Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra

Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra

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by George Jacobs, William Stadiem
     
 

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"As the right hand of Frank Sinatra from 1953 to 1968, George Jacobs arguably had one of the coolest jobs in the world at the time when Sinatra was the undisputed master of the entertainment universe. Jacobs rose from his humble beginnings in New Orleans to join Sinatra in the mansions of Beverly Hills, the penthouses of Manhattan, the palaces of Europe, the pinnacles… See more details below

Overview

"As the right hand of Frank Sinatra from 1953 to 1968, George Jacobs arguably had one of the coolest jobs in the world at the time when Sinatra was the undisputed master of the entertainment universe. Jacobs rose from his humble beginnings in New Orleans to join Sinatra in the mansions of Beverly Hills, the penthouses of Manhattan, the palaces of Europe, the pinnacles of world power. George Jacobs saw it all, did it all." "Sinatra took Jacobs with him on the ride of the century, from blacklist Hollywood to gangland Chicago to an emerging Vegas to Camelot, not to mention dolce vita Rome and swinging London. As a member of Sinatra's inner circle, Jacobs drank with Ava Gardner, danced with Marilyn Monroe, massaged John F. Kennedy, golfed with Sam Giancana, and played jazz with the Prince of Monaco while his boss secretly pursued Princess Grace. He also partied with Mia Farrow, but that one cost him his job of a lifetime." Through the ring-a-ding-ding and the stars, royals, politicians, moguls, and mobsters emerged a warm and intimate relationship that reveals a complex Sinatra: vulnerable and arrogant, charismatic and violent, loving and disdainful, confident and painfully self-conscious.

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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:
9780786259182
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
12/12/2003
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
392
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 8.86(h) x 0.99(d)

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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