ML - Vegas Magazine

2012 - Issue 5 - September

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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Page 13 of 147

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AP PHOTO F ront Runners from her to eternity FRANK SINATRA'S SCANDALOUS LOVE AFFAIR WITH AVA GARDNER TOOK HIS LEGACY TO NEW HEIGHTS. BY CHELSEA STONE F 12 VEGASMAGAZINE.COM rank Sinatra is remembered as an essential Las Vegas fixture, but his first performance in Sin City was clouded by scandal. When Ol' Blue Eyes sauntered into Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn on September 4, 1951, it was with femme fatale actress Ava Gardner on his arm—despite the fact that he was still married to his first wife, Nancy. The young mistress provoked an uproar, with Sinatra condemned by the media, the Catholic Church, and even his most dedicated fans for leaving his wife of 12 years for the glamorous Gardner. Sinatra himself was so tortured by the dalliance that he reportedly attempted suicide in Lake Tahoe right before his Vegas debut. Though the singer denied these allegations, some speculated that the stunt was meant to attract Gardner's attention. Either way, it worked: Sinatra and Gardner married on November 7, 1951, just nine days after he and Nancy were divorced. Over the years both Sinatra and Gardner had multiple extramarital affairs, resulting in a separation in 1953 and finally divorce in 1957. The pair remained close, however, and Sinatra was even known to keep a picture of Gardner taped to the countless dressing room mirrors he frequented during the rest of his career. The tempestu- ous marriage had profound long-term effects on the singer. Gardner is credited with both securing his first big movie role, From Here to Eternity (for which he won an Oscar), and taking his singing to new heights. Veteran music arranger Nelson Riddle once said, "It was Ava who taught him that, who taught him how to sing a torch song." And it was while carrying that torch that Sinatra led the Rat Pack to Strip entertainment infamy. V

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