Frank Sinatra or Woody Allen? Ronan Farrow has some awkward thinking to do

It must be incalculably bizarre to have two such men as possible fathers

Share
Related Topics

Nobody - besides their mum - gets to choose who their dad is, and sometimes she’s a bit squishy on the details. Take Hollywood star Mia Farrow, who isn’t entirely certain whether her son Ronan Farrow is the child of writer, director, and comedian Woody Allen, or film star and singer Frank Sinatra. These are the vague moments that A-list celebrities struggle with. We’ve all been there, unable to remember if it was Bruce Willis or Tom Hanks who borrowed those Breaking Bad DVDs. Did Spielberg or Lucas lend you that private jet? Are these text messages about a possible pregnancy coming from Mila Kunis or Megan Fox? You’d know, but it’s your PA’s assistant’s day off today, and you just have too many phones to keep track of the numbers.

Ronan doesn’t make things any easier when it comes to getting to the bottom of this Hollywood mystery. He has the eyes of Ol’ Blue Eyes (his eyes are blue) and occasionally the wit of Woody Allen. In reaction to the mounting speculation over his paternity he tweeted “Listen, we're all *possibly* Frank Sinatra's son” which - damn it - is exactly the sort of dry humour we’d expect from the comic genius of Woody Allen.

If Ronan could choose who his father was, we might guess he wouldn’t go for the 23 time nominated and four time Academy Award winner who exists in the top handful of the greatest comic writers and performers of all time, and whose cinematic legacy will be as one of the all-time finest directors and screenwriters. This – from his public statements – has a great deal to do with the fact that Woody Allen is also legally his brother-in-law.

We know that Woody was never legally Soon-Yi Previn’s father, but she was legally Mia Farrow’s 19-year-old daughter when he (56) fell in love with her whilst in a relationship with Mia Farrow. It definitely wasn’t incest, but you can see why Ronan might be quite uncool with the way things panned out between his ‘dad' and his sister.

Next to that decade in therapy, what’s not to like about Frank Sinatra? Well, it seems likely that he spent a good deal of his time in the company of members of the Mafia, inspiring the character of Johnny Fontaine in The Godfather.  Sinatra was 50 when he began his relationship with the 21-year-old Mia Farrow, was unfaithful to his wife, and his own children didn’t go to his bedside when he died, despite being nearby at the time.

Neither is going to win any parenting awards. Neither man’s legacy is one of family values or age-appropriate relationships, and yet both left their mark indelibly on American culture of the 20th Century. 'My Way' or Manhattan? 'Fly Me To The Moon' or Annie Hall? Given the scandal that has attracted itself to Sinatra and Allen, the choice – if there could be a choice – of who you’d rather claim as a forebear isn’t necessarily straightforward. Team Woody or Team Frank?

In the short term, the looks, glamour, and charm of Frank Sinatra make him the candidate to beat, but maybe you’re playing the longer game and looking for posterity and cultural impact. The depth of characterization in works like Blue Jasmine, the comic brilliance of Take The Money & Run, and the emotional power of Annie Hall make Woody the undisputed cultural choice.

It must be incalculably bizarre to have two such men possibly be your father. Both brilliant, one dead and the other you have longstanding issues with. Call it the Skywalker conundrum. There’s scant prospect that Woody Allen’s face will one day tenderly be removed by Ronan to reveal the ancient, crippled visage of Sinatra himself. Having a famous father might open a few doors, but in this case it must also be an unenviable torment.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Russian President Vladimir Putin 'hits his foes where it hurts'  

Dominic Raab: If Western politicians’ vested interests protect Putin, take punishment out of their hands

Dominic Raab
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform