In addition to being a stellar recording artist, George Michael was quite a philanthropist, and he did almost all of it in secret — only after his death are we learning the true measure of his generosity over the years.
It’s because he didn’t love being in the spotlight. He told the Los Angeles times in 1990 that “the thing I really needed was my songwriting. I didn’t need the celebrity.” It was wearing on him: the constant pressure of video shoots, tours, recording and exposure.
In that interview, he was ready to call it quits. And who talked him down from that decision? None other than Frank Sinatra!
In a 1990 letter, Sinatra told the singer to count his blessings and be grateful for the immense blessings that have come his way, both in talent and recognition. He wrote that it would be a tragedy to “quit doing what tons of gifted youngsters all over the world would shoot grandma for.”
“Come on George. Loosen up. Swing, man. Dust off those gossamer wings and fly yourself to the moon of your choice and be grateful to carry the baggage we’ve all had to carry since those lean nights of sleeping on buses and helping the driver unload the instruments.”
Sinatra died May 14, 1998.