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Frank Sinatra, Jr. Has Died

Frank Sinatra Jr

Frank Sinatra, Jr – the son of the famous Sinatra, Sr – has died at the age of 72.

Sinatra Jr.’s kidnapping added a very bizarre chapter to his father’s legacy. The New York Times writes of Frank Sinatra Jr.’s death:

The younger Mr. Sinatra died of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona Beach, Fla., the Sinatra family said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The statement said the family mourned the untimely passing of their son, brother, father and uncle. No other details were provided.

His real name was Francis Wayne Sinatra — his father’s full name was Francis Albert Sinatra — but he went professionally by Frank Sinatra Jr.

Mr. Sinatra was the middle child of the elder Mr. Sinatra and Nancy Barbato Sinatra, who was the senior Mr. Sinatra’s first wife and the mother of all three of his children. Mr. Sinatra’s older sister was Nancy Sinatra, who had a successful musical career of her own, and his younger sister was the TV producer Tina Sinatra.

He was born in Jersey City in 1944, just as his father’s career was getting started, and he would watch him become one of the most famous singers of all time. But he usually watched from a distance, as his father was constantly away on tours and making movies.

Mr. Sinatra did, however, sometimes get to see him from the wings of the stage, especially when his father performed for long stints in Las Vegas. Mr. Sinatra got to see many other storied performers too, like Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Count Basie.

“I saw all the top stars perform,” Mr. Sinatra told The A.P. in 2002. He said one of his favorite memories of his father was a show in the late 1960s at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

“He was sitting on a little stool, and he sang the Beatles song ‘Yesterday’ and ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ and ‘Didn’t We,’” Mr. Sinatra said. “We were all crying and singing.”

Mr. Sinatra followed his father into music as a teenager, eventually working for the senior Mr. Sinatra as his musical director and conductor.

The elder Mr. Sinatra died of a heart attack on May 14, 1998, at 82.

Mr. Sinatra was able to provide a link to his father’s music after his death, performing his songs and arrangements on tours and especially in Las Vegas.

“Since my father’s death, a lot of people have made it clear that they’re not ready to give up the music,” Mr. Sinatra said in 2002. “For me, it’s a big, fat gift. I get to sing with a big orchestra and get to sing orchestrations that will never be old.”

When Mr. Sinatra was 19 in 1963, three men kidnapped him at gunpoint from a Lake Tahoe hotel. He was returned safely after two days when his family paid $240,000 for his release.

Barry Keenan, a high school friend of Nancy Sinatra, was arrested with the other two suspects, Johnny Irwin and Joe Amsler, and convicted of conspiracy and kidnapping.

Mr. Keenan masterminded the kidnapping, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to life plus 75 years in prison, but was declared legally insane at the time of the crime, had his sentence reduced and was paroled in 1968 after serving 4½ years.

Mr. Sinatra had nearly two dozen TV and movie credits as an actor, most recently providing his voice for two episodes of “Family Guy.”

Mr. Sinatra was married in 1998, but divorced in 2000. He is survived by a son, Michael.

Royce Christyn
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