Monday, February 21, 2011

Sinatra pal Frankie Randall tickles the ivories at McCallum Theatre

Frankie Randall has been a Coachella Valley institution longer than some of its cities have existed.

The 73-year-old is one of the last of the legitimate Frank Sinatra cronies. If Jilly Rizzo was Frank's right-hand man, Randall was his 10 fingers. He moved to a house near Sinatra's Rancho Mirage compound in 1974 to be available to play piano for “The Voice” whenever Sinatra felt the need to sing.

Sinatra became a fan of Randall's at Rizzo's New York nightclub in the early 1960s. His support helped Randall get a recording contract with RCA and a deal with 20th Century- Fox to appear in the film “Wild On the Beach.” He was soon performing on Dean Martin's summer TV series and hanging with Frank and Dean's Rat Pack.

When Sinatra died in 1998, Randall helped keep his legend alive in Palm Springs by starring in a season-long tribute at the Annenberg Theater. He also hosted the jam sessions at the Sinatra Celebrity Invitational post-gala Platinum Parties, just as he had done when Sinatra was alive.

Randall returns to the McCallum Theatre tonight for a show that replicates his role as the consummate piano host. Even he doesn't know who will “drop by” to sing with him, but, if it's anything like last year's show, it will include some of the biggest singing stars in the desert.

You'll know who those stars are when you see them. But how much do you really know about Randall? We asked him some questions in the following categories to shed a little light on that.






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