- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatraby George Jacobs and William Stadiem
Synopses & Reviews
A revealing and incisive account of the King of Late Night at the height of his fame and power, by his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant
From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the and#8217;70s and and#8217;80s he was the countryand#8217;s highest-paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carsonand#8217;s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.
From the moment in 1970 when Carson hired Bushkin (who was just twenty-seven) until the moment eighteen years later when they parted ways, the author witnessed and often took part in a string of escapades that still retain their power to surprise and fascinate us. One of Bushkinand#8217;s first assignments was helping Carson break into a posh Manhattan apartment to gather evidence of his wifeand#8217;s infidelity. More than once, Bushkin helped his client avoid entanglements with the mob. Of course, Carsonand#8217;s adventures werenand#8217;t all so sordid. He hosted Ronald Reaganand#8217;s inaugural concert as a favor to the new president, and he prevented a drunken Dean Martin from appearing onstage that evening. Carson socialized with Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Kirk Douglas, and dozens of other boldface names who populate this atmospheric and propulsive chronicle of the King of Late Night and his world.
But this memoir isnand#8217;t just dishy. It is a tautly rendered and remarkably nuanced portrait of Carson, revealing not only how he truly was, but why. Bushkin explains why Carson, a voracious (and very talented) womanizer, felt he always had to be married; why he loathed small talk even as he excelled at it; why he couldnand#8217;t visit his son in the hospital and wouldnand#8217;t attend his motherand#8217;s funeral; and much more. Bushkinand#8217;s account is by turns shocking, poignant, and uproarious and#8212; written with a novelistand#8217;s eye for detail, a screenwriterand#8217;s ear for dialogue, and a knack for comic timing that Carson himself would relish. Johnny Carson unveils not only the hidden Carson, but also the raucous, star-studded world he ruled.
"Jacobs succeeds in producing a compassionate and addicting account of his time in the pop icon's roller-coaster life....Jacobs treats Sinatra's friends and relatives with the highest regard, both due to his personal relationships with them all, and, certainly, out of deference to Sinatra's memory. It's obvious that Jacobs cared deeply for his boss and admired the man despite his faults, which are laid out in fastidious, yet sympathetic, detail." Ann Ellenbecker, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Jacobs, in sometimes overwritten prose, dishes out the dirt on everyone from Hollywood stars (he catches Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo in Sinatra's pool, swimming naked and kissing) to the Kennedy clan....In the end this is a mostly respectful portrait of Sinatra by a man still stung by the singer's unforgiving temper. One only wishes the book included more of Jacobs." Publishers Weekly
"Jacobs doesn't so much ignore negatives as state them sympathetically. If his revelations won't be entirely new to avid Sinatraphile readers, his perspective provides fuller understanding of the object of their fascination." Mike Tribby, Booklist
"Mr. Jacobs, who is downright anatomical in revealing what his former boss was like, was more inclined to see the sociable side of Sinatra's liaisons than their business or political implications." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Though Mr. S. had numerous affairs — with hookers and starlets as well as Bacall and Monroe — he was still obsessed with Ava Gardner, the author recalls, as he liberally names names and regales scandals....Deliciously gossipy, yet Sinatra is recalled with affection rather than spite." Kirkus Reviews
"Learning which Kennedy or Rat Packer preferred which kind of hooker may fall into the realm of too much information, but with its improbably witty prose, this exercise in deep dish never makes you feel like taking a shower (even if Frank had four a day)." Chris Willman, Entertainment Weekly
Jacobs served as Frank Sinatra's valet from 1953 to 1968 — the Chairman's undisputed glory years. But Jacobs also became Sinatra's confidant, a trusted member of the inner circle. Told from the perspective of a smart man, Mr. S brims with revelations, never-before-told incidents, scandals, and romances. 16-page photo insert.
An endlessly dishy and incisive account of the King of Late Night at the height of his fame and power, by his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant.
An odyssey of celebrity, extravagance, and genius, Mr. S provides the deepest understanding yet of one of our greatest entertainers
As the right hand of Frank Sinatra from 1953 to 1968, George Jacobs arguably had one of the coolest jobs in the world at the time when Sinatra was the undisputed master of the entertainment universe. Jacobs rose from his humble beginnings in New Orleans to join Sinatra in the mansions of Beverly Hills, the penthouses of Manhattan, the palaces of Europe, the pinnacles of world power. George Jacobs saw it all, did it all.
Sinatra took Jacobs with him on the ride of the century, from blacklist Hollywood to gangland Chicago to an emerging Vegas to Camelot, not to mention dolce vita Rome and swinging London. As a member of Sinatra's inner circle, Jacobs drank with Ava Gardner, danced with Marilyn Monroe, massaged John F. Kennedy, golfed with Sam Giancana, and played jazz with the Prince of Monaco while his boss secretly pursued Princess Grace. He also partied with Mia Farrow, but that one cost him his job of a lifetime.
Through the ring-a-ding-ding and the stars, royals, politicians, moguls, and mobsters emerged a warm and intimate relationship that reveals a complex Sinatra: vulnerable and arrogant, charismatic and violent, loving and disdainful, confident and painfully self-conscious. Jacobs is no sycophant, but rather a sharp-eyed observer of the highs and lows of his boss's turbulent life. And Mr. S is perhaps the most complete, honest, and intimate portrait of Sinatra ever written.
It is an unforgettable trip, and George Jacobs provides a front-and-center seat at the life of an American icon.
About the Author
George Jacobs has refused countless offers to tell his story. Until now. A master chef and carpenter, he lives not far from the old Sinatra compound in Palm Springs, Florida, where he continues to be one of the toasts of that star-filled town.
William Stadiem was a Harvard JD-MBA and Wall Street lawyer before embarking for Hollywood, where he has written the screenplays for such films as Franco Zeffirelli's Young Toscanini, starring Elizabeth Taylor. He wrote the bestselling Marilyn Monroe Confidential, and Lullaby and Good Night with Vincent Bugliosi. Formerly the Hollywood columnist for Andy Warhol's Interview as well as food critic for Los Angeles magazine, Stadiem lives in a home overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica, California.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like