Whether he was called "The Voice," "Ol' Blue Eyes," or "The Chairman of the Board," Frank Sinatra's nicknames all conveyed the adulation and respect reserved for a man who was commonly thought of as the best American popular singer of the 20th century. Sinatra's voice, whether manifested in song or spoken word, caressed the ears of many a listener for more than five decades. Sinatra's legacy -- countless songs and more than 70 films -- continue to ensure him the kind of popularity that has reached beyond the grave to elevate him past the status of mere icon to that of cultural institution.
Born Francis Albert Sinatra on December 12, 1915, Sinatra grew up poor in Hoboken, NJ. After working for a newspaper, he organized the Hoboken Four, a singing group. He got his first break when he won first prize on radio's "Major Bowes Amateur Hour," and went on to perform in nightclubs and on radio. Sinatra then landed the job of vocalist with the Harry James band, and later switched to Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. It was during his tenure with Dorsey's group that Sinatra made his first two films in uncredited roles as a singer in the bands in Las Vegas Nights (1941) and Ship Ahoy (1942).