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Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

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The Curious Incident of

Sabrina and Sonny King

In 1962, during Sabrina's second stay in Australia, a bizarre series of newspaper articles were published. They discussed the supposed plans of Sonny King (singer, comedian, friend of the Rat Pack) to marry Sabrina - or vice versa. It's a weird time!

Bullet24 January 1962 (Telegraph)

Sabrina is in a state of dispute with entrepreneur LEE GORDON (who's in the U.S.)

"Here I am, without a manager or anything to protect me - all I have is a written contract"

It says, in part: "In consideration of the sum of 1000 Australian pounds plus a £30-a-day penthouse at the Chevron Hilton hotel plus an air ticket from L.A. to Sydney to L.A. to London, I agree to arrive in Sydney, Australia, before January 1, 1962, to promote through publicity the theatrical ventures of Lee Gordon..."

Said Sabrina: "I've had nightclub offers to stay here. They've even offered to bring out the man I aim to marry [Sonny King].

Bullet2 February 1962 - Aberdeen Evening Express, p.1

Sabrina. the television and stage entertainer, announced in Melbourne to-day that she would marry Sonny King (36), a Las Vegas comedian and singer, partner of Jimmy Durante, in Las Vegas — "about next Wednesday."
She accepted King's radio-telephone proposal to her in Sydney last week. She will continue to work after her marriage.

This will be Sabrina's first and King's second marriage.
Sabrina, who is twenty-three, said: "I know our marriage will last, because this is definitely the real thing."
She said she would fly to the United States on Monday.
"We met about a year ago and he asked me to marry him three or four months ago," Sabrina told reporters.

Sabrina Confused?

TheWindsor Star,
Windsor Ontario

Saturday 3 February 1962

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (UPI) - Singer Sonny King denied flatly Friday night a report from Melbourne, Australia that he would marry British television and stage personality Sabrina.

"Where she got the marriage idea, I don't know," said King, who recently completed a night club engagement. Referring to an Australian report he proposed via radio-telephone last week, King said "It was all we could do to understand each other."

"She told me she was coming home (to Hollywood) and we had a friendly talk. That was all."

Sabrina

BulletHear Sabrina talk about the confusing Sonny King episode - and how Elvis was involved - in part 6 of our 2011 interview.

BulletSaturday 3 Feb 1962 (Sydney Morning Herald)

SABRINA TO MARRY AMERICAN SINGER

MELBOURNE, Friday - Television and stage personality Sabrina, 23, will marry singer and comedian Sonny King, 36, in Las Vegas next week.

Sabrina announced tonight that she would fly to America on Monday to get her engagement ring, and would be married "about Wednesday."

At present, she is wearing a "make do" ring her fiance gave her before she came to Australia.

"We met about a year ago and Sonny asked me to marry him three or four months ago," Sabrina said.

"I had to think things over but when he phoned me in Sydney last week I said 'yes' right away.

This will be Sabrina's first marriage, and the second for King who is Jimmy Durante's partner.

He expected me home last Saturday but I couldn't make it," Sabrina said.

"Now he expects me home tomorrow, and I'm too scared to call him and tell him I won't be home till Tuesday or Wednesday."

"I'm going to keep to working after we are married."

"I know our marriage will last because this is definitely the real thing."


The Sun-Herald the next day had a banner on page 1 "Sabrina romance denied" pointing to page 2, which we don't have. The weather on the day was mostly fine with few morning showers. I hope you find that useful.

More interesting, the same page reports that Stirling Moss was injured in a crash on Friday. We know Sabrina met Stirling during her first Australian visit.

The next day:

  • there was a solar eclipse
  • 80,000 watched Stirling Moss win at Warwick Farm
  • President Kennedy banned imports from Cuba.

Sabrina, I believe, was not involved in any of these incidents. More news when it comes to hand.

3 February 1962 - Daily Express

Sabrina 1962SHOWGIRL Sabrina said in Melbourne last night that she is "to marry 36-year-old comedian Sonny King at Las Vegas next week."
But in Las Vegas Mr. King said: "There's no marriage in the offing — I've just got a divorce."
Sabrina plans to fly over on Monday to pick up her "engagement ring." Said Mr. King: "I won't be in New York to meet her."

4 February 1962 - Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) – ‘The clean family newspaper’
Also appeared 3 February 1962 in The Sun, Baltimore, page 3

“I will marry Sonny” – Sabrina
“I won’t marry her” – Sonny King
“Of course he will” - Manager

SABRINA: WILL SHE OR WON’T SHE WED?

Despite reported denials by her "fiance," blonde bombshell Sabrina returned to Sydney from Melbourne yesterday claiming she would marry an American entertainer.

Sabrina announced in Melbourne on Friday that she would marry American comedian-singer Sonny King in Las Vegas next week. But a cable from Las Vegas yesterday quoted King as denying the wedding plans. At Mascot Airport yesterday afternoon Sabrina tried to avoid pressmen.
The usually publicity-conscious star refused to pose for photographs or speak to reporters on the tarmac. Cornered in a taxi outside the terminal she brushed aside a copy of the Las Vegas cable handed to her by a Sunday Telegraph reporter.
"That's not what Sonny has been saying to me," she said. 'He's been asking me to marry him for the past six months. In fact, he's waiting for me in Las Vegas right now—he expected me back today."
Sabrina came to Australia recently under a contract to Twist promoter Lee Gordon

'No ties with Gordon'

She said she had completed her contract with Gordon in Australia, but other Sydney commitments would delay her departure for America until February 12.
She said she would explain the delay to King in a radio-telephone talk later in the day. The 23-year-old star said that she and King, 36 would live in Hollywood.
Peter Freeman, one of Lee Gordon's managers who accompanied Sabrina from Melbourne, threw further doubt on King's Las Vegas denial.
Freeman said: "I believe there will be a marriage all right.I saw the cable from King asking Sabrina to return to the United States this weekend and saying. 'Divorce settlement finalised Let's get married. I think Sabrina sort of let the cat out of the bag with her announcement on Friday night, and that, embarrassed Sonny a little because he is still arranging a marriage settlement after his divorce has gone through. Sonny and Sabrina have been calling each other by radio-telephone."
The American cable quoted King as saying he had accompanied Sabrina on several "dates" -- but there had been "no talk of marriage."
"There is nothing to it." King is reported to have said.
King, a nightclub partner of comedian Jimmy Durante, was recently divorced. He has three children. The marriage would be Sabrina's first.

Sabrina

“I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT” said British entertainer Sabrina, when reporters asked for her comments on a report that her “fiancé”, Sonny King, had denied he would marry her. Sabrina arrived back in Sydney by air yesterday from Melbourne.

Sabrina3 February 1962 - Daily Mirror - by Paula James

'Sonny Loves The Real Me'Sabrina to wed American comic

BUSTY, blonde, British entertainer Sabrina is to marry a man with the same chest measurement — 42 inches.
He is American comedian and singer Sonny King.
"It's wonderful to have so much in common with a man," said Sabrina over the telephone last night from Melbourne, Australia, where she is on tour.
"It's useful too — I can wear all his sweaters."
The couple plan to wed in Las Vegas, Nevada, next week.
"I'm just busting to get there. I don't believe in long engagements," she said.

Sonny King'All Man'

Then Sabrina (42-18-35) told me about Sonny.
"He's marvellous. He's very masculine, very virile — all man. He's intelligent, too.
"The nice thing about Sonny is that he isn't only interested in my measurements. It's the real me he loves."
Sonny, 36, and Sabrina, 25 — formerly Norma Sykes, of Blackpool — met more than a year ago in New York. He proposed last week, by radio-telephone, from America.

4 February 1962

TO WED - OR NOT? Sabrina - Sydney airport 4 Feb 1962

'No' by Sonny

SINGER Sonny King denied in Las Vegas, Nevada, that he would marry British showgirl Sabrina.

Sabrina, 23, had announced in Melbourne that she would marry King next week.
King, a nightclub partner of comedian Jimmy Durante, said he had accompanied Sabrina on several dates, but there had been "no talks of marriage."
"There is nothing to it." he said.

King, 36, was divorced recently. He has three children.
However, Sabrina said in Sydney yesterday that she would marry King on her return to America.
She said she had not heard the reports that King had denied marriage plans.

At Kingsford Smith Airport yesterday afternoon, Sabrina said: "He has been asking me to marry him for about six months — and I have accepted."
She avoided questions about her planned marriage until she had stepped into a taxi outside the terminal.


She nodded her head when asked if the marriage would be the "big thing."
"Sonny expected me back today, but due to commitments here I won't be leaving for another week," she said.

Sabrina said she would be married on her return, and would live in Hollywood.

Photo Caption: Sabrina arriving at Sydney airport from Melbourne yesterday... she hadn't heard of Sonny King's denial

Bullet 7 February 1962 - Nevada State Journal, p.3

Sonny King Denies Word He Will Marry Sabrina

LAS VEGAS (UPI) - Singer Sonny King yesterday denied that he and British television and stage personality Sabrina would be married here next week.

"It's just a vicious rumor," King told United Press International, "I don't know who started it. I can't see her saying that because she is such a nice girl."

Sabrina said Friday in Melbourne, Australia, that she and the 36-year-old nightclub partner of Jimmy Durante would marry here "about next Wednesday."

The 23-year-old buxom blonde said she accepted a proposal when King radio-telephoned her in Sydney last week.

"I can't understand it at all," King said. "My wife and I were divorced here six weeks ago but we are better friends now than [when] we were married."

Sabrina said she was planning to leave Sydney for the United States by plane Monday.

Bullet14 February 1962- Earl Wilson's Syndicated Column

Sabrina's "fiance" Sonny King, claims he may not even see her any more since her "engagement announcement," but she won't want for guys"

Bullet18 February 1962 - Sunday Telegraph (Sydney)

'I’m through with Sonny'

Interviewed at her Sydney hotel, Sabrina said there was “no love nothing” in her life.

Sabrina produced a cablegram from Sonny. It read: "Engagement confirmed; come home immediately. Sonny."

Sabrina is pictured with the cablegram she received from Sonny.

Sabrina

Bullet18 February 1962

Sunday Telegraph (Sydney)

`I’m through with Sonny`

Sabrina said yesterday she was "through" with her fiance Sonny King.

Interviewed at her Sydney hotel, Sabrina said there was “no love nothing” in her life.

"Sonny isn't a bad guy, but he said all those terrible things about me," she said.

[King said he and Sabrina were not engaged a few hours after she said they were.]

"Sonny has all terrible marital problems to contend with," Sabrina continued.
"He's divorced but he has to watch his step with alimony and that sort of thing.
He says he loves me but you can feel the alimony man breathing down your neck all the time."

Sabrina produced a cablegram from Sonny. It read: "Engagement confirmed; come home immediately. Sonny."

She produced a card. It read : "My dearest Sabi : Please come home, Te amo."
''Sonny,” explained Miss Sabrina, “is an Italian."

Sabrina is pictured with the cablegram she received from Sonny.

Sabrina

Editor's note: When the cablegram said 'Engagement confirmed' I wonder if it might have been referring to a performing-type engagement. It sounds very strange to "confirm" a romantic-type engagement. Maybe Sabrina just read into it what she wanted to read?
Bullet13 July 1962 - Sonny King remarried his first wife.

Split from Sabrinalife page: 3 November 2011

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