Francis Albert Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an iconic American jazz-oriented popular singer and Academy Award-winning actor.
Sinatra was born Dec. 12, 1915, in Hoboken, N.J., and as a schoolboy nursed ambitions to be a journalist. As a teenager, he organized a singing group, the Hoboken Four, which won first prize on the Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour. Following graduation from the Drake Institute, he spent several years singing in New Jersey roadhouses before finding work in the late 1930s as a radio studio singer in New York City. In 1939, while performing at a club in New Jersey, he was heard by Harry James, who signed him to appear with his new swing band. After touring with James (1939), he rose to prominence with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra (1940–2).
Breaking away from Dorsey, in 1943 he began working solo and serving as emcee on the popular radio programme, Lucky Strike Hit Parade. He quickly emerged as one of the earliest and most adulated teen idols, and the hysteria he engendered in his ‘bobby-soxer’ fans culminated in rioting at the Paramount Theatre in New York on Columbus Day, 1944. He remained a popular radio star throughout the 1940s and recorded many hits for Columbia Records (1943–52), but becoming unhappy with conditions there he moved to Capitol Records (1953–62). His recordings during this period came to epitomize American popular singing at its finest, with a style that maintained fidelity to a song's lyric and mood while imbuing it with subtle elements of jazz beat and phrasing. In 1960 he was a co-founder of Reprise Records, which he recorded for exclusively after 1963.
He also had a successful career as a film actor, beginning as a straight actor in Higher and Higher (1943). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he played dramatic roles that brought him considerable acclaim, including From Here to Eternity (1953), for which he received an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor. This work brought him into the Hollywood community, where he became a member of the ‘Rat Pack’, a group that included his occasional concert partners, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin. During these years he also had highly publicized marriages to film stars Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow.
His regular appearances at Las Vegas and such locales, the lifestyle that inevitably went with such a celebrity (bodyguards, hangers-on), a temperament that involved him in occasional fights, fabulous wealth, and various business ventures - all this added up in some people's minds to alleged involvement with the underworld, but nothing beyond personal acquaintances was ever proved. In practice he was most generous in his gifts to both individuals and organizations, and his overall status in the entertainment industry earned him the title ‘Chairman of the Board’. He announced his retirement in 1971 but he returned for various concerts and tours in the next two decades. Among the many testaments to his special status as a pop superstar was his 1980 recording of ‘New York, New York’ which made him the first singer in history to have hit records in five consecutive decades.
By 1994 Sinatra was experiencing memory lapses, but that did not keep him from performing publicly. He merely added the use of a prompter (device that shows the words of a song) to remind him of the lyrics.
After celebrating his eightieth birthday at a public tribute, new packages of recordings were released and became instant best-sellers. But Sinatra's health continued to deteriorate in the 1990s. On the evening of May 14, 1998, Sinatra died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California.
(info mainly from biography.com)
Here's Frank Sinatra's "The Girl From Ipanema" performance from the "A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim " special, part of the Frank Sinatra: Concert Collection 7-DVD box set.