Way, or at least His Way, Mr. S wanted all the police brutality he could get. On the other side of the fence, Mia was getting all moony about student radicals like Mark Rudd and hippie radicals like Abbie Hoffman, with the end result that Frank and Mia wouldn't even speak to each other.

At first they would argue politics over our Italian dinners that Mia would barely touch. Mr. S thought she wasn't eating as a kind of hunger strike against his "capitalist pig," power elite, "get a haircut" attitudes, but it was more that Mia just wasn't much of an eater beyond yogurt and trail mix. Mia wasn't really a debater, either. She would just look at Mr. S with a betrayed look in those save-the-world big blue eyes of hers, as if to say "How can you possibly think like that? How cruel, how insensitive, how unloving!" And those big blue eyes that Old Blue Eyes himself had been such a goner for would just drive him up the wall, and certainly away from the table. Then she'd turn those guilt eyes on me, as if I were the voice of the ghetto. But I wasn't about to get into that trap. I stayed as neutral as Switzerland. "The only thing that'll save this world is my eggplant parmigiana," I'd say, carefully avoiding the mention of any animal protein. Then she'd give up and go read a script or call her agent. For an unmaterialistic hippie, Mia was wildly ambitious.

The Bel Air house we were renting, a big Wuthering Heights number just north of Sunset Boulevard, got to be like Berlin before they tore the Wall down. Separate rooms, separate meals, separate lives. The weirdest part about it was that there was no music. Mr. S didn't play his jazz, didn't play his Puccini, and Mia didn't play her Beatles or her Moody Blues. It was truly the sounds of silence, and it was loud as hell.

It's probably a good idea for me to point out that while I sometimes refer to the Chairman as Frank, or Sinatra, when we were together, I only addressed him as Mr. S. He generally called me George, but when he was being rambunctious, particularly with his so-called gangster friends, with whom he loved to act as "bad" as he could, he'd call me Spook. I know these were the days of Black Power, but somehow it didn't bother me. After all, one of the few times I ever saw the guy cry was earlier that year when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. (He did not shed a tear for Bobby Kennedy, but that's another story.) He called his plane the El Dago. He called Dean Martin Wop, Gene Kelly Shanty, Cary Grant Sheenie, Jerry Lewis Jew, Laurence Harvey Ladyboy, Johnny Mathis the African Queen. Those were his terms of endearment. This was way before political correctness, and because he loved being the Bad Boy, he insisted on doing the opposite of whatever was political and whatever was correct, except around the kingpins of his youth like Sam Giancana with whom, ironically enough, he was always on perfect behavior, like a little altar boy.

But now Sam Giancana was long gone, in exile down in Mexico, in Cuernavaca. Johnny Rosselli would soon be going to prison. Because he grew up in a New Jersey subculture of godfathers, padrones, mob bosses, and such, Mr. S always seemed to need some power figures to look up to. His new kingpins became the Old Guard of Hollywood royalty, Claudette Colbert, Rosalind Russell, Leland Hayward, and, above all, Bill and Edie Goetz, he being the big-time producer of everything from Ma and Pa Kettle to Sayonara, she being the daughter of Louis B. Mayer and the Queen Bee of A-list Hollywood hostesses. I had gotten my start in showbiz nearly twenty years before as a liveried waiter, at their Holmby Hills estate, which was L.A.'s answer to Versailles. The Goetzes were the ones who actually pushed Mr. S into marrying Mia, because the Goetzes had embraced her as "one of them," so Frank thought he was marrying royalty himself ...

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Mr. S by George Jacobs and William Stadiem
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

1 Last Tango in Beverly Hills 1
2 Swifty 21
3 From Eternity to Here 45
4 Gangland 80
5 Camelot 117
6 Flirting with Disaster 148
7 Jet Set 178
8 Generation Gap 215
9 Aftermath 251
Acknowledgments 261
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First Chapter

Mr. S
My Life with Frank Sinatra

Chapter One

Last Tango in Beverly Hills

Summer 1968. The only man in America who was less interested than me in sleeping with Mia Farrow was her husband and my boss, Frank Sinatra. Theirs had to be one of the worst, most ill-conceived celebrity marriages of all time, and after two years of one disaster after another, it was all over except for the paperwork. Mr. S's lawyer, Mickey Rudin, who was a combination bag man, hit man, and Hollywood hustler, was planning to take Mia down to Juárez for a Mexican divorce that would get her out of Mr. S's life once and forever, which, for everyone who knew them as a noncouple, couldn't have been soon enough.

I may sound like Mr. S's friend and idol Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca when I ask myself, of all the gin joints in the world, why did Mia have to walk into the Candy Store that hot night? But she did, and because I danced with her, and because the spying eyes of America, courtesy of an undercover scout for gossip queen Rona Barrett, were upon us, that frug, or watusi, or whatever it was, got blown up into a wild affair. And because I was Sinatra's valet, and because I was black, and because Mia was America's reigning Love Child, the rumors got particularly crazy, sort of Upstairs, Downstairs meets Shaft. Mr. S, who was the lowest he'd ever been in the fifteen years we'd been together, got even crazier. It cost me the job I loved, and it cost him a guy who loved him.

The summer of 1968 had been a particularly bad one for the generation gap. There had been the student seizure of Columbia University and the subsequent police riots and brutality. Then the same thing happened again in Paris. Soon there would be the Days of Rage at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and before too long Mr. S, who had been King of the Democrats, was supporting Richard Nixon. Because he thought that the permissive youth culture was a threat to the American Way, or at least His Way, Mr. S wanted all the police brutality he could get. On the other side of the fence, Mia was getting all moony about student radicals like Mark Rudd and hippie radicals like Abbie Hoffman, with the end result that Frank and Mia wouldn't even speak to each other.

At first they would argue politics over our Italian dinners that Mia would barely touch. Mr. S thought she wasn't eating as a kind of hunger strike against his "capitalist pig," power elite, "get a haircut" attitudes, but it was more that Mia just wasn't much of an eater beyond yogurt and trail mix. Mia wasn't really a debater, either. She would just look at Mr. S with a betrayed look in those save-the-world big blue eyes of hers, as if to say "How can you possibly think like that? How cruel, how insensitive, how unloving!" And those big blue eyes that Old Blue Eyes himself had been such a goner for would just drive him up the wall, and certainly away from the table. Then she'd turn those guilt eyes on me, as if I were the voice of the ghetto. But I wasn't about to get into that trap. I stayed as neutral as Switzerland. "The only thing that'll save this world is my eggplant parmigiana," I'd say, carefully avoiding the mention of any animal protein. Then she'd give up and go read a script or call her agent. For an unmaterialistic hippie, Mia was wildly ambitious.

The Bel Air house we were renting, a big Wuthering Heights number just north of Sunset Boulevard, got to be like Berlin before they tore the Wall down. Separate rooms, separate meals, separate lives. The weirdest part about it was that there was no music. Mr. S didn't play his jazz, didn't play his Puccini, and Mia didn't play her Beatles or her Moody Blues. It was truly the sounds of silence, and it was loud as hell.

It's probably a good idea for me to point out that while I sometimes refer to the Chairman as Frank, or Sinatra, when we were together, I only addressed him as Mr. S. He generally called me George, but when he was being rambunctious, particularly with his so-called gangster friends, with whom he loved to act as "bad" as he could, he'd call me Spook. I know these were the days of Black Power, but somehow it didn't bother me. After all, one of the few times I ever saw the guy cry was earlier that year when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. (He did not shed a tear for Bobby Kennedy, but that's another story.) He called his plane the El Dago. He called Dean Martin Wop, Gene Kelly Shanty, Cary Grant Sheenie, Jerry Lewis Jew, Laurence Harvey Ladyboy, Johnny Mathis the African Queen. Those were his terms of endearment. This was way before political correctness, and because he loved being the Bad Boy, he insisted on doing the opposite of whatever was political and whatever was correct, except around the kingpins of his youth like Sam Giancana with whom, ironically enough, he was always on perfect behavior, like a little altar boy.

But now Sam Giancana was long gone, in exile down in Mexico, in Cuernavaca. Johnny Rosselli would soon be going to prison. Because he grew up in a New Jersey subculture of godfathers, padrones, mob bosses, and such, Mr. S always seemed to need some power figures to look up to. His new kingpins became the Old Guard of Hollywood royalty, Claudette Colbert, Rosalind Russell, Leland Hayward, and, above all, Bill and Edie Goetz, he being the big-time producer of everything from Ma and Pa Kettle to Sayonara, she being the daughter of Louis B. Mayer and the Queen Bee of A-list Hollywood hostesses. I had gotten my start in showbiz nearly twenty years before as a liveried waiter, at their Holmby Hills estate, which was L.A.'s answer to Versailles. The Goetzes were the ones who actually pushed Mr. S into marrying Mia, because the Goetzes had embraced her as "one of them," so Frank thought he was marrying royalty himself ...

Mr. S
My Life with Frank Sinatra
. Copyright © by George Jacobs. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2003

    I Loved This Book!!!!!

    When I first heard about this book, I thought to myself - 'What do I care about the 1953-1968 time span in Sinatra's life?' I have been an avid Sinatra fan for 40 years and I have read quite a bit about Mr. S. None have been quite as good as George Jacob's account of the years of 1953-1968 serving Mr. Sinatra (Mr. S). I never knew that I was so interested in that particular time of Sinatra's live until I read the book. For all Sinatra fans--this book is awesome - an easy read and highly engrossing (I hope everything is true). Do yourself a favor and run out and purchase the book and enjoy every morsel of this delicious read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    TOTALLY ABSORBING WITH LOTS OF DISH!

    Mr. S is a fabulous read - I couldn't put it down. George Jacobs lived an amazing life-traveling around the country and the world with the "Chairman of the Board". Through George's own words and written with Mr. Stadiem, we learn of Frank Sinatra's strengths and vulnerabilities, his amazing talent and interesting idiosynchrocies, his bitterness and resentments along with his incredible generosity. And the women!!!!! There were a lot!
    This is a behind the scenes look at the personal life of one of the most unique, gifted talents America (Hoboken, New Jesey) has ever produced. George's narrative style is very loose, natural and very funny. He is a kean observer of human behavior. I would absolutley recommend this to anyone interested in the life of Frank Sinatra. You will not be disappointed! I believe every story and all the anecdotes in this book. With a feature film about to be made about Fank Sinatra, the is a must read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2003

    Tame this book is not

    I think George Jacobs must be telling the truth about the goings on with Frank Sinatra and he does honor his memory in glowing detail. However, he also lets us in on the entertainment scene during the 50's and 60's and it isn't pretty. While the salacious details of their hedonistic lifestyle's are interesting and fuel for continued legacy building of the whole person, rather than just their talent, there is a great deal of excess here. Having said that, I couldn't put the book down. The Kennedy's were deplorable. Ava Gardner was a saint? Mia Farrow was a manipulative, philandering woman at 20? I can't think of one reason why Jacobs would lie or distort the truth. This book isn't an easy read but it is fun. Keep your children away from it though. This is not the real world. I recommend this book for historians of the period, not for Sinatra fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2003

    HONEST, COMPASSIONATE, BUT RUDE AWAKENING!

    'Mr. S.' by George Jacobs presents a view of Frank Sinatra--and his amazing era--that many of us only heard about but never could quite believe. I believe Mr. Jacobs is presenting an honest but compassionate account of his own personal experiences with Frank Sinatra and the unimaginable life he led, both as a performer and as a private person. There are revelations that are shocking, even in today's times, and they are told calmly and matter-of-factly by Mr. Jacobs. His own relationship with The Chairman of the Board reflects the self-confessed manic-depressive nature of Frank Sinatra, his extraordinary kindnesses and out-of-control temper tantrums. George Jacobs was a rare and special person to survive that world for as long as he did. Could not put the book down until I finished it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    Highly recommend.

    Mr. S was my idol during '50's, so enjoyed reading about his private life. well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Must read!

    I loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    I am a HUGE Sinatra/Rat Pack fan, when I heard of this book I co

    I am a HUGE Sinatra/Rat Pack fan, when I heard of this book I could not wait to get my hands on it and devour it. I waited 2 weeks for the library to get it in. I started reading the book and I could NOT get into it. I know the book is based on George Jacobs POV but I found it to be dull and uninteresting. I read til I could take no more and would put it down, only to try again and again to read the rest of the book. There may be those who like/love this book but I am certainly not one of them. Being a true Frank fan I was hoping to get some thing from this book but I was left disappointed.

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  • Posted February 4, 2010

    five stars

    the book was very interesting and I loved the way it was written. Although Mr. S had strange ways, you never got the feeling that George was angry at him and he was a strong and unique man to take the name calling although he said it was said in love. I would have loved to hear more about his life - it seemed so interesting.

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  • Posted September 24, 2009

    NEEDED MORE DETAILS!!!!!!!!!

    Spending 15 years with someone almost constantly.......needed more details.

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    Posted May 4, 2011

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