Frank Sinatra was so concerned about Marilyn Monroe’s mental state he considered asking her to marry him so that he could protect her, according to a new biography.
The singer was as in love with Monroe as she was with him, says James Kaplan in Sinatra: The Chairman.
The author, whose previous volume on Sinatra was published in 2010, trawled through the archives to present a detailed account of his relationships with women including Monroe, Ava Gardner, Mia Farrow and Barbara Marx.
And he presents Sinatra, who would have been 100 on December 12, as being infatuated with the actress.
“There was no doubt that Frank was in love with Marilyn,” said Milt Ebbins, a talent manager, in excerpts of the book published by The New York Daily News.
Sinatra and Monroe met in 1954, while Sinatra was still married to Gardner. They began a relationship which lasted several months in 1961, and it was always seen that Monroe was much more attached to the singer than he with her.
But Kaplan’s book, published on October 27, turns the theory that Sinatra did not care for Monroe, and left her to die, on its head.
“Yeah, Frank wanted to marry the broad,” he quotes Jilly Rizzo, Sinatra’s close confidante, as saying. “He asked her and she said no.”
A year later, in 1962, Kaplan writes how Monroe accompanied Sinatra to his Cal Neva resort, in Lake Tahoe, as part of a project to save her.
But a week after the holiday she took her own life.
Joe DiMaggio, her former husband, turned Sinatra away from her funeral.
Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX Shutterstock
Kaplan also believes he has proved that Ronan Farrow, son of Mia Farrow, could not have been Sinatra’s son.
In 2013 Farrow said “maybe” Ronan was fathered by Sinatra, but Kaplan said that was nearly impossible, because at the time Ronan was conceived, in March 1987, Sinatra was recovering from bowel cancer and wearing a colostomy bag.
He is disparaging of Farrow, who was married to Sinatra for two years from July 1966. She was 19, and he was 49.
“Despite the braids and the soft voice and the carefully contrived dither, she knew just what she was all about and where she was going,” he writes.
And he is fiercely critical of Barbara Marx, his last wife, who he married in 1976. Kaplan accuses her of being interested in Sinatra for his money, and enduring his public attacks on her and tirades because she wanted access to his funds.
“She would hold on tight for as long as it took, no matter how rough the ride, until the prize was hers,” he writes.
Marx has described an intimate death scene in her memoir, Lady Blue Eyes. But Kaplan quotes sources who say she was dizzy and nauseous, and may have left the room – leaving Sinatra to die alone.