Frank Sinatra Jr.

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Frank Sinatra Jr.
Sinatra Jr. in 2008
Francis Wayne Sinatra

(1944-01-10)January 10, 1944
DiedMarch 16, 2016(2016-03-16) (aged 72)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • conductor
Years active1963–2016
Cynthia McMurry
(m. 1998; div. 2000)
Parent(s)Frank Sinatra
Nancy Barbato
RelativesTina Sinatra (sister)
Nancy Sinatra (sister)
Musical career

Francis Wayne Sinatra Jr.[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]

Photo family portrait of a husband, wife, two young children, and an infant.
Sinatra family portrait, 1949, with Frank Jr. at far right

Francis Wayne Sinatra was born on January 10, 1944,[4] in Jersey City, New Jersey, into the household of one of the most popular singers in the world, Frank Sinatra. The younger Sinatra was technically not a "junior", as his father's middle name was Albert, but was nonetheless known as Frank Jr. throughout his life. The younger Sinatra hardly saw his father, who was constantly on the road, either performing or working in films. Sinatra Jr. recalled wanting to become a pianist and songwriter from his earliest days.


Sinatra was kidnapped at the age of 19 on December 8, 1963, at Harrah's Lake Tahoe (Room 417).[5] He was released two days later after his father paid the $240,000 ransom demanded by the kidnappers (equivalent to $2,290,000 in 2022 terms). Sinatra had offered $1 million, but the kidnappers inexplicably declined the larger offer, which would be equivalent to $9.68 million in 2022 terms.[6] In an interview with Ira Glass, Barry Keenan said that he initially intended to earn back the ransom over years and pay it back to Frank Sr. 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.[5] Famed attorney Gladys Root represented Irwin.

The kidnappers demanded that all communication be conducted by payphone. During these conversations, Frank Sr. became concerned that 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.[7]

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, although the film was ultimately completed.[8]


By his early teens, Sinatra Jr. performed at local clubs. At age 19, he became the vocalist for Sam Donahue's band.[9] He also spent considerable time with Duke Ellington, learning the music business.[10]

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[citation needed] 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 high standards for his musicians.[11]

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

Sinatra appeared in the Sammy Davis Jr. drama A Man Called Adam in 1966. He also played a deputy district attorney, named Gino Bardi, on the television crime drama Adam-12, in three episodes, the last of which was titled "Clinic on 18th Street" (originally broadcast on March 13, 1974).[citation needed] This episode was an edited television pilot for a Mark VII Limited series that was not sold.[citation needed] His other acting credits included roles in Aru heishi no kake (1970) with Dale Robertson, Code Name Zebra (1987) opposite James Mitchum, and Hollywood Homicide (2003) with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett.

The USA's National Archives now houses a 15-minute song and monologue composed by Sinatra in 1976, Over the Land. It evokes the memory of the U.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 1997–1998 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 refusing three times because he found the idea of a vocalist playing a vocalist to be too "on the nose", but changed his mind when he read the script.[16]

Sinatra guest-starred on an episode of Son of the Beach, in the episode "You Only Come Once" (2002), playing the villain Stink Finger,[citation needed] 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),[citation needed] 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".

Sinatra appeared in the show 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

On August 17, 2015, Sinatra sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Yankee Stadium.[17] and sang the "Theme from New York, New York" 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.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Sinatra married Cynthia McMurry on Oct. 18, 1998. They divorced on January 7, 2000.[19]

Sinatra underwent surgery for prostate cancer in January 2006.[20]

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.[21][22]

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."[23]

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.[24]


Sinatra composed several songs, including:

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



  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]


  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. ^ "UPI Almanac for Friday, Jan. 10, 2020". United Press International. January 10, 2020. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020. …singer Frank Sinatra Jr. in 1944
  5. ^ a b "The Kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. – The Snatch". Crime Library on December 8, 1963. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "$1,000,000 in 1963 → 2022 | Inflation Calculator". Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  7. ^ "Sinatra Buried With Whiskey, Dimes". Associated Press. May 23, 1998. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  8. ^ "Robin and the 7 Hoods". TCM. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  9. ^ Hentoff, Nat (September 1, 2009). "The Other Frank Sinatra". The Wall Street Journal. p. D5.
  10. ^ The Other Frank Sinatra – "... [Duke Ellington] took me under his wing."
  11. ^ 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.'
  12. ^ "Frank Sinatra Jr. bio (WME Clients)". Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  13. ^ McKuen, Rod (April 29, 1998). "A safe place to land". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  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. p. 562. ISBN 978-0-6715-0106-8.
  16. ^ "Forever Fontaine – An Interview with DS9's James Darren". July 13, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  17. ^ Frank Sinatra Jr. (August 17, 2015). Frank Sinatra Jr. Sings National Anthem at Yankee Stadium. Retrieved June 20, 2021.,
  18. ^ "Frank Sinatra Jr – Black Night". Aquarium Drunkard. September 8, 2015.
  19. ^ Almasy, Steve. "Frank Sinatra Jr. dies at 72". CNN. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  20. ^ "Frankie's Health". Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  21. ^ "Frank Sinatra Jr. dies at 72". CBS News. March 16, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  22. ^ "Sinatra Family: Frank Sinatra Jr. Has Died". ABC News. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  23. ^ The Other Frank Sinatra
  24. ^ Ginell, Richard (January 16, 2003). "Tony Bennett; Frank Sinatra Jr". Daily Variety. Retrieved December 23, 2021. (quoted in The Other Frank Sinatra)

External links[edit]