Tag Archives: Frank Sinatra

Robert Davi Takes His Sinatra Record Project All The Way

Robert Davi wowed ’em at the Feast of San Gennaro Prima Notte bash in Hollywood last week — previewing the smooth and swingin’ sound of his singing on “Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance,” his Oct. 24 release Fontana/Universal Music album.  It’s an unexpected pleasure.

The performer best-known for his acting work in such movies as “Die Hard” and “The Goonies” started off as a singer, a trained opera singer, in fact.  He’s also a long-time Sinatra devotee who has a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of the late performer’s musical training and technique.  His 12-track recording includes such songs as “Witchcraft,” “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” and “Nice ‘n Easy.”  He declares, “This music is from the golden age of American music.  Sinatra was its greatest interpreter, the greatest entertainer of all time.” 

As it happened, Davi got his first movie break in Ol’ Blue Eyes’ “Contract onCherry Street.”

“He was great.  Very encouraging.  He took me under wing,” he recalls.  In fact, according to Davi, when the late film producer Cubby Broccoli was looking for a villain for his 1989 “License to Kill” James Bond flick, Sinatra told him to get Davi — and he did.  He never told Sinatra he could sing.

For the past two and a half years, “Davi Sings Sinatra” has been the performer’s labor of love.  He worked with such blue ribbon talent as producer Phil Ramone and musical director/arranger Randy Waldman on the album, and even went back into training to ensure his vocal fitness.  The official record launch event takes place Oct. 19 atL.A.’s The Grove.  Promises Davi, “We’ll have a great band, a hot, cooking band.”

Jack Jones

LET’S MAKE A MEMORY:  Speaking of singing, Jack Jones found out that Monty Hall wanted more than anything to have him sing a song at his 90th birthday party at the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles this week – and subsequently drove all the way in from his Palm Springs home to do the honors.  Afterwards, Jack asked the Winnipeg-born former “Let’s Make a Deal” host what he wanted most for his birthday.  Still fast on his feet, Monty answered, “I want to celebrate my 91st.”   Ba-dum-bum!

Angie Dickinson Talks Scorsese Sinatra Picture

Angie Dickinson

Angie Dickinson

Angie Dickinson has been following with interest developments on Martin Scorsese’s planned big screen biography of Frank Sinatra.  She was, after all, an honorary member of the fabled Rat Pack as well as Sinatra’s leading lady in “Ocean’s Eleven” and beyond.

“Wouldn’t that be great if he could really pull that off?” she asks.  She’s hoping for a biopic the quality of the Joaquin Phoenix “Walk the Line.”

“I thought that was one of the great movies made in recent years and a great depiction of the character.  They even improved Johnny Cash’s image,” notes the septuagenarian Hollywood icon.

Robin Wright Penn

Robin Wright Penn

With Leonardo DiCaprio being talked for Ol’ Blue Eyes, who should play Angie Dickinson?  “Robin Wright Penn or Jessica Biel could play me, and a couple of others.

Angie Dickinson

Angie Dickinson

I’m not that hard to figure out,” she answers with a laugh.  “There have been times when I’ve seen Drew Barrymore in something and thought, ‘If I were young, I could be in that part.'”

Angie has no problem with latter day emulators of the Rat Pack – originally comprised, you’ll recall, of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.  “I absolutely love it.  Listen, I’ve been dining out on that for 59 years.  I get a great kick out of it.”

MEANWHILE: The one-time “Police Woman” returns to the tube July 18 in the Hallmark Channel movie, “Mending Fences,” a title that tells of her relationship with onscreen daughter Laura Leighton – as well as the movie’s tale of small town citizens banding together to save their water supply from developers.

Of the former “Melrose Place” star, Dickinson says, “She’s terrific.  The script was too long and she was working on it every day, making it more succinct and understandable to the audience.”  She adds, “She’s absolutely beautiful — skinny as a rail.  I’d look at her every day and say, ‘Oh, my God!’ … I’ve gained 20 pounds since my prime.”

As far as future acting desires, “I’d like to play Meryl Streep’s mother when they do ‘Prada’ 2,” Angie tells us.  However, she’s aware good parts for older people are few.  “It is a young people’s medium.  It always will be and should be,” Angie says.  “We don’t go to movies about old people, except once in a while.  Basically, and rightly so, we want to watch young people.  They’re fun to watch.”

A NEW KIND OF PARTNER:  Robert Gossett has been knee deep in police work on the popular TNT series “The Closer,” but the veteran actor reveals he may be temporarily turning in his police badge for some dance shoes.  According to Gossett, he has been approached by “Dancing With the Stars” to possibly compete when the show returns in September, but no decisions have been made.

“They’re in the process of talking to my agent about it.  Yeah, I would very much like to do it,” Gossett tells us.  “I went to a performing arts high school in New York.  I was a music major there, but I was involved with dancing a little bit.  Later on I did musicals so it involved a lot more dance,” he recalls.  “I think it would be fun.  My kids would get a kick out of it.  They don’t think I can dance anyway.  I always embarrass them, especially the 13-year-old.”

For now, Gossett is busy at work on “The Closer,” which is currently in its fifth season.  “We’ve got an endless supply of great ideas and the writing hasn’t diminished.  It’s been my experience that after a few years the writers run out of gas, but that hasn’t happened here,” he claims.  “A lot of us are veterans.  That’s a nice way of saying older, but what’s great is that we all bring it. The caliber of acting is definitely very high on this show.”  Luckily they’re a tight knit group too with Kyra Sedgwick, who was just awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as their ringleader.  “We were all so happy for her.  She certainly deserves it.  We all came and supported her, which is very indicative of how we are as a cast.”

John Cleese

John Cleese

THE HIGH SEAS:  John Cleese already knows where he’ll be enjoying special time next year.  The cut up of Monty Python fame will be aboard The Silver Spirit, the  newest ship of Silver Sea‘s ultra-luxury cruise line.   He’ll combine leisure with work, sharing insights and anecdotes from his long career with guests as the Spirit glides from Buenos Aires to Santiago as part of a 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage.

GETTING ON BOARD: “Southland” star Michael Cudlitz gives NBC props for striving to stay on top of the new media tsunami, by “pushing things in a large way on the internet — on Hulu and iTunes.  They’ve done a really good job as far as pushing people in that direction.  They’re trying out a whole new business model as opposed to fighting it.  Thirty million people are not watching on Thursday night any more – they have so many more choices — but they’re still out there,” he points out.  Cudlitz is, of course, particularly interested in seeing how the network’s restructured programming works out this Fall, when “Jay Leno takes over the 10 o’clock hour and they go down from the typical 15 hours of prime time programming to 10 plus Leno.  It’s more like the European markets and England, a shorter season, and rotating stuff around.”  And edgy, action-filled fare like “Southland” will be tried on the 9 o’clock, rather than 10 o’clock audience.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Expect gloves-off treatment of Sinatra in Scorsese pic

Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy.

Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy.

Just because Nancy Sinatra is producing Martin Scorsese‘s planned movie biography of her father, Frank, don’t expect the picture to shy away from the controversial, less flattering aspects of the show business legend’s life.

At least, it won’t if the film — for which Leonardo DiCaprio is already being mentioned — follows the tell-all pattern set out by Nancy’s sister, Tina Sinatra, back in 2000. Tina’s “My Father’s Daughter” disclosures about her dad getting the Mafia to help deliver the union vote to elect John F. Kennedy as president and his doing secret work for the CIA got her play on “60 Minutes.” Her exposure of family strife and discord — in particular with Sinatra’s fourth wife, Barbara Marx — got her in hot water with some Sinatra friends who felt those stories should never have been made public. Though the tome clearly showed how much Tina adored her father, she did, as she put it, “cover the good and the bad.”

Which is, of course, by far more interesting than a mere love letter about the entertainment great’s vocal prowess, enormous charm, loyalty and generosity to friends and charities. The dichotomy between the Sinatra loved by pals and fans and the Sinatra loathed by his many enemies were both real. His infidelities, grudges, temper and other negative behavior was depicted in CBS’ five-hour miniseries of the ’90s — which was produced by the family as well.

With more than 10 years having passed since his death and all the perspective that time brings, and with the talent of Martin Scorsese going into it, the Sinatra big-screen biopic just might capture lightning in a bottle.

STEP BY STEP: “Psych” star Dule Hill, who is a longtime tap dancer, tells us he’s trying to find a way to bring the dance back to the forefront. “I would love for the opportunity to bring dance to television in terms of dramatic scripted television. I’d also love to do tap on film and tap back on stage,” says Hill, whom many know from his days on “The West Wing.”

Gregory Hines was the one carrying that banner, so with his passing you lose some of that. Hopefully we can get back to it,” adds Hill. “We’ll see what comes next after ‘Psych,’ but first I’d like to do an episode on the show where we can do some tapping.” The cast and the crew of the USA network series certainly get to see Hill in action in between takes. “I do it on the set all the time. I have a piece of wood that I’m always dancing on in my trailer. I dance in my garage back home. I dance with friends and young students. I love tap dancing. I’m a tap dancer at heart.”

BY ANY OTHER NAME: Nine-year-old cutie Jadagrace Berry of “Terminator Salvation” tells us she loved doing scenes with Christian Bale in the flick, opening tomorrow (5/21). “He was so nice. He was always helping me, but he’d only answer to John,” she notes, referring to Bale’s character, savior of humanity John Connor. So did John — er, Christian — have any words of wisdom for this young co-star? “He told me to just stay in the moment and try to react,” she says. The pint-sized actress was among the young-uns at the premiere of Disney-Pixar’s “Up,” where she told us her burning desire for her next job: “I really want to be on the Disney Channel.”

AND: The audience was charmed by “Up,” another gem of a film from Pixar, a fanciful adventure about an old guy (Ed Asner) who travels to South America via a multitude of balloons from which his house hangs suspended. The poignant and funny modern fable is due on screens May 29. Producer Jonas Rivera told us, “For this one, we went back a little bit; we wanted to make an old-fashioned Disney movie. Computer animation tends to make things look very photo real, like in ‘Wall-E.’ For this, we went back and looked at ‘Peter Pan, “Sleeping Beauty,” ‘Snow White’ — we wanted it to have a little bit more of a painterly feel. That’s harder, technically,” he says. “A character drawing is a distillation. How does a Hirschfeld drawing of Lucille Ball look more like her than a photograph? There’s no computer that does that. This was a case of computer science and art colliding.”

JUDGING THE JUDGES: Season 8 of “American Idol” goes down as The Season of Judges’ Conflicts — in the view of “Access Hollywood’s” self-described “reality chick,” Laura Saltman, and who wouldn’t agree? Saltman spends January-to-May giving “Idol” her full attention, chatting with contestants, hanging out on set, etc. She points out, “Paula (Abdul) and Simon (Cowell) have grown closer this season because of their mutual feelings about Kara (DioGuardi). They mimic her … ” she notes. “They, of course, downplayed it, but things were pretty tense at first. It’s gotten better. They’ve kind of found a groove,” she says.

“I like Kara,” she adds. “I really do. She really says something, where Randy (Jackson) is just pretty much saying, ‘Dog. Dog, you’re great, Dog.’ And Paula you can’t always understand.” Still, “I don’t think the four-judge format works because it takes too long to get through the comments. I think they should go back to three.” So, who would she vote off? “Kara. You know, it’s a last one in, first one out kind of a thing.”

Laura says she’s not losing any enthusiasm for her “Idol” gig, though she’s covered all eight seasons. She’ll not only be at tonight’s (5/20) finale for the naming of either Adam Lambert or Kris Allen as the new American Idol, she’ll be up at 3 a.m. to be back on the job at 4 a.m., “spending the day with the winner and showing what he does. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” she asks.

With reports by Emily Feimster.