You Wouldn't Have Wanted To Meet Frank Sinatra In Real Life. Here's Why

Think of Beatlemania, with hordes of fans screaming and borderline mass hysteria. Think of Elvis the Pelvis, his hips deliberately out of the camera frame when he performed on national television. Think of Sinatra — he doesn't even need a first name — with his bobby soxer fan base lining up, desperate for tickets to his performances, beside themselves with joy as he crooned and they swooned.

Frank Sinatra was a Hoboken, New Jersey boy, born in 1915 to an Italian Catholic family, says Biography, the only child of a tavern keeper and his very connected wife, Dolly — politically and, in their neighborhood, socially, a woman who could make things happen for people, including abortions. She had a foul, legendary temper of her own and, according to Frank's biographer James Kaplan, that's where Frank learned to read people — would Mother bestow a kiss or a blow from a nightstick-like club? "When I would get out of hand, she would give me a rap with that little club; then she would hug me to her breast," he related to one interviewer. According to Kaplan's Frank Sinatra: The Voice, Frank once told Shirley MacLaine that his mother frightened him. "Never knew what she'd hate that I'd do."

The guy was unbelievably complicated. He was a staunch opponent of racism and anti-semitism. In 1945, during the height of his first wave of popularity, he starred in a short film regarding the importance of diversity in America's population, titled The House I Live In.

His wife, Ava Gardner, was not spared his temper

But you could make the argument that Sinatra's famous temper — and it was quite famous — was something he came by honestly, from his upbringing. And, later, something he was driven to pass on, as abuse tends to be.

There are lots of stories out there about Sinatra's temper tantrums, which seems an awfully watered-down way to talk about rage. Sometimes it was personal — the Brampton Guardian tells the story of Sinatra's affair with Marilyn Monroe, which included the times he called her "stupid." He destroyed priceless art (including a Ming vase) in his Hong Kong hotel room when someone missed a lighting cue during his show there, says GQ. He threw a champagne bottle at his second wife, Ava Gardner. He missed, which was good on so many levels, because the projectile broke the sink it actually hit. Even the FBI got interested, compiling a 2,000-page dossier on him, according to the BBC.

He was deeply loyal to his friends, yet capable of permanently cutting off a relationship of a slight of any size. Lots of rumors about mob connections, too — some still believe he got out of his first contract, with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, because the mafia, shall we say, intervened on his behalf. Isn't it interesting, what a boy can learn from his mother?