Sipping Champagne with Sinatra

Rockettes Reflections

By Barbara Ann Woronko Anzalone

Throughout their 90-year history, the world-famous Rockettes have shared the stage—and unforgettable adventures—with many other world-famous personalities. They have appeared at such iconic events as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Super Bowl and on TV shows like America’s Got Talent and Night of 100 Stars. The Rockettes are taking a moment to reflect on their favorite stardust memories.

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Barbara Ann Woronko (fourth from right) with Frank Sinatra, hotel owner Ben Novack (sixth from left) and fellow Miss USA contestants at Miami’s Fontainebleau Hotel in 1967.

I was one of ten girls invited to stay at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach to prepare for the Miss USA pageant. It was 1967, and I was Miss Pennsylvania.FrankSinatra_BarbaraWarren

Frank Sinatra was filming the movie Tony Rome at the hotel, and he wanted to host a cocktail party for us. He went to the Miss USA people personally and said, “Listen, you know, we’re not talking about anything crazy here. There will be security guards there. And all I want to do is just have a little reception for the girls who are staying at the hotel. You all can be there. And we’re just going to sip champagne. I’d like to just congratulate them and wish them luck in the upcoming competition.”

And that’s exactly what he did. We were on the roof of the hotel, sipping champagne and looking at the sites, all of Miami. And then we went down to a ballroom, and they started taking all these publicity shots, and Frank Sinatra asked me and Miss Florida to stand next to him.

Not long after, I read a piece in the newspaper that Frank Sinatra was ill and staying at the Fontainebleau Hotel. So, I sent him flowers and thanked him. And he wrote back. And then I would get letters from him periodically (below), asking me about my career, and what I was doing.

The last note I sent him was to tell him I was going to Radio City … to audition for the Rockettes.

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Barbara Ann Woronko Anzalone was a Rockette in 1974 and is the author of The Girl Next Door. She lives in Shavertown, Pa.

All images courtesy of Barbara Ann Woronko Anzalone.