On the 100th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth, we remember his ties to the city of Philadelphia.
Frank Sinatra tied the knot with screen siren Ava Gardner at a private home in West Mount Airy, complete with food from the Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton.
Even in these black and white shots, you can see the twinkle in Frank Sinatra’s famous baby blues. And, after all, wouldn’t you be smiling if you were marrying screen siren Ava Gardner? A true definition of a power couple, the duo secured their marriage license at Philadelphia’s City Hall on Friday, November 2, 1951. As always, the paparazzi were hot on their trail, but they managed to obtain their document surreptitiously, thanks to the help of two savvy city detectives.
They also kept their wedding-day celebration—November 7—local, hosting a grand fête at the West Mount Airy home of Lester Sacks, the brother of “Manie” Sacks, Sinatra’s closest pal. “At 11 o’clock the night before the wedding, my brother called and asked if it would be all right to have the wedding in our house,” said Sacks in a 1974 Daily News story. “Two limousines picked up a captain and waiters at the Ritz [Carlton], with all of the food.” Even with guests and staff instructed to maintain the highest levels of secrecy, the press still got wind of the event, gathering in the yard out front. But aside from Ol’ Blue Eyes threatening to punch one intrepid photographer in the mouth, the wedding day progressed without a hitch.
Philadelphia and its environs certainly held a place of honor in Sinatra’s heart. From performing in Atlantic City and Cherry Hill’s Latin Casino to dining out at hot spots like Bookbinder’s and singing at Palumbo’s, it seems the crooner found a home wherever he traveled in the city. Brotherly love, indeed.
Photography by: photography by getty images