George Michael, the iconic singer-songwriter who began topping charts in the 1980s as part of the pop duo Wham!, died on Christmas Day of heart failure in his home.
Back in 1990, a 27-year-old Michael said about his growing disillusionment with his international fame in an interview to the Los Angeles Times’ Calendar magazine. The interview resulted in a written response from none other than legendary singer/actor/Oscar winner Frank Sinatra, then 74 years old, in a letter published by the newspaper, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I don’t understand a guy who lives ‘in hopes of reducing the strain of his celebrity status,’ ” Sinatra wrote. “And now that he’s a smash songwriter at 27 he wants to quit doing what tons of gifted youngsters all over the world would shoot grandma for — just one crack at what he’s complaining about.”
Sinatra, who himself became famous in his 20s when he joined Tommy Dorsey’s chart-topping band in the 1940s before striking off on his own and cementing himself as a legendary figure in entertainment, also offered the young Michael a bit of advice.
“Come on, George. Loosen up. Swing, man,” the veteran singer wrote. “Talent must not be wasted. Those who have it — and you obviously do or today’s Calendar cover would have been about Rudy Vallee — those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it and share it…. Trust me. I’ve been there.”