58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Heartbreaking....
"Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra," written by George Jacobs - Frank's valet/personal assistant; friend; confidante of 15 years, is a very candid and extremely engrossing book. In every page, it is clear that George Jacobs truly loved Frank Sinatra as a brother. Although I knew quite a bit about Frank Sinatra's life already, I was totally unprepared for how interesting...
Published on March 11, 2007 by K. A. Stevenson
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Insider's Portrait of An Unpleasant Man
Well, if you thought Ol' Blue Eyes was not the nicest human being on the planet, this book won't persuade you any differently. George Jacobs, his valet from 1953 to 1968, was a talented and handsome black man who worshiped his boss and saw him through some of his most famous ups and downs. So when George dishes the gossip, as he does on almost every page, you feel like...
Published on February 16, 2009 by Barbara Badham
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Heartbreaking....,
"Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra," written by George Jacobs - Frank's valet/personal assistant; friend; confidante of 15 years, is a very candid and extremely engrossing book. In every page, it is clear that George Jacobs truly loved Frank Sinatra as a brother. Although I knew quite a bit about Frank Sinatra's life already, I was totally unprepared for how interesting and "can't-put-it-down" this book turned out to be. I loved it.
Frank Sinatra was the best of men and the absolute worst of men. He was the most generous of men and yet he was the most vindictive of men as well. He was a contradiction in human nature in extremes. If you even slightly offended him or were perceived as disloyal, you seldom got another chance.
George tells of his relationship with Frank and Frank's rise and fall and rise back again to fame. He writes of his adventures with Frank's family and how wonderful "Big Nancy" was to Frank - long after the divorce. After reading this, I truly thought Frank Sinatra's first wife was a saint!
I expected this book to touch on just the superficial, but it really delved into a part of our history. Like millions of baby boomers, I idolized John F. Kennedy. Yes - I knew that he had an affair with Marilyn Monroe, but I didn't know about the barrage of call girls and cocaine. When JFK was campaigning, he asked George, "What do colored people want?" Diplomatically, George responded that he didn't know and asked Jack what he wanted (for our country). JFK, with a big leering grin, responded," I want to f*ck every woman in Hollywood." Statements like this just amazed me.
As we all know, Joe Kennedy Sr. had many mob connection from his bootlegging days. This book relates how Illinois was virtually a present to JFK from the mob in the election.
I had heard about the helicopter pad that Frank Sinatra was reported to have destroyed when John Kennedy's visit was cancelled, but I wasn't aware of the extent of John's deception. Frank Sinatra spent over a year campaigning for JFK; having "High Hopes" written and performed; and spending a fortune in anticipation of JFK's visit. Without Joe's influence, John totally turned his back on Sinatra and decided to stay at Bing Crosby's (who had supported Nixon)! Moreover, it was highly likely that he set things in motion for Marilyn's death when she threatened to expose their affair. Bobby Kennedy (whom I had also admired) and Jackie were even more ungrateful than John.
No one deserved what Woody Allen did to Mia Farrow later in life, but I couldn't help thinking that Mia was so wrong in not setting the record straight with Frank about her dancing with George. George was "babysitting" Mia and trying to pacify her when she dragged him onto the dance floor. When the paparazzi went wild with these pictures, George's life was to change forever. As a result, he was literally fired overnight by Frank Sinatra. George had money saved, but it is clear that he never recovered from this blow dealt to him by Sinatra.
My heart absolutely broke for George Jacobs. I literally cried when he tells how he burst into tears upon seeing Frank after 10 years. Frank went over and touched his shoulder and said, "Forget about it kid. It ain't so bad." I do feel Frank Sinatra "forgave" George, but I believe that Barbara Marx would never have allowed him to rehire George because he knew too much about her past.
I had always believed Barbara Marx to be a charitable woman with a great deal of class. She was actually a Vegas showgirl from a poor background who married the much older Zeppo. Everyone knew that she was simply trying to marry money and that she regularly cheated on Zeppo - often with Sinatra. He had known her for years. George was not even allowed to attend Frank Sinatra's funeral - but instead had to watch from across the street.
In the end, one realizes that George Jacobs has found peace. He honestly didn't deserve the low blow that Sinatra dealt him. However, you also realize that through his own insecurities, Frank Sinatra lost one of his dearest friends who loved him most. In the end, Frank Sinatra was the one who lost the most. I truly pray that Sinatra came to know this.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Insider's Portrait of An Unpleasant Man,
Well, if you thought Ol' Blue Eyes was not the nicest human being on the planet, this book won't persuade you any differently. George Jacobs, his valet from 1953 to 1968, was a talented and handsome black man who worshiped his boss and saw him through some of his most famous ups and downs. So when George dishes the gossip, as he does on almost every page, you feel like you can trust the source. George happily adopted his servile role because frankly (pun intended), there was no greater ride in the world than hanging onto Sinatra's coattails. George was able to go places and meet people and have remarkable experiences that were denied to most mortals. He swelled with pride at his insider's identity and thought that Sinatra's cruel streak would never touch him because of his loyalty. Wrong. One innocent dance with Mia Farrow (whom FS was divorcing at the time) brought down the famous wrath upon George: "In one split second, my life had been turned upside down, and I didn't have a clue why." One of the black maids abashedly handed him a letter from Sinatra's attorney: "It was short and anything but sweet. I had been dismissed, as of this instant . . . I was not to reenter the premises, nor telephone, nor in any way approach or try to contact Mr. Sinatra. My belongings would be delivered to me in three days. There was no explanation, no apology, no severance pay . . . [just the implication of] do not darken this door as long as you live." He never heard from Mr. S again.
Wow. This is how the book starts out, so you read on expecting to hear at some point a tone of bitterness or reproach--but it never comes. George remains rapturous about the glory days that he and Sinatra had together, and what results is almost a valentine to the crooner. Even so, the back cover of the book admits that Frank spared few of those close to him from rejection or scorn: "only Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, and Betty Bacall." Ava was always his passion, his unrequited love, and he kept chasing her long after it made sense to do so. He basked in the Kennedy era until he felt marginalized by them and then turned nasty--such that "to be Lawfordized" became a verb symbolizing his total repudiation of someone. His first wife (Big Nancy, as opposed to Little Nancy the singer) did her best to keep the home fires burning long after his departure, but he seemed indifferent to her hausfrau efforts. Mia was, by all accounts, a hippie flake. And Barbara Marx was, well, a shrew who cut George from the funeral list in one of her many arbitrary displays of power.
So why did I read this book from cover to cover? Because George's story was itself remarkable. He strikes one as a very giving person, whose dedication to personal service reaped him many vicarious rewards. He chronicled a remarkable flux in the racial landscape during some critical years in US history, and he bestowed a kind eye on the many folks, celebrities or not, who crossed his path during his glory days. [I was pleased to read that he now earns his living as a master chef and carpenter.] And, Yes!, he ladles out the tittle-tattle in generous portions. Anyone wanting to gain real insight into Sinatra's public and private lives might want to read this book first . . .
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Document of Cultural History,
I didn't have high expectations for this book. The British royal family has shown us that tell-alls by "valets" and the like leave much to be desired, but this book was a wonderful surprise. It serves not only as an unusual insight into an American icon -- Frank Sinatra -- but also a cultural history of a young black man, George Jacobs, coming of age in the 1950's and 1960's with a front row seat on some of the most important figures of our time from Joe Kennedy to Ava Gardner to Sammy Davis, Jr. I think this book gives provocative insight on our American history through the lens of race, gender and popular culture.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Dynamite Page Turner,
I had resisted reading this book when it was published because I liked Frank Sinatra and did not want to see him trashed as might be expected by a "disgruntled" ex employee. Hoever, it was highly recommended by a credible friend so I bought it from Amazon. As it turned out I devoured the book in very little time and the author, George Jacobs, is hardly disgruntled, rather he is respectful and saddened and presents his former boss in a very sympathtic, very inside way. As Sammy Davis, Jr.'s biographer (Yes I Can and Why Me? and Photo By Sammy Davis, Jr.)I knew many of the personalities in this book and was aware of many of the situations Mr. Jacobs reveals so clearly and accurately. Some of it is shocking, probably only possible because the people are dead and cannot sue. But he is accurate on the things I knew about so I have to assume he is on the money all the way. It was a wonderful page turning read. Highly recommended to anyone interested in this subject matter.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Black Forrest Gump,
This book reminds me of the movie Forrest Gump. The big difference is that this book is more than likely true.
I am a 40 year old black male and I like FS. I always have. I don't own any of his music or anything like that. Quite frankly, one wouldn't think that I was a fan of FS. Given my age, race, and where I grew up (inner city Chicago), I don't fit the profile of a typical FS fan. I just thought that FS was cool and his music was swingin' (as they used to say).
George Jacobs is a Forrest Gump type of character. He seemed to be "in" on almost every major event that occurred between the time he hooked up with FS until the time he was let go in the late sixties. He had associations with all of the major pop culture stars of the time from athletes to movie stars to presidents. Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Sammy Davis Jr., Sam Giancana, JFK, Spencer Tracy, Bogie, Becall, John Wayne, the Rat Pack, Las Vegas, MGM, the mob, and all the rest....You've probably read the book so there's no need for me recant.
I envied George Jacobs but at the same time I felt sorry for him. I envied him for living the life (whether vicariously or directly). He was on the inside. At the same time I felt sorry for George because his entire life revolved around FS. I mentioned that I was a 40 year old black male for a reason. Don't get me wrong, George lived the life as far as having money is concerned and being around all of the who's who of the entertainment world and all the rest. But, to me he was ultimately just the help. IM conflicted a bit because I have fantasized about actually being George. I have to remind myself that George was a young man in his 20's when he 1st started. He was from LA and he had the unique opportunity to work for the biggest star in the world. Who wouldn't do it.
What I would not have done is accept all of the racial insults and temper tantrums. I was shocked at some of the stars and their racial attutudes inclucing Sammy Davis Jr. In the end the black "characters" of the story were all put in their places. Sammy wasn't invited to the biggest and most important party of the year and possibly of FS's career. George was shut out of the home interview by that one TV show ( I forgot the name). They were both given lame excuses for their individual snubs. In my opinion, Sammy was snubbed more so than George. Sammy was a real star. A relevant star. George was the help, plain and simple. I liked George, but he was FS's help/valet and a glorified butler of sorts. Again, I would have loved to be right in the middle of it all (without the abuse). George seem to get full of himself and a little lost and blinded by Fs's star. He often used the word we a lot when referring to where FS was traveling or what guest he was having over for dinner, etc. Blacks have a history of over-identifying with their bosses/masters. Remember Gone With The Wind and the black maid Mammy? Let us remember that she used to be a slave and when the Civil War started and was all over she remained with the family. She even looked down on "common field hands". Why didn't Mammy leave after the war and be with her own family? Maybe because she over indentified with her master. She loved her master and his kids better than she did her own family. But see when you over identify, often times it's one sided. They are important to you and you are important to them just like a car is important to them. When it breaks down or gets too old or unreliable or out of style or when they get tired of it, they simply get rid of it and replace it with another one. The Golden Rule Baby. Those who have the gold, rules. FS got rid of George and virtually never spoke to him again. Did FS had that much pride? Like someone said in an earlier comment, Mia could have help to straighten things out. She and George were tight, right? I guess it's natural to feel the way George did considering FS was his boss and at the same time, their was some closeness between FS and George. FS did depend on George, but FS would be ok without George. George depended on FS, but George could've suffered emotionally and financially without the "good graces" of FS. It was sort of like FS was throwing George scraps from the table when he did receive gifts. FS did give George stock in his business when he didn't have to. When George was let go, he did receive a "nice" check a few months later, although it was Im sure unexpected. Again, relying on FS's "generosity". Another reality check for George occurred at the end when FS's lawyer sort of threatened him and told him not to contact FS and then used an unnecessary racial slur or comment in doing so. I can understand a bit how FS would use the word "spook" and the like when it's just George and the gang giving each other sh@t. But how could his lawyer issue a parting shot like that. Maybe because someone really didn't like George. The lawyer probably did it on his own. It all ended up being too bad for George (emotionally).
FS was a jerk plain and simple. Then again, he seemed to be this way only around people who associations with him. According to George he was very cordial to the casual fan.
I was shocked at JFK's behavior and pretty much all of the stars. When I say shocked, Im referring to their racial attitudes and the whore-mongering. These people had serious flaws. The alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking was outrageous. Some of these people were real snobs. I guess we regular people put these people on such high pedistals and we just forget that they are just like us and we are ultimately responsible for their arrogant behavior.
I would love to speak with George or email him. I would love to ask him, Why didn't he leave when FS threw the pasta at him in font of guests? How did it feel to be oncall seemingly 24hrs a day? Did he ever give you any extended personal time off/vacation time? Since FS dumped you like you weren't anything to him, why did you wait until now to tell your story? When you were snubbed for the TV interview, did you believe FS's reasoning (because I didn't)?
I really enjoyed this book. I bought it about 2 yrs ago and reread it again a few weeks ago. What a life. I wonder if George would do it all again...............
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Bedroom to Board Room, He Was Larger Than Life,
"Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra," by his valet of 15 years George Jacobs (whom Sinatra fired for dancing with Mia Farrow), is filled with enough vanity, insecurity, envy, racism, drinking, smoking, womanizing and deal-making for three lifetimes. Jacobs takes the reader into the "board room" and the bedroom to reveal intimate portraits of the supremely talented larger-than-life Chairman himself, the woman he never stopped loving (Ava Gardner), mobster associates like one-time Al Capone "wheel man" Sam Giancana, that pitiful plaything of the rich and famous, Marilyn Monroe, and the utterly vile Kennedy father (who was even "crueler about Jews than he was about blacks") and his charismatic, whore-mongering son (drinking, drugs and round-the-clock sex that had even the insatiable Sinatra panting).
If Ronald Reagan's motto was "Win one for the Gipper," JFK's (and Sinatra's) surely had to be "Win one for the zipper."
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surpringly relevant,
We all know Frank Sinatra did some interesting stuff. The author, George Jacobs, was his valet from 1953 to 1968, so he saw quite a bit of it. With honesty, brevity and wit, he tells us about it. Right out of the "truth is stranger than fiction" department. I saw a number of celebrities I recognized in here, and it was interesting to see them off camera. I saw a number of celebrities in here that I've never heard of, and they were interesting too. I think that latter point matters for readers who may perhaps be too young to remember when Frank was doing it his way. I also feel that I've stumbled onto a portrait of a time and place that I needed to see. It's a great book, not just a tell-all gossipfest. Oh, it has that too, but it's better somehow.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read,
Warts and all is the only way to describe this portrait of Frank Sinatra. There's no doubt in my mind that he was a great artist, but his persona left a lot to be desired, and George Jacobs helped by William Stadiem has put it all out there for us to judge for ourselves. This is gossip, but it's of the highest order, so to speak, it and includes just about every political and show biz mover and shaker of the times including JFK and the cast of his Camelot. Jacobs worked as Sinatra's valet and he loved his boss. He ended up being treated like many of the people in Sinatra's life who loved him, abruptly and definitively tossed out of the royal circle. Just how and why this happened is a terrific story filled with memorable scenes. My favorite is the one of FS trashing the lobby of the Sands Hotel and Casino in Vegas in a motorized golf cart with Mia Farrow, his then wife, riding shotgun. I recommend this book with no reservations, but in all fairness to Frank Sinatra, I would call attention to Pete Hamill's, Why Sinatra Matters. Hamill focuses on man as Artist, and lest we forget from reading memoirs like Jacobs, he was that in spades.
23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chronicles What an Unrepetant Jackass Sinatra Really Was.,
Don't get me wrong. I'm a Sinatra Fan. Of his music. I never did buy into the crock of b.s. that painted him as some sort of cultural hero. And I always figured it would just be a matter of time before someone who worked this close to Sinatra would spill the beans. And it's all here. His double standards shine like the Hope Diamond. Do as I say and not as I do seems to be the recurring theme in the Frank Sinatra mantra. He demanded fidelity from his wives, but kept hookers by the dozen at any given time and paid for their abortions like they were monthly Visa bills while everyone else painted him as the picture perfect father of Nancy, Tina and Frank, Jr. His mob ties are legendary and by now general knowledge. Here we find Jacobs giving us all the juicy details. For some reason, the pay was good enough for Jacobs to tolerate Sinatra's unending racial and ethnic slurs which he apparently tossed around freely, never fearing consequence. Yet, for his entire career Sinatra was championed as a great Civil Rights pioneer. Okay, but any Civil Rights pioneer shouldn't toss the N word around so freely. It's not until the late sixties that Sinatra becomes a philanthropist of sorts to untarnish his disgusting image. Jacobs paints an interesting portrait of Old Blue Eyes as the Ultimate Paradox. I found the writing tight, honest and overall it's a book I couldn't put down once I picked it up. Unfortunately, Jacobs himself was kicked out of the Sinatra fold eventually, which makes the story all that more credible. I walked away from the book with a bevy of emotions, angry mostly, that such a talent could be such a jerk for most of his life. There were consequences for the Chairman always wanting to have it his way in his personal and professional life, and now that he's gone we may never know how it might've played out. Today I imagine Frank Sinatra would've been diagnosed as some sort of bi-polar idiot. God knows half of our musicians use that condition as an excuse for their stupid behavior. There indeed is a fine line between genius and lunacy. You'll read Jacob's memoir and walk away satisfied yet ticked off. Guaranteed.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr. S.: My Life with Frank Sinatra,
This review is from: Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra (Paperback)
Some of Frank Sinatra's interactions with friends and foes, with which author George Jacobs purports him to have been involved, are quite outlandish, and can only be confirmed by the testimony of those characters themselves, most of whom are long deceased, e.g., all of Sinatra's Rat Pack cohorts, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, and Joe, John and Bobby Kennedy.
Whether fact or fiction, Jacobs is on the money with less controversial events in Sinatra's life, a few seldom reported before. The book is comprised of the perfect syntax of writer William Stadiem, Jacob's co-author, and clever plays on words and names which alone make the book worth the price.
One drawback, however, that makes the book difficult to read is the length of Stadiem's paragraphs. For some reason, most of them are nearly a page long and comprise several topics that should be separated. Perhaps that problem was generated in the publishing end of the project, because Bill Stadiem knows better than that.
For a Sinatraphile, this book is a must and rates 5 stars if only to air some new rumors. For someone who isn't familiar with the names of Sinatra's cronies and enemies of yesteryear, they are identified for the baby-boomer generation, and the book still rates 4 stars.
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Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra by George Jacobs (Paperback - April 6, 2004)
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