Eddie Albert starred in a 1957 musical drama film with Frank Sinatra
Being the best friend of Frank Sinatra's character was a role no one but Albert could play.
(L) Distributed by Paramount Pictures 1957
It's no secret that Eddie Albert wanted to be a singer. In fact, he once stated that to become "a singing personality," he had to get the role of Oliver Wendell Douglas on Green Acres. Eight years before he would get the classic part, he starred in the 1957 musical drama The Joker Is Wild.
The critically acclaimed film was about a popular nightclub singer, Joe E. Lewis (Frank Sinatra), who also worked for a Mob in Chicago. Things were going fine for Lewis until he accepted the opportunity to work elsewhere.
For the singer, this was a massive step in his career, but for the Mob workers, it was a sign of disrespect. Austin Mack (Eddie Albert) was his best bud and a pianist who tried to warn Lewis of the consequences leaving would bring.
Yet, the young star had his heart set on working where ever he pleased, resulting in an assault that damaged his vocal cords. When he recovered, the life he once knew was no longer, so Lewis became a self-destructive comic who was unrecognizable to the ones he loved.
Real-life events inspired the movie, the trials and tribulations of the real Joe E. Lewis, to be exact. Like the movie, he was a nightclub star in Chicago who got involved with the wrong people and was assaulted. His life was also written about in the book The Joker Is Wild: The Story of Joe E. Lewis, to which Frank Sinatra bought the rights.
Albert didn't get the chance to show off his vocals, but the role showcased his versatility. Playing the best pal of Frank Sinatra's character was another highlight in his decades-long career that began in 1933. It was one of the six films he was a part of between 1957-1959, with over 130 movie roles and television appearances combined throughout his career.
Eddie Albert had a career so powerful that he's known by name and not by one specific character he played. So whether you're watching Green Acres or The Joker Is Wild, there's one thing for sure: Albert was one of a kind.