Sinatra site deluged with messages

GOOD MORNING: I can just hear Frank Sinatra saying, “What d’ya mean I got 130,000 hits? I didn’t hit anybody!” The “hits” are the ones received on the Sinatra Family Web site — and 20,000 messages from around the world were posted in the site’s “guest book.” When Frank is laid to rest Wednesday, he will be escorted to his grave by a military honor guard, reports Nancy Jr., Tina and Frank Jr., who will be among those speaking earlier at the noon funeral at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Nancy Jr. regretted she was not at the hospital Thursday night when her father was rushed there for the last time. She sadly told me she was watching the finale of “Seinfeld” — “I could have taped that,” she allows. His nurse told her his last words were, “I’m losing it.” Nancy Jr. had visited with Frank on Mother’s Day with her daughter “A.J.” to tell Frank she was engaged to be married next year. And she wanted to show him her engagement ring. He told her, “You’ll be so happy — there’ll be flowers coming out of your nose!” And he said to Nancy Jr., “I love those children.” He had been showing strength last week — Thursday as well — or else Barbara would not have agreed to go out to dinner that night with the Ardie Deutsches (he rushed her home when she was called with news Frank had taken a turn for the worse). … Deutsch recalls one of Frank’s favorite toasts: “I hope you live 100 years — and may the last voice you hear be mine.” And judging by the longevity of Sinatra’s recorded voice — that wish could come true. … Among others to speak at the funeral will be Bob Wagner, also one of the pallbearers. They first met in 1952, “and he was a big influence on my life. I met kings, queens, ambassadors with him.” Although Wagner was not in the Rat Pack, he said he was considered a “silent member. He taught me, when you get down, how to get up” (after the death of Natalie Wood). Sinatra was almost never introduced when he came onstage but Wagner had that singular honor when Frank played Rome years ago. … Mia Farrow arrived Monday from N.Y. to attend the services. Nancy Sr. (81), who had visited Frank several times during the past year, will be on hand at the services with her family.

THE ROOM WAS FULL OF MEMORIES: the occasion was the 50th wedding anniversary May 15 of Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin, the place (the new) Chasen’s. Cyd and Tony laughed when we talked about “The Kissing Bandit,” in which she was a co-star of one of Sinatra’s worst films — about which he laughed — many years later. Producer Joe Pasternak tried everything to save the movie but nothing helped. Tony Martin said he had been the first choice to star in the movie, “but I kept falling off the horse” during rehearsals on the backlot at MGM. The lavish Chasen’s anni dinner was followed by a parade of congratulating celebs intro’d by the Friars’ Johnny Francis. They included: Gov. Pete Wilson, Jerry Vale (duetting with Tony on “There’s No Tomorrow”), Norm Crosby, Rhonda Fleming (husband Ted Mann’s recuping post-surgery), Ricardo Montalban (who soon undergoes surgery), Jack Carter, Milton Berle — who claimed he was at the Charisse-Martin wedding: “I was wearing the same dress she was wearing.” Helen Grayco sang “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” Red Buttons finale’d his “couldn’t make it to this dinner — ” repertoire with, “Cyd and Tony have lasted longer than ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘Lucy’ ‘MASH,’ ‘Cheers’ and ‘All in the Family’ combined — keep sending in those happiness residuals.” Reminiscing, Tony Martin told how he’d won Cyd from Howard Hughes. … Rudy Varone’s group musicked for the big-name guest list including Jay Livingston, who wrote (with Ray Evans) “To Each His Own,” which became one of Tony Martin’s giant records. Saturday, Jay and wife Shirley celebrated their sixth wedding anni — at Trader Vic’s. … There were more reminiscences at (the new) Chasen’s upstairs party room — the former Bistro room where memorable Hollywood parties were held — like the Swifty Lazars’ Oscar party. Also in that same room Saturday night, “Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen’s” — the feature reminiscence about Dave’s famous eatery — was previewed with members of the original staff on hand — but not general manager Ronnie Clint — he’s at St. John’s recuping post-angioplasty. “The Last Days of Chasen’s,” now at L.A.’s Laemmle Music Hall, next moves to the Sunset 5 then bows in N.Y. at the Quad Cinemas, June 19. Among those at the BevHills Chasen’s “Days” preview party was Mary Carol Rudin, who had been birthday-partied as the last event at (the original) Chasen’s by her husband, attorney Mickey Rudin. The Rudins were among the many paying respects at Frank and Barbara Sinatra’s home over the weekend. Mickey had been Frank’s attorney during the turbulent years, having gotten him out of many scrapes, marital and otherwise, and Mickey was responsible for many of Frank’s varied successful business ventures and contracts. Harvey Silbert, who subsequently became Sinatra’s attorney, is co-executor of the estate with Eliot Weisman. The will will be filed this week, with much of it non-publishable as part of a “living trust,” which you can be sure is considerable.

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