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Frank Sinatra, Jr.

Sinatra, Jr. in San Diego (2008)
Born Franklin Wayne Emmanuel Sinatra
January 10, 1944 (1944-01-10) (age 66)
Jersey City, New Jersey U.S.
Occupation singer, conductor, songwriter
Years active 1955–present

Franklin Wayne Emmanuel Sinatra[1][2] (born 10 January 1944 in Jersey City, New Jersey),[1] professionally known as Frank Sinatra, Jr., is an American singer, songwriter and conductor.

Frank Jr. is the son of famed musician and actor Frank Sinatra (born "Francis") and Nancy Barbato, his first wife. He is the younger brother of singer and actress Nancy Sinatra, and the older brother of television producer Tina Sinatra.

In 1963, at the age of 19, Sinatra was kidnapped and released two days later after payment of a ransom.[3]

Contents

Career

Born into the household of one of the most popular singers in the world, Frank Jr. hardly saw his father, who was constantly on the road either performing or working in films. However, Frank Jr. recalls wanting to become a piano player and songwriter from his earliest days. By his early teens he was performing at local clubs and venues. At age 19 he became the vocalist for Sam Donahue's band.[4] He also spent considerable time with Duke Ellington, learning the music business.[5]

Frank Jr. spent most of his early career on the road. By 1968 he had performed in 47 states and 30 countries, had guested on several television shows,[6] had hosted a summer replacement show 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 high musical standards for his musicians.[7]

Sinatra appeared in the Sammy Davis, Jr. television drama A Man Called Adam in 1966.

Starting in 1988, at his father's request, Frank Jr. placed his career on hold in order to act as his father's musical director and conductor.[8] Poet/vocalist Rod McKuen said this:

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.[9]

In 1989, Sinatra did a cameo vocal on the acclaimed Was (Not Was) album, What Up, Dog?, singing "Wedding Vows in Vegas" with the band. He also appeared with Was (Not Was) doing that song on Late Night With David Letterman on NBC the same year.

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.[10]

He also had a guest spot playing himself on The Sopranos, in a role where it was unclear if he was mocking or acknowledging all the stories about his father's involvement with the mob, and where he lets the character Paulie Walnuts refer to him as the "Chairboy of the Board".

Sinatra appeared in a 2006 episode of Family Guy, "Brian Sings and Swings" (Season 4, Episode 19) where he was introduced as the "Member of The Board". He performs several tunes during the show, accompanied by Stewie and Brian. During the ending credits, he sings 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", where he sang with Brian again, with Stewie returning as a sideline investor supporting the duo. In a sly reference to the lenient prison terms handed down to the perpetrators of Sinatra's kidnapping, Peter receives a 7-day jail sentence for setting a children's hospital on fire.

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

A fifteen-minute song/monologue composed by Sinatra in 1976, Over the Land, is now housed in the National Archives. It evokes the memory of the nation's flag, and its experiences since the War of 1812.

Critical reception

Frank Jr. has said that his famous name has 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."[11]

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.[12]

Kidnapping

Sinatra was kidnapped, at the age of 19, on 8 December 1963 at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, room 417, and released two days later after his father paid the $240,000 ransom demanded by the kidnappers, who were later captured, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to short prison terms.[3] A hot rumor at the time was that Frank Sr. arranged for the kidnapping in an attempt to gain publicity for his son's fledgling singing career. This was proven to be false. Attorney Gladys Root represented one of the kidnappers. In order to communicate with the kidnappers via payphone as they demanded, his father carried a roll of dimes with him throughout this ordeal, which became a life-long habit.[citation needed]

This American Life interviewed the kidnapper on Episode 205: Plan B.

References

  1. ^ a b Sinatra, Nancy. Frank Sinatra: An American Legend, 1998.
  2. ^ Sinatra, Nancy. Frank Jr. & Steve Tyrell (forum thread), The Sinatra Family Forum (sinatrafamily.com), 15 July 2007
  3. ^ a b http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/gangsters_outlaws/outlaws/frank_sinatra_jr/1_index.html
  4. ^ The Other Frank Sinatra, Nat Hentoff, published in The Wall Street Journal, 1 September 2009, p. D5
  5. ^ The Other Frank Sinatra - " . . [Duke Ellington] took me under his wing."
  6. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0801535 Internet Movie Database, entry for Frank Sinatra, Jr., accessed 2 September 2009
  7. ^ Frank Jr., the Unsung Sinatra, Wil Haygood, published in The Washington Post, 9 July 2006. Guitarist Jim Fox said, "[Frank Jr.] has such high standards. He knows every third trombone part, every cello part."
  8. ^ http://www.wma.com/frank_sinatra_jr/Bio/frank_sinatra_jr_bio.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.mckuen.com
  10. ^ Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 10671501062. 
  11. ^ The Other Frank Sinatra
  12. ^ Richard Ginell, Daily Variety, 16 January 2003 (quoted in The Other Frank Sinatra)

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