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FRANKIE TO FAN: BUZZ OFF

By Tom Dodge |

OBSESSIONS Maybe it pays to have a flaw or two. TRIP REYNOLDS’s paintings are so good he can’t give them away, at least not to his idol FRANK SINATRA. For a decade now, Reynolds has tried to give Sinatra his 3-by-4, seven-portrait collage spanning the singer’s career, with no success. In fact, most of the letters he has received from the crooner’s attorneys and managers have not been very nice.

Reynolds, 37, is compensations manager for the city of Dallas. He says he has been a fan of Big Band music all his life, ever since his father played with such giants as Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

“I’m a photo-realistic artist,” he says, “so they write back and say, ’You’ve just assembled a group of photographs and mounted them in a frame.’”

Ironically, some of Sinatra’s palace guard seem to think Reynolds is trying to make money, not offer homage. “They say, ’You are hereby prohibited from using these photos for commercial gain,’ ” Reynolds laughs. “All 1 want to do is give it to him, for God’s sake.”

And of course Reynolds wants to give it to him in person. This will probably never happen. According to Billboard magazine, the Chairman of the Board added a clause to his 1975 contract stipulating that no one, “no matter how famous,” could be allowed to come backstage or even to approach him. No sheikhs, no Trumps, no compensation managers.

Sounds pretty final, but Reynolds says the rejection hasn’t discouraged him. In fact, sometimes he thinks things are looking up. “His personal manager called me once at home and said Frank was sorry he couldn’t meet with me when he comes to Dallas but maybe next time. A year later I called and wrote when I heard he was coming back, but I never got a response.

“1 have no hard feelings because Frank Sinatra doesn’t take an interest in my painting,” he says. “Hey, he’s the quintessential pop artist.”