Cover image for My father's daughter : a memoir
My father's daughter : a memoir
Sinatra, Tina.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2000.
Physical Description:
313 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library ML420.S565 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library ML420.S565 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Clarence Library ML420.S565 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
Collins Library ML420.S565 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Concord Library ML420.S565 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library ML420.S565 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Lackawanna Library ML420.S565 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library ML420.S565 S64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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A startling and affectionate portrait of an American entertainment legend by his youngest daughter, who writes about the man and his life, and about the many people who surrounded him - wives, friends, lovers, users and sycophants.

Author Notes

Tina Sinatra is an accomplished & successful television producer, most notably of "My Way." She lives in Los Angeles, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Tina spills the beans.



Chapter Seven Not a Pretty Picture As Dad's marriage entered its second decade, I heard a new concern from Vine (his majordomo at the Compound for over thirty years), who was with him more than anyone. Dad's lifestyle was becoming quiet to a fault. My father was growing more isolated, cut off from human contact. As his wife become busier with the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, a facility for abused children, dad saw less of her. His own clock remained stubbornly nocturnal; his day would begin as Barbara's wound down. It gradually seemed that they were sharing an address and little more. Nancy and I were not Dad's only losses. Jilly Rizzo wouldn't say much-he wasn't that kind of man-but we knew he felt unwelcome at the Compound. Thick-skinned as he was, Jilly might have put up with Barbara's cold front, but he couldn't stand to watch his best friend suffer. I knew what he was going through. There is no greater strain than to see someone you love become less than whole. After a drink or two, according to Jilly, Barbara's mean streak would surface. She'd ridicule Dad, even call him a has-been. It could get so bad that Jilly would have to leave the room. By the mid-eighties, he'd stopped coming back. I was noticing more signs of depression in Dad. Our daily phone tradition flipped, as he initiated fewer of our calls. I'd call him instead, but I ached when I heard the sadness that resounded in three small words: "I miss you." His emotions were easy to read; he was as transparent in conversation as in song. But the reading did me little good, because Dad was stuck in those emotions. It was no use to bring Barbara's offenses to his notice -- she wasn't going to change, and he was unable to intercede. To complain to him was like throwing rocks at a drowning man, so I decided to stop. I just had to let Dad go. **** The less I saw of my father, the more I worried about him. By 1988, his calls had become less and less frequent. He sounded listless and groggy, especially when idle at home. I was used to his melancholy, but this was something more. At one point, Vine reached out for help to my sister. She said that she'd been told to give Dad "these pills" every day, and she was concerned about them. Within days, Nancy paid Dad a welcome visit. Over the weekend she perused the half-dozen prescription pill bottles on his breakfast table. She found a diuretic, a sleeping pill, a barbiturate (for dad's migraines), and a drug she'd never heard of, something called Elavil. After doing some research, my sister grew alarmed. Though widely prescribed at the time as an antidepressant, Elavil was known for its significant side effects. The drug called for close and continual monitoring, and we feared that our father wasn't getting it. Nancy and I were also concerned about Dad taking sedatives on top of sedatives, given the fact that he still enjoyed his nightcaps. It seemed dangerous to us. But nothing he did or said made any headway. Barbara felt the Elavil was working perfectly. She said the doctor agreed that it was needed to level Dad's mood swings and spare his heart. "Your father's actually doing very well," she told my sister. "He's feeling better. I don't want you to worry about it." Dad was less argumentative, less trouble all around. Life was easier, smoother, more predicable. Dad's children knew that he felt well when he was feisty. Over months and years to come, that side of him would seem to disappear. Dad became strangely tractable and subdued. He expressed neither joy nor sadness; he was smack in that middle plane of nowhere, While Dad was appearing in Reno, a trip Barbara had passed on, I flew out to meet him. I looked forward to seeing him, and to see him perform-it had been a long time for me. But I was altogether unprepared for what I witnessed on stage that night. This consummate performer was unsure -- tentative in his demeanor, unsteady of voice. I had not witnessed this before, and could barely bring myself to watch. Concerned, I suggested that we go up to his room after the show, but Dad wanted to stop in the lounge, where a few friends awaited us. No sooner had we ordered our drinks than Dad said he thought he'd better head to his room, after all. I stayed back a few minutes to be polite -- until I was summoned upstairs. As I rushed into my father's room, I found him seated in a chair with his head down, pale and hyperventilating. Bill Stapely was having him breathe into a paper bag. After a long moment, it seemed to do the trick, but I was beyond terrified. According to Bill, Dad had forgotten that he'd already had his Elavil that day, and had taken a second dose by mistake. I stayed with him till he slept, tuned to his every breath. Dad's symptoms seemed to multiply by the month. Once the sharpest man I knew, with a phenomenal memory for numbers and dates, he became confused and forgetful. He'd get dizzy after standing up. At other times he'd lose his coordination and stumble. One day while driving, Dad found himself disoriented within blocks of the Compound. It happened only that once -- he voluntarily surrendered his keys, never drove again. These were all textbook side effects of Elavil, and we had to wonder why Dad wasn't switched to a less sedating antidepressant. While Barbara continued to be satisfied that Dad was getting the care he needed, his decline was a painful thing to watch. For the better part of his life, my father was a reluctant pill taker, one who'd treat a splitting headache with baby aspirin. He would never have accepted this smorgasbord of medications had he not been so depressed, so out of touch with himself. Copyright © 2000 Tina Sinatra. All rights reserved.

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