Birthday: January 10, 1944
Died At Age: 72
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Francis Wayne Sinatra
Born in: Jersey City, New Jersey
Famous as: Singer
Spouse/Ex-: Cynthia McMurrey (m. 1998–2000)
father: Frank Sinatra
mother: Nancy Barbato
children: Francine Sinatra Anderson, Michael Sinatra, Natalie Oglesby Skalla
Died on: March 16, 2016
place of death: Daytona Beach, Florida
Grouping of People: EGOT Winners
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
U.S. State: New Jersey
Who was Frank Sinatra Jr.?
Francis Wayne Sinatra, better known as Frank Sinatra Jr, was a popular 20th and 21st century American vocalist, songwriter, actor, music conductor and arranger. He was the son of the legendary American singer-actor Frank Sinatra and his first wife Nancy Barbato Sinatra. Born into a family where music was the mainstay, Sinatra Jr was naturally drawn towards this genre of performing art from his very childhood. He is credited with a commendable body of work in the fields of pop, jazz and swing. He was immensely influenced by his father in terms of voice tone and tenor, style, presentation and even body language. A disturbing episode of his life was played out when he got kidnapped at the age of nineteen and had to be rescued by the FBI. His musical career bore a lot of similarities with that of his father although he could never scale the dizzying heights achieved by Sinatra Sr. He performed with local bands, at night clubs, on television, in movies and held numerous concerts all over the country. In spite of having had a long and fairly popular career, he could never completely come out of his illustrious father’s shadow.
Childhood & Early Life
Francis Wayne Sinatra was born on January 10, 1944, at New Jersey to the most iconic American singer and actor of the 20th century – Frank Sinatra, and his first wife Nancy Barbato Sinatra.
He was the second among the three offsprings of the Sinatra couple. He had two sisters – singer and actress Nancy, the elder, and television producer Tina, the younger. He was always known as Frank Sinatra Jr, both in his personal and professional lives.
He had a penchant for music right from his formative years, having been brought up in a household that breathed and deified music. Frank Sr, however, was not too keen on his son’s joining this path, probably because of the uncertainties and obstacles involved.
An unnerving incident occurred on December 8, 1963, when Sinatra Jr was kidnapped from his hotel room at Lake Tahoe and a ransom demand for $240,000 was placed. His father acceded to the kidnappers’ demand and the FBI eventually secured his release. The perpetrators Barry Keenan, Johnny Irwin and Joe Amsler were apprehended shortly and imprisoned for long terms.
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Frank Sinatra Jr had an early foray into the world of music – he was part of Tommy Dorsey’s band in 1963, the same band where his father was a performer way back in 1939. He was also the vocalist for Sam Donahue’s band and obtained some valuable insight on the business of music from Duke Ellington.
His early career centered largely around his numerous musical concerts and regular television appearances. By the time he was 24, he had performed in 47 states and 3 countries.
He appeared in the 1966 American drama film ‘A Man Called Adam’ starring Sammy Davis Jr and on an episode in the television crime serial ‘Adam-12’. His other notable film appearances included roles in ‘Aru heishi no kake’, ‘Code Name Zebra’ and ‘Hollywood Homicide’.
By 1968 he had been a guest on two episodes of ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’. He hosted ‘The Dean Martin Show’ for ten weeks along with his sister Nancy.
He had a successful run at several Las Vegas casinos with his own band and had often done the opening act for more successful and established musicians at other upmarket casinos.
He composed a 15 minute song and monologue ‘Over the Land’ in 1976 which documented the checkered history of America and its Star and Stripes flag. This composition evoked feelings of deep pride and patriotism among the countrymen, whenever performed.
During the 1970s he recorded for the famous labels Daybreak (‘Spice’, ‘His Way’, ‘It’s Alright’) and Capitol (‘That Face!’). The arranger for most of these recordings was Nelson Riddle, the gifted composer-arranger who had been an integral part of Sinatra Sr’s haloed musical journey. One of Sinatra’s later compositions, ‘Black Night’, was used in Rick Alverson’s 2015 film ‘Entertainment’.
In 1988, he took up the challenging role of becoming his father’s music director and conductor at the behest of his father. This gave him an opportunity to imbue the deeper nuances of his father’s musical genius, something which came in handy throughout his career.
Thereafter, he tried to get a foothold in the world of television acting which included guest appearances in an episode of ‘Son of the Beach’ and ‘The Sopranos’; an episode in the fourth season of ‘Family Guy’ where he sang the theme song at the end; a cameo in the 2010 legal comedy-drama ‘The Defenders’ and an episode in Season 15 of ‘Bookie of the Year’. The last episode was aired on October 2, 2016, after his death, and was dedicated to his memory.
Some of his most popular and successful compositions include ‘Spice’, ‘Believe in Me’, ‘Black Night’, ‘That Face’, and ‘What were You Thinking’.
He was nominated at the 1967 Golden Laurel Awards for ‘Male New Face’ in which he finished at the 15th position.
Personal Life & Legacy
Frank Sinatra Jr was married to Cynthia McMurry from October 18, 1998 to January 7, 2000. He left behind three daughters and two sons, from his previous romantic alliances.
He was embroiled in a paternity case twice in 1982, once for a nine year old girl and again, for a three year old boy.
He was successfully operated upon for prostate cancer in January, 2006.
He died of a massive cardiac arrest at the age of 72 on March 16, 2016, at Daytona beach, Florida, while on a tour.
Sinatra Jr himself admitted that being the son of Frank Sinatra, the global musical phenomenon, was not easy – comparisons were inevitable, and he had to try doubly hard to prove his mettle but mostly, without commensurate returns.