Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow – their’s was certainly a peculiar match. He was a venerable vocalist known the world over and an Academy Award-winning film star; she was the daughter of show business legends out to forge an identity all her own. They claimed the 29-year age gap didn’t matter. But, it clearly didn’t help.
How Did Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow Meet?
September 1964: Doe-eyed, Mia Farrow, she the possessor of Rapunzel-like locks and the wearer of a sheer white nightgown, caught the eye of fellow 20th Century Fox lot toiler Frank Sinatra.
Sinatra, engulfed in what he would later describe as, “some kind of female magic,” sauntered over and broke the ice with what some ladies, Farrow included, would term an impolite question. “How old are ya, kid?”
“I’m just 19,” was her reply. They took their meager conversation to a nearby table where Farrow accidentally upended the contents of her purse. Each item she reclaimed – from her stale doughnut to a tin of cat food, from a tube of Chapstick to her retainer – was accompanied by a profuse apology.
“I thought the only thing I could do was to get out of there with any shred of dignity that might remain,” remembers Farrow. “And as I stood up to leave, his eyes met mine, and my heart stopped, you know? Everything came together. I was just so alive in that moment.”
Issues From The Get-Go
Within a few days, the nicknames had been selected – he was Charlie Brown and she was Angel Face – and the courtship began in earnest. But there was a major impediment with which the nascent lovebirds were soon to reckon with.
According to Farrow, Sinatra saddled up to her and said, “I was thinking. You should give up acting. Who needs it? You and I can settle down, and I’ll just take care of you. So . . . quit.”
The young lady’s immediate response? “My career is the only thing I have that gives me purpose. I’m not giving it up.” Furthermore, she warned her paramour, “If we’re going to be together, you must listen to what I say… Get used to me having a mind of my own. You are not my father, and I am not your daughter. You don’t get to tell me what to do.”
Satisfied that her point had been made, Farrow exited the scene. Once she was out of earshot, Sinatra dismissively quipped to his valet, “And there she goes,” he said, “off to play with her Easy-Bake Oven.”
In 1965, Farrow emerged from the confines of the Peyton Place studio and debuted a close-cropped hairstyle that shocked the viewing public and inspired a host of imitators – never had the “pixie” been so chic.
But while Farrow maintained for decades that the change had been done on a whim and all in aid of finding a more flattering and easily manageable ‘do, there was far more to the story.
In point of fact, the act was a deliberate one taken after she had been slighted by Sinatra, who had disinvited her from his 50th birthday party and castigated by director, Jeffrey Hayden, for arriving for work one hour late.
“She came back a minute and a half later,” Hayden recalls. “She walked over to me, held up her hand full of the hair from her head, and she said, ‘Jeff. No more little-girl stuff.’ And handed me all her hair.”
With This Ring…
Over the 4th of July weekend in 1966, Sinatra proposed marriage with a specially designed nine-carat pear-shape diamond and platinum ring. Farrow, of course, said yes. The wedding was a small service held in Las Vegas on July 20, a mere 16 days later.
A chapter inside Sinatra: Behind the Legend reveals that a few weeks after the ceremony, Sinatra arranged an audience between himself, Farrow, and his second wife Ava Gardner. At some point in the evening, Ava pointedly asked Sinatra why he hadn’t informed Farrow that “you called me on your wedding day,” and “you said…no matter how I feel about this girl I will always have a place in my heart for you.”
Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow: The End and Beyond
August 1968: The marriage is over. He had insisted that she not accept the lead role in Rosemary’s Baby and she did so regardless. Divorce papers were delivered to the actress on the film’s set.
Though the union was dissolved, Farrow insisted that she and Sinatra, “never really split up.” When he passed in 1998, she stood side by side with his first wife and oldest daughter and assisted in lining the coffin with mementos.
In February 2017, during an interview for RTE Radio 1, Farrow revealed, “I loved him ’til the day he died and beyond, he was the love of my life.”