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Rick Michel's Blog

Sinatra was Kung Fu Fighting

I’ve gone through so many of the facets of Frank Sinatra – singer extraordinaire, multiple Academy Award winning actor, dancer, activist, political supporter, Scooby-Doo namer, plus so much more – it never ceases to amaze me that the “firsts” just keep coming. Did you know Ol’ Blue Eyes was the first American actor to be in a karate fight in a movie?

 Mind blowing, isn’t it? Part of 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate featured a martial arts war in one scene with Frank and actor Henry Silva. It’s a great battle and fun to watch, but it was during this scene that Sinatra chopped a table so hard he broke his pinky finger, which was the injury that may have kept him from becoming Dirty Harry because of the size of the character’s .44 Magnums gun.

 Still, maybe that was for the best. Had Frank’s action hero persona taken off, he may not have been as widely recognized as the exceptional actor he was. Even without the Dirty Harry role, he was offered the lead in the now iconic; Die Hard because he played the character in the 1968 movie, The Detective.

 In fact, after Sinatra turned the role down, it was offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger who also passed. It wasn’t offered to Bruce Willis until other action star choices were also exhausted. It sounds to me like it’s not only Clint Eastwood that owes a whole lot of his success to The Voice, but Willis too.

 As we get ever so close to Frank’s 100th birthday and all the celebrations surrounding that date, including my performance of Sinatra Forever in Reading, PA, I continue to be more than impressed by the man we honor. Even with all the recognition he’s receiving, this American icon deserves more.