Frank Sinatra’s Housekeeper Said He Only Ate 1 Vegetable: ‘Certainly Not a Health Food Diet’

Frank Sinatra loved lengthy, crowded dinner parties at Italian restaurants where he could hold court over his friends and acquaintances. He didn’t like eating alone, and his meals were much less extravagant when he did. According to his former housekeeper, the singer had very specific tastes when it came to his food. He also only liked one type of vegetable.

A black and white picture of Frank Sinatra wearing a tuxedo and holding a microphone.
Frank Sinatra | Joan Adlen/Getty Images

Frank Sinatra’s housekeeper worked with many stars, but he was the most surprising

Sinatra’s housekeeper, Joan Hanna, previously worked for celebrities like Tony Bennett, Aaron Spelling, Dudley Moore, and Michael Keaton. She said that Sinatra most surprised her because of how normal he seemed.

“I was expecting a charismatic showbiz giant to greet me,” she told the South China Morning Post in 1989. “Instead there was this little old bald man with a bald head and a paunch.”

She explained that she found his lifestyle baffling.

“It’s the strangest lifestyle I have ever known,” she said. “Perhaps it is because of all those years performing, but Frank is up all night, won’t go to bed before five or six in the morning, and sleeps during the day.”

His reputation made Hanna think she’d be privy to raucous parties and long drunken nights. She was surprised when this wasn’t the case.

“Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise for a man of 73, but Sinatra lives like a 73-year-old,” she said. “Tame as tame could be.”

She said he was very particular about the food he ate

Hanna explained that Sinatra liked to eat many of the same types of food. Every day when he woke up, he wanted thin, three-inch pancakes. She explained that he liked his chicken “dry as a bone all the way through and crispy outside.”

“He likes it so much that when he goes on a concert tour, he takes cases of this pre-cooked, dried-out chicken with him, packed in ice,” Hanna said. 

She explained that Sinatra also only liked eating Italian-style rolls for snacks and sandwiches. He’d scoop the bread out of the middle of the roll and fill it with tuna, egg, or cold meat. If these meals seem light on vegetables, it’s because they were. Sinatra reportedly only ate one kind of veggie.

“It’s certainly not a health food diet,” Hanna said. “He does not like fresh vegetables and will only eat canned peas.”

Frank Sinatra favored Italian cooking

When it came to the foods Sinatra liked, nothing could top Italian cooking. Both the singer’s parents were Italian immigrants, and he grew up eating the cuisine. When he visited New York City, he had a list of places he frequented, one of his favorites being Patsy’s. At the Manhattan restaurant, he ordered off-menu, asking for breaded, pounded veal with a plate of spaghetti and red sauce.

Ultimately, though, Sinatra’s favorite part of dining out was the company. 

“He grew up as an only child, and he vowed that, as an adult, he would always have people around him,” radio host Mark Simone told the New York Post. “If he invited you to dinner, you’d be honored. But dinner was 27 people. You’d be lucky if you were 14 seats away from him.”

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