Today in 1915, Frank Sinatra was born.
He was one of the most popular entertainers of all time.
He’s known today as The Chairman of the Board, Ol’ Blue Eyes… and he could have been known as New York Detective John McClane, the main character in the movie “Die Hard.”
Sinatra is best known as a singer, selling millions of records with hits like “Fly Me To The Moon,” “My Way,” “New York, New York” and “Strangers In The Night.”
But he was also a prolific actor; in fact, his Academy Award-winning role in “From Here To Eternity” got him back into the public eye at a time when he didn’t have a record contract.
He had a string of hit movies in the 1960s, including a movie called “The Detective,” in which Sinatra played a police detective, Joe Leland, who ended up uncovering corruption in the NYPD.
Thanks to roles like this, Sinatra almost ended up playing the lead role in the movie “Dirty Harry.”
Producers wrote the part with the Chairman in mind, but he had to back out because he’d hurt his wrist years earlier making the movie “The Manchurian Candidate” and couldn’t comfortably hold Harry Callahan’s heavy Magnum pistol.
Anyway, the movie “The Detective” had been based on a bestselling novel by Roderick Thorp.
The sequel to that book is called “Nothing Lasts Forever,” in which Detective Joe Leland has to stop a ring of international terrorists while attending a Christmas party in Los Angeles.
This is the book on which the movie “Die Hard” is based.
And because Sinatra had starred in the adaptation of “The Detective,” the producers of “Die Hard” were contractually obligated to offer him the lead role in their movie, even though the story had changed a great deal and the Joe Leland character was now known as John McLane.
Now, Frank Sinatra could have said yes.
It could have been Old Blue Eyes jumping from the roof of Nakatomi Plaza during that giant explosion.
He could’ve called Reginald Vel Johnson on the walkie talkie all night long.
He could’ve said “yippie ki yay, (expletive deleted).”
But the then 70 year old singer turned the role down.
And they say nearly every major male action star in the late 80s did the same.
Eventually the producers turned to one of the stars of the TV detective comedy Moonlighting, Bruce Willis.
And, given that “Die Hard” was a gigantic hit, nobody involved with the movie looked back after that.
Today in 1977, the release of another hit movie, “Saturday Night Fever,” starring John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney.
According to the Internet Movie Database, one of the actors the producers considered to play opposite Travolta?
Help me Tony Manero, you’re my only hope!
8 things you didn’t know about Frank Sinatra (PBS Newshour)
Remember How Frank Sinatra Almost Played Dirty Harry? (Yahoo! Finance)
Carrie Fisher Trivia (IMDB)
Photo via Wikicommons