Francis Albert Sinatra was one of the best selling artists of all time, winning eleven Grammy Awards and a much sought after siggy for a collector. He also won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in From Here to Eternity (1953). Elton John said that Sinatra, “was simply the best – no one else even comes close.”
In July 1974 he visited Oz, after 15 year absence. “A funny thing happened in Australia. I made a mistake and got off the plane,” he said. After calling local female journalists “a buck and a half hookers” and refusing to apologise, the ACTU blacklisted him, which threatened to end the tour. It was only the intervention of Union Chief – and later to become Prime Minister – Bob Hawke to restore normality that meant Sinatra could finish the gigs. He vowed never to return.
However, he was persuaded to do so for a concert in Queensland’s Sanctuary Cove by Clive James on 9 January 1988. I drew this caricature and sent him the original and a couple of copies to be signed at the venue. He kept the original and both copies were returned, signed…. but by who?
The number of autograph requests Sinatra received during the latter part of his career was overwhelming. A succession of secretaries, including Gloria Lovell and Dorothy Ullmen became adept at mimicking his graph and signed many items on behalf of the ‘chairman of the board’. It’s highly likely that this is not handwritten by him… but you never know!
He died in 1998 and written on his gravestone is the inscription, “The Best is Yet to Come
In 2004 ‘The Sexiest Man Alive’ according to a number of publications, including People Magazine, Australian actor and producer Hugh Jackman won a Tony Award for his role in The Boy From Oz – a jukebox musical based on the life of fellow antipodean singer/songwriter Peter Allen. After it’s world premiere in Sydney on 5 March 1998, it opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on 16 September 2003 with Hugh taking over the lead role from showman Todd McKenney and ran for a year. It also returned to Australia from August/September 2006 with a specifically designed arena production.
Hugh liked the sketch and amongst the madness and mayhem of screaming fans (mostly of the female persuasion) at the UK premiere of The Wolverine he signed it and interrupted his ‘graph to go’ speed signing to pass on complementary remarks.
While the Ashes series clicks into gear, I recall the Bicentennial Test between the two great rivals. It was a single, one-off match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1988 to celebrate the bicentenary of permanent European settlement in Australia. It was played from 29 January to the 2 February, but was not part of The Ashes series. England were captained by Mike Gatting and the hosts by Allan Border.
The result was a draw… and by some illustrative intuition I ‘drew’ this ‘toon and made up a ‘team sheet’ sending it to the famous ground and hoping both squads members would ‘graph it for me. In those days the cricket fraternity were much more obliging, plus I used a courier who ‘knew a bloke’ on the inside. In fact, he knew a number of blokes with connections, so I used him often. Needless to say, he did manage to see a bit of sport at the same time, and you can’t rush a good delivery, as they say in cricket! It was a mutual relationship that worked well.