One of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra was born in 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Sinatra was the only child of two Sicilian immigrants. In his teenage years, Sinatra became inspired by Bing Crosby, which ultimately led him to pursue his dreams of becoming a singer. Sinatra rose to fame singing big band numbers and releasing an array of hit songs. He later appeared in dozens of films and even won an Oscar for his work in From Here to Eternity. A legend of jazz, and American culture, Frank Sinatra was a catalyst in American entertainment.

Profile of Frank Sinatra

History of a Legend

Growing up, Sinatra was a member of his high school’s glee club and began to sing in local nightclubs at a young age. Radio exposure is what eventually led bandleader Harry James to record Sinatra’s first hits, including “All or Nothing at All.” In 1940, Tommy Dorsey invited Sinatra to join his band, and after two years of chart-topping success, Sinatra made the decision to make music on his own.

Solo Artist and Actor

Between 1943 and 1946, Sinatra’s solo career landed him a slew of charted hit singles which capitalized on his dreamy baritone sound. He earned nicknames like, “The Voice,” and “The Sultan of Swoon,” as a result of the style he brought to the culture of jazz. This same period brought successes in a blossoming acting career for young Sinatra, who made his movie acting debut in 1943 with the films Reveille with Beverly and Higher and Higher. In 1945, Sinatra won a special Academy Award for his work in a 10-minute short film which was made to promote racial and religious tolerance in America.

His popularity throughout the war years did not last, as Sinatra lost his recording and film contracts in the early 1950’s. A triumphant comeback in 1953 landed him an Oscar for the role of supporting actor in his portrayal of an Italian-American soldier, Maggio in the film, From Here to Eternity. That year, Sinatra was also offered a recording contract with Capitol Records, and later released a more mature sound of Sinatra.

In the remaining 45 years of his life, Sinatra found continued success in both film and music. His acting career landed him another Academy Award nomination in 1955 for his work in The Man with the Golden Arm, and he earned critical acclaim for his involvement in the 1962 original release of The Manchurian Candidate. All the while, Sinatra held an impressive music chart presence.

At the end of the 1950’s, Sinatra left Capitol Records and established his own recording label, Reprise. In association with Warner Bros., which later bought the record label, Sinatra also developed Artanis, his own independent film production company.

Sinatra died a legend in 1998, leaving behind a strong soundtrack to the development of American culture, and an array of films that perfectly depicted the icon’s successes and downfalls throughout his career as a jazz musician and an actor.