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Nevertheless here he was, the man himself, in the early hours of the morning in Beverly Hills, out of range.The two blondes, who seemed to be in their middle thirties, were preened and polished, their matured bodies softly molded within tight dark suits." Or they had heard him when he was with Harry James's band in 1939, or with Tommy Dorsey in 1941 ("Yeah, that's the song, 'I'll Never Smile Again'he sang it one night in this dump near Newark and we danced..."); or they remembered that time at the Paramount with the swooners, and him with those bow ties, The Voice; and one woman remembered that awful boy she knew then Alexander Dorogokupetz, an eighteen-year-old heckler who had thrown a tomato at Sinatra and the bobby-soxers in the balcony had tried to flail him to death. This is all they really wanted; they wanted to see him.And for a few moments they gazed in silence through the smoke and they stared.Since then Dexter has been one of Sinatra's constant companions and has been made a producer in Sinatra's film company.He occupies a plush office near Sinatra's executive suite.It is a characteristic that Sinatra, without admission, seems to prefer: All the Way; All or Nothing at All. Il Padrone.[pullquote align='C']The most distinguishing thing about Sinatra's face are his eyes, clear blue and alert, eyes that within seconds can go cold with anger, or glow with affection, or, as now, reflect a vague detachment that keeps his friends silent and distant.[/pullquote]I had seen something of this Sicilian side of Sinatra last summer at Jilly's saloon in New York, which was the only other time I'd gotten a close view of him prior to this night in this California club.
The legendary singer was approaching fifty, under the weather, out of sorts, and unwilling to be interviewed. A., hoping Sinatra might recover and reconsider, and he began talking to many of the people around Sinatra—his friends, his associates, his family, his countless hangers-onand observing the man himself wherever he could.
But when it gets to Sinatra it can plunge him into a state of anguish, deep depression, panic, even rage. Sinatra with a cold is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuelonly worse.
For the common cold robs Sinatra of that uninsurable jewel, his voice, cutting into the core of his confidence, and it affects not only his own psyche but also seems to cause a kind of psychosomatic nasal drip within dozens of people who work for him, drink with him, love him, depend on him for their own welfare and stability.
The two blondes knew, as did Sinatra's four male friends who stood nearby, that it was a bad idea to force conversation upon him when he was in this mood of sullen silence, a mood that had hardly been uncommon during this first week of November, a month before his fiftieth birthday.
Sinatra had been working in a film that he now disliked, could not wait to finish; he was tired of all the publicity attached to his dating the twenty-year-old Mia Farrow, who was not in sight tonight; he was angry that a CBS television documentary of his life, to be shown in two weeks, was reportedly prying into his privacy, even speculating on his possible friendship with Mafia leaders; he was worried about his starring role in an hour-long NBC show entitled which would require that he sing eighteen songs with a voice that at this particular moment, just a few nights before the taping was to begin, was weak and sore and uncertain. He was the victim of an ailment so common that most people would consider it trivial.
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But if they remain loyal, then there is nothing Sinatra will not do in turnfabulous gifts, personal kindnesses, encouragement when they're down, adulation when they're up. When he is occupying it, seated behind a long table flanked by his closest New York friendsa rather strange ritualistic scene develops. They were from New York, Brooklyn, Atlantic City, Hoboken.