Sinatra, his molls and me: Brutally honest memoir by the man who wrote My Way and became an honorary member of the Rat Pack will make your hair stand on end
Even before I hit my teens, my fantasies centred on hanging out with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. In my dreams, I was living in Las Vegas. And then, bang, I was actually there.
I was a middle-class, 19-year-old of Lebanese extraction and less than spectacular looks who’d had an unexpected Number One hit with my song Diana.
The year was 1959, when Vegas was just a few hotels surrounded by sand and sagebrush — and controlled by the Mob. But it truly was a teenager’s fantasies come true: hot chicks, champagne on ice, gold-plated pink Cadillacs, sharkskin suits.
Frank Sinatra with Ava Gardner. Frank was a famous womanizer who claimed that he didn’t understand women
Ruling over this adult magic kingdom was the Rat Pack — little gods in black tie and patent leather shoes. They didn’t talk like anyone else I knew, they didn’t behave like other people and they didn’t play by the rules.
The king of this playground was my idol Frank Sinatra, who’d been a big star since the Forties. He was 25 years older than me, yet he and the rest of the Rat Pack adopted me, calling me Kid and including me in their japes.