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Sinatra's way: Life Savers and Camels

Published Oct. 12, 2005

It turns out that it took more than just a six-figure fee to get Frank Sinatra to perform last week at the grand reopening of Washington's restored Warner Theatre.

It took 12 rolls of cherry Life Savers, 12 rolls of assorted Life Savers, three cans of Campbell's chicken and rice soup, two egg-salad sandwiches and a cheese tray (including Brie).

It took a carton of unfiltered Camel cigarettes, two bars of Ivory soap, six boxes of Kleenex brand tissues, six linen napkins, one bag of miniature Tootsie Rolls and a bowl of pretzels and chips.

It took two chicken-salad sandwiches and two turkey sandwiches with lettuce and tomato and mayo and mustard on the side.

It took a bottle each of Absolut vodka, Jack Daniel's whiskey, Chivas Regal scotch, Courvoisier cognac and Beefeater gin _ along with six "rocks glasses" in the 8-to-10-ounce size.

And a bucket of ice cubes.

And a hot plate with not one burner but two.

Before the 76-year-old Sinatra comes to town, his managers send concert promoters a 23-page "Technical Rider" to his contract that spells out his requirements, from the dimensions of his TelePrompTer pod (2 by 4 feet) to his preferred brand of cough drop (Luden's). The list of "Frank Sinatra Dressing Room Contents" runs to 36 items.

"It's standard operating procedure when a performer does a concert," said Sinatra publicist Susan Reynolds. "His taste for foods in general is very simple."

With whom _ or whether _ Sinatra intended to share the red and white wines of unspecified vintage, the six bottles of Evian spring water, the large Perrier, the 24 sodas ("75 percent diet") and the six sandwiches wasn't stated in the technical rider. Sinatra's entourage and crew were provided for separately.

Reynolds said Sinatra spent time in his dressing room at the Warner warming up with pianist Bill Miller before going onstage. He seldom entertains guests in his dressing room, she said.

Real estate developer Joey Kaempfer knew he'd have to jump through hoops to get Sinatra and co-star Shirley MacLaine to appear. Sources said their combined performance fee was about $250,000. But Kaempfer never imagined that he'd have to think about Life Savers.

Was everything consumed?

"Actually," said a Warner Theatre employee, "most of it was left."