Frank Sinatra was arrested for assaulting a journalist: “I saw red”
Frank Sinatra made little effort to hide that he disliked the press. The singer gave a limited number of interviews and attacked journalists on several occasions. He had a particular dislike of journalist Lee Mortimer, who often wrote about Sinatra. In retaliation for an unflattering article, Sinatra and several friends attacked Mortimer as he left a restaurant. Mortimer took the singer to court in response.
Frank Sinatra was known for his temper
Everyone who knew Sinatra knew that the singer had an unstable temper, especially when drunk. Although he could be warm and generous to fans and close friends, people wanted to avoid siding with him.
“He did not suffer fools willingly. This man had no gray in him,” Quincy Jones told the Desert Sun. “Either he loved you from the bottom of his heart – unconditionally – or he was capable of crashing you into a Mack truck, upside down.”
His daughter Nancy said that although her father’s anger ran high, it didn’t last long.
“He can be a hothead – like a kid sometimes,” she said. “But once he gets it out of his chest, it’s over and he goes on with his life and you can go on with yours.”
He was arrested once for assaulting a journalist he didn’t like
Although Nancy said Sinatra moved on quickly, he had a notable grudge against Mortimer. The journalist had written several articles linking Sinatra to the mafia. In response, Sinatra physically attacked him.
“I was leaving Giro’s with Miss Kay Kino, a singer of the group, when Sinatra and three men jumped on me,” Mortimer explained, according to a 1947 article in the Baltimore Sun. “The first thing I knew I was on the ground and the next thing I knew was when I saw a face that looked like Sinatra’s above me.”
Sinatra did not deny it.
“I saw red. I hit it,” he explained. “I’m sorry it happened, but I was brought up in a tough neighborhood where you had to fight in no time.
Despite this admission, he pleaded innocent when Mortimer had him arrested. His lawyer, Albert Pearlson, argued that Mortimer was the instigator of calling Sinatra an “unpleasant name”.
“Frankie told him to mind his own business,” Pearlson said. “Mortimer lunged at him and Frankie let him. In fact, if anyone is at fault, it’s Mortimer. There is a law against the use of profanity.
Sinatra and Mortimer eventually settled out of court. The singer also publicly apologized to the reporter.
Frank Sinatra allegedly urinated on Mortimer’s grave
Although Sinatra apologized, he still resented Mortimer. After Mortimer’s death, he asked a friend to drive him to the writer’s grave. Once they arrived, Sinatra reportedly urinated on the grave.
“He spoke against me, wrote articles, caused me a lot of grief,” Sinatra said, according to the book. hello goodbye hello by Craig Brown (via Vanity Fair). “I surrendered to him.”
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