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Barbara describes the book as a “love letter” to Sinatra, detailing her romance with a man whose “sexual energy” outstripped even that of Elvis Presley, whom she had also met in Vegas.
But it also offers a revealing portrait of the later life of one of the 20th century’s greatest entertainers, a fiery, moody yet ultimately intensely loyal romantic.
“He came over and he had been drinking quite a lot. He picked up the clock and I think he wanted to hit me with it.
He threw it against the front door and it broke into a thousand pieces.
Then [the comedian] Pat Henry stood up and said, ‘I know what that is – As Time Goes By.’” Sinatra smiled, and “the moment of danger had passed”.
Their relationship was fiery but never violent, although once Sinatra did raise his hands during a fight and told his wife, “God, I want to punch you!
She moved to his home in Palm Springs and embraced the “desert rat” lifestyle of tennis, golf, cocktails and cards.
The result was a 22-year marriage and near constant companionship throughout the last 26 years of Sinatra’s life.And, as the star’s drinking buddies cowered, the fourth Mrs Sinatra stared her “belligerent” husband down until, calmed, he followed her out “like the puppy that he really was”.“He’d get loaded,” acknowledges 84-year-old Barbara with a twinkle when asked about her husband’s legendary drinking (often a bottle of Jack Daniels a day).The Waldorf incident is among many revealed in a new memoir by the former model and Las Vegas showgirl who caught Sinatra’s eye across a Palm Springs golf course while still married to her second husband, Zeppo Marx, of Marx Brothers fame.Knowing the singer’s reputation with women (exes included Ava Gardner, Lauren Bacall, Juliet Prowse and Mia Farrow), the then Mrs Marx was convinced their charged flirtation was merely a fling.