Correction o’ the Week (Frank Sinatra Toupee Edition)

From Saturday’s New York Times:


In the Talk interview in the Magazine this weekend, Barbara Sinatra, Frank Sinatra’s fourth wife, disputes an account by Gay Talese in a 1966 Esquire article, in which he described Sinatra’s toupees and the woman who cared for them. In taking issue with those details, Barbara Sinatra said her husband always employed men to care for his hair, and added, “Right there you know that’s a lie.”

In fairness, that characterization should not have been included in the interview without any corroboration or any response from Mr. Talese. He stands by his original account.

From the original account, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold:

Sinatra with a cold is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel–only worse. For the common cold robs Sinatra of that uninsurable jewel, his voice, cutting into the core of his confidence, and it affects not only his own psyche but also seems to cause a kind of psychosomatic nasal drip within dozens of people who work for him, drink with him, love him, depend on him for their own welfare and stability. A Sinatra with a cold can, in a small way, send vibrations through the entertainment industry and beyond as surely as a President of the United States, suddenly sick, can shake the national economy.

The disputed part of Talese’s piece:

He was, as usual, immaculately dressed. He wore an oxford-grey suit with a vest, a suit conservatively cut on the outside but trimmed with flamboyant silk within; his shoes, British, seemed to be shined even on the bottom of the soles. He also wore, as everybody seemed to know, a remarkably convincing black hairpiece, one of sixty that he owns, most of them under the care of an inconspicuous little grey-haired lady who, holding his hair in a tiny satchel, follows him around whenever he performs. She earns $400 a week.

What Barbara Sinatra says in the Sunday Times interview with Andrew Goldman :

Something confused me in the book. You wrote that around his 70th birthday, he said, “If I’m going to continue working, then I think maybe I should get a toupee.” Gay Talese’s classic 1966 Esquire profile of him reported that even back then he owned 60 hairpieces cared for by a gray-haired lady who earned $400 a week. 
I don’t think that’s true. He never had a lady comb or brush his hair. He always had men.

Two questions:

1) Really? Sinatra had a guy do his hair?

2) The correction has Barbara Sinatra saying “Right there you know that’s a lie,” but the interview doesn’t. What’s up with that?

Maybe another Editors’ Note is in order?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s