The Independence Day star froze when he saw Sinatra sitting in the front row at his 75th birthday tribute show in 1990, and stumbled over song lyrics.

"I didn't plan on actually meeting him, but I went onstage, and there was some of the greatest singers in the world at this event," he told late night host James Corden on Tuesday (17Nov15). "In fact Ella Fitzgerald was sitting backstage by herself and she was kind of rocking back and forth and I went up to her and I said, Ms. Fitzgerald, are you OK?' and she goes, 'Oh yes, I'm terribly nervous.' I'm thinking, 'You (sic) nervous!' So I sang my song, but I completely forgot the words because he was sitting (right in the front)."

Connick, Jr. caught up with Sinatra as he was leaving and attempted to explain himself, so the birthday boy would not think he was a hack, but the veteran crooner's response was not what he thought it would be.

"I felt so embarrassed about it that after the show I saw him in the hotel going to the elevator to go to his room and I ran after him with my then girlfriend, now wife Jill, and I said, 'Jill, I have to go talk to him'," the singer recalls, "and she said, 'You better leave him alone, he wants to be alone'.

"I took Jill and I got into the elevator and it was Frank and Barbara Sinatra and me and Jill and the elevator doors closed and I said, 'Mr. Sinatra, I'm the kid that just sang for you, I forgot the words, I was really nervous, but I'm a lot better than what you just saw'.

"He listened to me for a second and then he turns to Jill as the doors were opening and he cradles her face in his hands and goes, 'You're beautiful,' and kisses her right on the mouth and leaves."