Frank Sinatra Jr.

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Frank Sinatra Jr.
FrankSinatraJrByPhilKonstantin.jpg
in San Diego (2008)
Background information
Birth name Francis Wayne Sinatra
Born (1944-01-10)January 10, 1944
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Died March 16, 2016(2016-03-16) (aged 72)
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • conductor
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • voice actor
Years active 1963–2016

Francis Wayne Sinatra[a][1][2][3] (/sɪˈnɑːtrə/; January 10, 1944 – March 16, 2016), professionally known as Frank Sinatra Jr., was an American singer, songwriter, and conductor.

He was the son of singer and actor Frank Sinatra and his first wife, Nancy Barbato Sinatra; the younger brother of singer and actress Nancy Sinatra; and the older brother of television producer Tina Sinatra.

Early life[edit]

Francis Wayne Sinatra was born January 10, 1944, in Jersey City, New Jersey, into the household of one of the most popular singers in the world, Frank Sinatra. The younger Sinatra, who was not technically a "junior" – as his father's middle name was Albert – but was nonetheless known as Frank Jr. throughout his life. Sinatra Jr. hardly saw his father, who was constantly on the road, either performing or working in films. However, Sinatra recalled wanting to become a pianist and songwriter from his earliest days.

Kidnapping[edit]

Sinatra was kidnapped at the age of 19, on December 8, 1963, at Harrah's Lake Tahoe (room 417).[4] He was released two days later after his father paid the $240,000 ransom demanded by the kidnappers (equivalent to $1,920,000 in 2017). Barry Keenan, Johnny Irwin, and Joe Amsler were soon captured, prosecuted for kidnapping, convicted, and sentenced to long prison terms, of which they served only small portions. Mastermind Keenan was later adjudged to have been legally insane at the time of the crime and hence not legally responsible for his actions.[4] Famed attorney Gladys Root represented Johnny Irwin.

A rumor at the time was that Frank Sr. arranged this in an attempt to gain publicity for his son's fledgling singing career, but this was proven to be false.

The kidnappers demanded that all communication be conducted by payphone, which was a coin-operated public telephone, that required pre-payment by inserting coins, and required the user to continue to insert coins as the time of the conversation exceeded the previous pre-payment time limit. During these conversations, Frank Sr. became concerned he would not have enough coins, which prompted him to carry 10 dimes with him at all times for the rest of his life; he was even buried with 10 dimes in his pocket.[5]

At the time of the kidnapping, Frank Sr. and the Rat Pack were filming Robin and the 7 Hoods. The stress of the kidnapping, in addition to the assassination of Sinatra's close friend John F. Kennedy just a few weeks prior to the kidnapping, caused Sinatra to seriously consider shutting down production completely, although the film was ultimately completed.[6]

Career[edit]

By his early teens, Sinatra was performing at local clubs and venues. At age 19, he became the vocalist for Sam Donahue's band.[7] He also spent considerable time with Duke Ellington, learning the music business.[8]

Sinatra spent most of his early career on the road. By 1968, he had performed in 47 states and 30 countries, had appeared as a guest on several television shows,[9] including two episodes of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour with his sister Nancy, hosted a 10-week summer replacement series for The Dean Martin Show, had sung with his own band in Las Vegas casinos, and had been the opening act for bigger names at other casinos. During that time, he gained a reputation for rigorous rehearsals and demanding standards for his musicians.[10]

Frank Sinatra Jr. on
The Red Skelton Show (1969)

Sinatra appeared in the Sammy Davis Jr. drama A Man Called Adam in 1966. Sinatra also played a deputy district attorney, named Gino Bardi, on the television crime drama Adam-12, in the episode titled "Clinic on 18th Street" (originally broadcast on March 13, 1974).[11]

The National Archives now houses a 15-minute song and monologue composed by Sinatra in 1976, Over the Land. It evokes the memory of the nation's flag and the nation's experiences with the flag since the War of 1812.

Starting in 1988, at his father's request, Sinatra placed his career on hold in order to act as his father's musical director and conductor.[12] Poet/vocalist Rod McKuen said:

As the senior Sinatra outlived one by one all of his conductors and nearly every arranger, and began to grow frail himself, his son knew he needed someone that he trusted near him. [Frank Jr.] was also savvy enough to know that performing was everything to his dad and the longer he kept that connection with his audience, the longer he would stay vital and alive.[13]

In 1989, Sinatra sang "Wedding Vows in Vegas" on the Was (Not Was) album, What Up, Dog?, and performed the song live with the band on Late Night with David Letterman on March 23, 1989.[14]

During the 1995–1996 television season, Sinatra was offered the role of Vic Fontaine on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Despite being a fan of the show and finding the role interesting, he turned it down, declaring that he only wanted to play an alien.[15] James Darren accepted the part, after demurring at first because he found descriptions of the part too "on the nose", but changed his mind when he read the script.[citation needed]

Sinatra guest-starred on an episode of Son of the Beach, in the episode "You Only Come Once" (2002), playing the villain Stink Finger,[16] and he sang his own theme song for the character. He had a guest spot playing himself on an episode of The Sopranos, "The Happy Wanderer" (2000),[17] in a role either mocking or acknowledging all the stories about his father's involvement with the mob – he lets Paulie Walnuts refer to him as the "Chairboy of the Board." (His sister, Nancy, also appeared as herself in a later Sopranos episode "Chasing It" (2007).[18]

Sinatra appeared in the Family Guy, Season 4, Episode 19: "Brian Sings and Swings", wherein he was introduced as the "Member of the Board". He performed several tunes during the show, accompanied by Stewie and Brian. During the ending credits, he sang the Family Guy theme song. He also recorded a commentary for its DVD release.

He returned in a 2008 episode, "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing" (Season 7, Episode 6), wherein he sang with Brian again, with Stewie returning as a sideline investor supporting the duo. A third episode featuring Sinatra, "Bookie of the Year" (Season 15, Episode 2), aired posthumously on October 2, 2016 and was dedicated to his memory. This was his final appearance recorded.

In 2006, Sinatra released the album That Face!, including the songs "You'll Never Know" and the self-penned song "Spice."

Sinatra made a brief cameo appearance in the series premiere episode of the 2010 CBS legal comedy-drama The Defenders, as well as the show's series finale.[19]

On August 17, 2015, Sinatra sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Yankee Stadium.

His father's recording of "Theme from New York, New York" is played following the end of every Yankees home game[20], and Sinatra Jr. performed the song at the 2014 Belmont Stakes.

Sinatra's song "Black Night," written and sung by him, was used as the theme song to Rick Alverson's feature film Entertainment (2015), starring Gregg Turkington and John C. Reilly.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Sinatra married Cynthia McMurry on October 18, 1998; they divorced on January 7, 2000. He is survived by a son, Michael, from a previous relationship. He also has a daughter, his first born child, Heather Christina, who now resides in Palm Springs California. This child is from his relationship with Sharon Anne Smith, (who he called Sherry). Heather was born in Alexandria, Va. on January 21, 1970. Her mother, Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). Sharon Anne(Smith)LarsonCite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). resides outside of Lexington, Ky. Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). [22]

Sinatra underwent surgery for prostate cancer in January 2006.[23]

Death[edit]

On March 16, 2016, the Sinatra family released a statement to the Associated Press that Sinatra had died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona Beach, Florida, at the age of 72.[24][25]

Critical reception[edit]

Sinatra said that his famous name had opened some doors, but "a famous father means that in order to prove yourself, you have to work three times harder than the guy off the street."[26]

Music critic Richard Ginell wrote of a 2003 concert by Sinatra:

Sinatra Jr. might have had an easier time establishing himself had he gone into real estate. But his show made me awfully glad he decided music was his calling. There aren't too many singers around with Sinatra's depth of experience in big band music, or his knowledge of the classic American songbook. There are even fewer with such real feeling for the lyrics of a song, and such a knack for investing a song with style and personality.[27]

Songs[edit]

Sinatra composed several songs, including:

  • "Spice"
  • "Believe in Me"
  • "Black Night"
  • "What Were You Thinking?"
  • "Missy"

In popular culture[edit]

  • His kidnapping was rumored (and later debunked) to be a publicity stunt by Frank Sr. to promote his son's singing career, which is believed to have inspired the plot for the Hawaii Five-O episode "Tiger by the Tail".[28]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

Informational notes

  1. ^ Although some sources give his first name as Franklin, Francis Wayne Sinatra is his correct name, in accordance with his father's will and Nancy.[1][2][3]

Citations

  1. ^ a b Travis, Dempsey J. "The Last Will and Testament of Francis Albert Sinatra". The FBI Files: On the Tainted and the Damned. Northwestern University. p. 12. To my son Francis Wayne Sinatra $200,000 
  2. ^ a b Sinatra, Nancy (1998). Frank Sinatra: An American Legend. 
  3. ^ a b Sinatra, Nancy (July 15, 2007). "Frank Jr. & Steve Tyrell (forum thread)". The Sinatra Family Forum.  Group note.
  4. ^ a b "The Kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. – The Snatch –". Crime Library on Trutv.com. December 8, 1963. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Sinatra Buried With Whiskey, Dimes". Associated Press. May 23, 1998. Retrieved November 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Robin and the 7 Hoods". TCM. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ Hentoff, Nat (September 1, 2009). "The Other Frank Sinatra". The Wall Street Journal. p. D5. 
  8. ^ The Other Frank Sinatra – "... [Duke Ellington] took me under his wing."
  9. ^ "Frank Sinatra Jr". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  10. ^ Haygood, Wil (July 9, 2006). "Frank Jr., the Unsung Sinatra". The Washington Post. Guitarist Jim Fox said, "[Frank Jr.] has such high standards. He knows every third trombone part, every cello part." 
  11. ^ "Clinic on 18th Street". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  12. ^ "Frank Sinatra Jr. bio (WME Clients)". Wmeclients.com. Retrieved 2015-12-05. 
  13. ^ McKuen, Rod (1998-04-29). "A safe place to land". Mckuen.com. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  14. ^ Frank Sinatra Jr. on Late Night With David Letterman singing "Wedding Wows in Vegas" on YouTube, March 23, 1989
  15. ^ Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-50106-2. 
  16. ^ Son of the Beach, episode "You Only Come Once" (2002) with Frank Sinatra Jr. as the Notorious Stink Finger at IMDb
  17. ^ The Sopranos, episode "The Happy Wanderer" (2000) with Frank Sinatra Jr. at IMDb
  18. ^ The Sopranos, episode "Chasing It" (2007) with Nancy Sinatra at IMDb
  19. ^ The Defenders, Full cast and crew for "Pilot" at the Internet Movie Database.
  20. ^ Nocera, Joe (2015-12-11). "How 'New York, New York' Went to the Top of the Heap". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-30. 
  21. ^ "Frank Sinatra Jr – Black Night". Aquarium Drunkard. 
  22. ^ CNN, Steve Almasy,. "Frank Sinatra Jr. dies at 72". CNN. Retrieved 2018-06-26. 
  23. ^ "Frankie's Health". Sinatrafamily.com. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  24. ^ "Frank Sinatra Jr. dies at 72". CBS News. 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  25. ^ "Sinatra Family: Frank Sinatra Jr. Has Died". ABC News. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  26. ^ The Other Frank Sinatra
  27. ^ Richard Ginell, Daily Variety, January 16, 2003 (quoted in The Other Frank Sinatra)
  28. ^ Greg Evans (April 29, 2007). "'Dragnet' With leis, and the occasional ghost (season 1 DVD review". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]