I have just read about the death yesterday of Frank Sinatra, Jr., while he was on tour in in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was 72.
While there must have been compensations for growing up the son of that era’s most popular entertainer, I really don’t envy the guy.
He was, after all, famous for only three things. One, his famous father. Two, the uncanny similarity of his voice to his famous fathers’. And three, in 1963—just days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—a group of amateur criminals hoping to strike it rich kidnapped Frank Jr., and demanded a ransom of $240,000 (why not $250,000 I don’t know, but I’d guess that it was because $240,000 would divide evenly between the three kidnappers). The incident stole the headlines until the ransom was paid and Junior was released to his mother’s home.
Frank Jr. lived his whole life in the shadow of his father. In 1988, at his father’s insistence, Sinatra Jr. put his own performing career on hold to work as Sinatra Sr.’s musical director and conductor. Frank Sinatra Sr. died in 1998. After 1998, Frank Jr. was widely viewed as the “curator” of his father’s music—but I don’t know what that means, as the real decision-making still resided with his father’s recording labels.
Hell, he wasn’t even a real Frank Jr.: that was just his professional name. His real name was Francis Wayne Sinatra (his father’s full name was Francis Albert Sinatra).
Anyway, he’s dead now and his father’s memory will recede further back in history.
Well, maybe there was one other compensation.
While a number of other famous actors were angling unsuccessfully for a gig on The Sopranos, in “The Happy Wanderer” (the nineteenth episode and the sixth of the show’s second season), the players at a card game include Frank Sinatra Jr., Johnny Sack, Silvio Dante, and Dr. Ira Fried. Not many people can claim that distinction.
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