In the winter of 1965, writer Gay Talese set out for Los Angeles with an assignment from Esquire to write a major profile on Frank Sinatra. When he arrived, he found the singer and his vigilant entourage on the defensive: Sinatra was under the weather, not available, and not willing to be interviewed.
Undeterred, Talese stayed on in L.A., believing Sinatra might recover and reconsider, and used the meantime to observe the star from a careful distance and to interview his friends, associates, family members, and hangers-on. Sinatra never did grant the one-on-one he had hoped for, but Talese’s tenacity paid off: his profile “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” went down in history as a tour de force of literary nonfiction and the advent of the “New Journalism.” Its incisive portrait of Sinatra in the recording studio, on location, out on the town, and with the eponymous cold, revealed as much about a singular star persona as it did about the Hollywood machine.
In this Collector’s Edition, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold is published in traditional letterpress, complete with an introduction by Gay Talese and facsimile reproductions of manuscript pages, correspondence, and other papers from the author’s archive. The text is brought to life with pictures from the legendary lens of Phil Stern, the only photographer granted access to Sinatra over four decades (from the 1940s to ’70s)—along with classic moments from top photojournalists of the ’60s including John Bryson, John Dominis, and Terry O’Neill.
Reproduced in rich duotone, the photographic essays compliment Talese’s penetrating portrait with images of the many sides of Sinatra: the voice, the impresario of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural gala, the ultimate showman at the Summit at the Sands, the doting father, and the man with, in his own words, an “over-acute capacity for sadness as well as elation.”