March 10, 1927
Bosworth, Missouri, U.S.
|Other names||Barbara Marx|
|Occupation||Las Vegas showgirl and model|
|Spouse(s)||Robert Harrison Oliver
(m. 1940s; div. 1950s)
(m. 1959; div. 1973)
(m. 1976; his death 1998)
Blakeley was born in 1927 in Bosworth, Missouri, one of two daughters of Charles W. Blakeley and his wife, the former Irene Prunty Toppass (died 1993, California). Her family relocated to Wichita, Kansas, where she was raised. In her autobiography, Lady Blue Eyes, Barbara Sinatra states that she celebrated her 70th birthday in March 1997 (page 347).
She first married Robert Harrison Oliver, an executive with the Miss Universe pageant, in the mid- to late-1940s, a marriage which produced a son, Robert "Bobby" Oliver, but ended in divorce.
While working in Las Vegas, she met Zeppo Marx, and, on September 18, 1959, they married. Barbara's son, Bobby, assumed the family name of his stepfather. It was presumed at the time that Bobby Marx had been legally adopted by Zeppo Marx, but Tina Sinatra has claimed that, according to Robert Harrison Oliver, no such adoption took place. Barbara and Zeppo divorced in 1973.
She was married to singer Frank Sinatra from July 11, 1976, until his death on May 14, 1998. It was Sinatra's fourth and final marriage, and the longest-lasting one. She converted to Roman Catholicism before she and Frank were married. According to her book, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank, "He [Frank] never asked me to change faith for him, but I could tell he was pleased that I'd consider it."
The Roman Catholic church, which, in the 1950s, had savaged Sinatra for his decision to divorce Nancy Sinatra and marry Ava Gardner, officiated at his fourth marriage. After his mother's death in 1977, Sinatra asked the church to annul his marriage to Nancy Barbato. It was the only one of his previous marriages which had taken place in the Roman Catholic church. Because his marriages to Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow were civil, and not Catholic religious ceremonies, the Roman Catholic church did not recognize them. After the annulment was granted, Sinatra was then able to marry Barbara in a Catholic wedding ceremony.
Frank's daughter Tina claimed that, while married to Sinatra, Barbara persuaded Frank to legally adopt Bobby Marx – although Marx was a grown man – and, subsequently, Sinatra's children intervened to prevent it. In the book Lady Blue Eyes, Barbara disputes this, claiming that Frank offered, but, despite their close relationship, Bobby did not want the adoption.
Bobby has one daughter, Carina Marx.
Frank and Barbara Sinatra founded the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center in Rancho Mirage, California, in 1986. The center is adjacent to the Betty Ford Center on the campus of the Eisenhower Medical Center. The non-profit facility provides individual and group therapy for young victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Barbara Sinatra authored Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank (Crown Archetype; released May 31, 2011).
- The Night We Called It a Day, a film about Frank Sinatra in which Melanie Griffith played Barbara Marx Sinatra.
- U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 & 2 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
- The 1930 United States census cites Barbara A. Blakeley, daughter of Irene and Charles W. Blakeley, as 3 years old in April 1930
- Sinatra, Barbara. "Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank". p. 172. 2011, Crown Archetype. New York.
- Daughen, Joseph R. (May 19, 1998). "Even In The Church, He Did It His Way". Philly.com. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- IMDb profile
- Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated