Frank Sinatra And Shelley Winters Hated Each Other While Filming This Musical

In 1952, Frank Sinatra was having a rough time. He was in the midst of divorcing his first wife, Nancy Barbato, while dating his future second wife, Ava Gardner. Leo Spitz, production head of Sinatra's film "Meet Danny Wilson," said Sinatra was betraying his religious beliefs by divorcing, according to the book "Frank: The Voice," and it had put him in a funk. Stress was causing him extreme weight loss: according to Shelley Winters, he was losing a pound a week, making her "look heavier in the rushes," she said. She was his co-star in "Meet Danny Wilson," but unfortunately, Sinatra caused chaos on set and took his stress out on Winters.

Initially, they got along, with Sinatra helping a nervous Winters practice singing for their duet, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." Things devolved, though, and before long, Sinatra called her "bow-legged," a bottle blonde, and worse (via Best Life Online).

Shelley claps back

Winters didn't just take this abuse, however. She called Sinatra a "no-talent" and "stupid." She claimed these were among the mildest insults they used toward each other (via Best Life Online). Things also got physical: A Chicago Tribune interview with Winters says she screamed at and "slugged" him, despite the nice clothes she was wearing, after he lost his temper with her one night during filming. She also apparently hit him with a bedpan while filming a different scene, after he'd changed a line of dialogue to insult her once again, according to Best Life Online.

She left the set for two days afterward and only finished the movie after Barbato and Spitz both begged her. Barbato told her Sinatra really needed the money to support his family. Spitz asked her to have a little empathy for his situation, according to "Frank: The Voice." In addition to being in the middle of a divorce, Sinatra was having frequent meetings with psychiatrists and priests for his mental health (via Best Life Online).

Frank has the last word

"Meet Danny Wilson" was the only film in which Sinatra and Winters worked together, and it wasn't particularly successful; the recording of their duet was never released because of lack of interest (via What Culture). The two made many other popular films separately, including "Oceans 11" and "A Place in the Sun." Sinatra went on to win an Oscar for best supporting actor in 1954, for "From Here to Eternity."

According to Winters in her Chicago Tribune interview, Sinatra was the most difficult person she ever worked with, but they later ended up as friends, once several years had passed. He had one last crack at her, though, when she went to see him perform. It was after she'd published her autobiography, in which she admitted to affairs with many famous men (via The Washington Star, posted on Medium). While introducing celebrities in the audience that night, Sinatra included Winters, acknowledging her as a two-time Oscar winner. However, he also added that he was the only Italian — he used a less appropriate word — in America she'd never slept with.