Frank Sinatra and the 1961 Inaugural

sinatra-kennedyEntertainment at the Inaugural Gala for John F. Kennedy in 1961 was under the direction of JFK’s most prominent supporter from the entertainment industry, Frank Sinatra.   But Frank’s two main Rat Pack pals were not there.  Dean Martin, who was not very political, was filming a movie, and Sammy Davis Jr. was absent due to  his bi-racial marriage to actress May Britt, which caused the Kennedys to fear that Sammy’s appearance would inflame conservatives.  It was a major disappointment to Frank, who was a civil rights advocate, but he decided to live with it. 

Inaugural entertainment included Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford, plus comedians Milton Berle and Alan King, dancers Juliet Prowse and Gene Kelly, and actors Sidney Poitier, Bette Davis, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh.  Also onboard were singers Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Ethel Merman, and Harry Belafonte, plus gospel star Mahalia Jackson, who sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Twenty years later, after switching from  Democrat to Republican, Frank organized the Inaugural show again, for Ronald Reagan.

From Monty Aidem via and

Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 2:57 AM  Leave a Comment  

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