Nancy Sinatra and Elvis were friends and worked on a movie together in 1968. She said he had a funny side, but also a distinctly serious one.
Nancy Sinatra was primarily known as a singer, but she also starred in a film with Elvis Presley. The two became close while working on the movie. While the relationship remained platonic, Sinatra admitted that she had a crush on the singer when they first met. She also said their many conversations gave her a deeper understanding of Elvis’ personality. She admitted that this probably doesn’t come as a surprise to Elvis fans, but she found that he often switched between humor and thought-provoking conversations.
Nancy Sinatra worked with Elvis on the film ‘Speedway’
Sinatra first met Elvis when she picked him up from the airport after he left the military. He was set to appear on a TV special with her father, Frank Sinatra. Elvis-mania was sweeping the country, and Sinatra counted herself as one of his fans.
“I was like every girl my age — head over heels in love!” Sinatra told The Guardian in 2008.
She wasn’t intimidated by him, though, because he made her feel comfortable.
“Elvis was lovely. What a great guy,” she told The Guardian in 2021. “What a sweet, polite, wonderful man.”
She admitted they flirted on set, but their relationship was mostly platonic.
“We used to ride a bicycle built for two around the studio, the MGM lot,” she said, per Express. “Speedway was Elvis at his peak, in his prime. He was beautiful … This movie and his ‘comeback’ special were his zenith. I mean, how gorgeous was he then?”
Nancy Sinatra said Elvis was both funny and deeply serious
Sinatra believes that she got close to Elvis because, growing up with Frank Sinatra, she understood the difference between a person and their public-facing persona. Because of this, she got to know him quite well.
“I know he was the funniest man and probably the most serious man I knew, both people in one. He made me laugh so hard,” she told People. “And at the same time, he would call me late at night to discuss things like the ghetto, and his concern for people in the ghetto.”
Elvis reached out to Sinatra on the night his daughter, Lisa Marie, was born to express both joy and sorrow.
“He said he felt so grateful that she was born into a loving, secure life,” Sinatra said. “He mentioned how he felt pain for the babies born that same night in poverty. I knew what he meant.”
Frank Sinatra did not like Elvis at first
Though Sinatra was quickly taken with Elvis, her father took much longer to warm to the singer. He wasn’t a fan of rock music, and Elvis was a highly successful artist in the genre.
“It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people,” he wrote in 1957, per the book Sinatra: The Chairman by James Kaplan, adding, “It smells phony and false. It is sung, played, and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations of sly, lewd — in plain fact dirty — lyrics … manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth. This rancid smelling aphrodisiac I deplore.”
Though Sinatra didn’t specifically call out Elvis, the singer felt compelled to respond.
“I admire that man, he has a right to say what he wants to say,” he said. “He is a great success and a fine actor, but I don’t think he should have said it. He is mistaken about this. This is a trend, just the same as he faced when he started years ago.”
Ultimately, though, Sinatra softened his view on Elvis, even reaching out to the younger singer toward the end of his life in a bid to save him.
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