Q: I loved Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity, but he wasn’t the first choice for the role. Why was that? —Becky M., Eden Prairie, Minn.
A: In 1953, Sinatra wasn’t known for playing dramatic parts, and his musical-heavy movie career was on the wane. But when Eli Wallach, who was originally cast as Private Maggio, had a scheduling conflict, Sinatra campaigned hard for the role. Contrary to rumors that arose after Mario Puzo wrote a similar scenario into The Godfather, a horse’s head was not sent to studio chieftain Harry Cohn on the actor’s behalf.
From Here to Eternity (now on Blu-ray in a 60thanniversary edition) earned Sinatra only $8,000—but won him an Oscar.
Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed in From Here to Eternity