At the time, he was The Man, The Leader, The King and, most famously, The Chairman of the Board. Forty years ago this week (September 6, 1965), Newsweek gave their cover to Frank Sinatra who, at the time was 49, about to turn 50. There's an interesting story to this photo you're seeing. Originally, the magazine had commissioned Sammy Davis Jr., Sinatra intimate and camera bug, to shoot the cover photo. His film was rushed to a Manhattan color laboratory where an automated processing machine jammed and ruined Davis's pictures. So they went with a "backstop" photo taken by the credited team of John Bryson and Rapho Guillumette.
Sinatra was at an interesting crossroads when this article was written. He was still huge but, increasingly, not for what he was most famous for — his music. Even Newsweek quoted one Beatle fan as saying, "He was OK then. He was for that generation. The Beatles are for ours." By 1965, Frank was famous for being famous, for his women, for his politics, for his rumored crime connections, for his Rat Pack friends. For as well known as he was, he remained a mystery.
"Even for his show-biz friends, though, Sinatra remains deep within himself. They feel constrained to keep the talk light. 'I don't discuss his girl with Frank or who he's going to marry,' says Dean Martin. 'All I discuss are movies, TV, golf and drinking.' Joey Bishop says 'we substitute wit for logic with Sinatra.'
For as loyal as the Rat Pack remained to him, he had been discarded by President Kennedy as an insider before his assassination. Still, Sinatra remained loyal to his causes.
"Most of Sinatra's political activities are in aid of Democratic causes. One room of his Palm Springs house is filled with Kennedy memorabilia, and people who know him say his deep admiration for the late President was not affected by the Administration's decision, for reasons of expediency or delicacy, to put an end to publicity linking Sinatra and his friends with the White House."
In truth, Sinatra paid a price for some of these things. His support of civil-rights and friendship with Sammy Davis Jr. hurt him commercially in the South and his contributions to Israeli charities got his records banned in the Arab world.