A letter written by Frank Sinatra to George Michael in 1990 giving him a rousing pep talk about fame has surfaced online in the week after George’s death.
In 1990, George Michael told the Washington Post newspaper about the struggles he was facing with his newfound fame and his reluctance to promote his music by making videos.
“I’m not stupid enough to think that I can deal with another 10 or 15 years of major exposure,” George said at the time.
“I think that is the ultimate tragedy of fame. People who are simply out of control, who are lost. I’ve seen so many of them, and I don’t want to be another cliché.”
George’s gripes found their way to Hollywood legend Frank Sinatra, then in his mid-70s, and he wasn’t having a bar of it. Frank wrote a eloquent open letter in response, since published by website Letters Of Note.
“Come on George, Loosen up. Swing, man. Dust off those gossamer wings and fly yourself to the moon of your choice and be grateful to carry the baggage we’ve all had to carry since those lean nights of sleeping on buses and helping the driver unload the instruments,” Frank wrote.
“And no more of that talk about ‘the tragedy of fame.’ The tragedy of fame is when no one shows up and you’re singing to the cleaning lady in some empty joint that hasn’t seen a paying customer since Saint Swithin’s day.
“Talent must not be wasted… Those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.”
Of course, at that time Frank wasn’t to know the private struggles with his sexuality that George was dealing with in the years before he was dramatically outed as gay in 1998.
But after George died of heart failure at his London home on Christmas Day last weekend, celebrity friends and fans of the superstar remembered him as a trailblazer for LGBTI rights and a generous humanitarian who privately donated to charities.
Read Frank’s amazing letter to George in full below:
Frank Sinatra's letter to George Michael pic.twitter.com/LXDpjiXqdD
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) December 26, 2016