10 Interesting Facts About Frank Sinatra

Posted December 11, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

December 12, 2015 marks Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday. Known for his smooth voice and charm, Sinatra is remembered as one of the most popular and influential artists of the 20th century.

10 Interesting Facts About Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra, 1947 / Library of Congress

In honor of the centennial of his birth, here are 10 interesting facts about Ol’ Blue Eyes:

1. His birth left him with lifelong scars.

10 Interesting Facts About Frank Sinatra

Sinatra as a young boy / Wikimedia Commons

Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915 in an upstairs tenement in Hoboken, New Jersey. Sinatra was a big baby, a hefty 13.5 lbs at the time of his birth, and had to be delivered with the aid of forceps, which left him with severe scars on his left cheek, neck and ear. It also perforated his eardrum, leaving them damaged for the rest of his life.

A later operation on his mastoid bone left him with major scarring on his neck. All his life, Sinatra hated to be photographed from the left side.

2. His parents were Italian immigrants.

Sinatra’s mother, Natalina “Dolly” Garaventa, was the daughter of a lithographer from Genoa. A strong presence, she became an influential force in local Democratic circles. She worked as a midwife, and according to some reports, she also operated an illegal abortion service for Italian Catholics.

His father was Antonino Martino “Marty” Sinatra, a bantamweight boxer who fought under the name Marty O’Brien. He later worked as a firefighter for 24 years and worked his way up to Captain. In 1903, he arrived at Ellis Island with his mother and sisters. They joined his father, who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1900.

3. He was a well-dressed kid during the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression, his mother often supplied Sinatra with money to buy expensive clothes. For this, people often described him as the “best-dressed kid in the neighborhood.” Throughout his life, Sinatra would continue to be known for his impeccable sense of style.

4. He was arrested and charged for seduction and adultery.

In 1938, Sinatra was arrested in New Jersey for seduction. He was later charged with adultery when it was determined that the woman was actually married. The case was eventually dismissed.

5. His punctured eardrum kept him out of World War II.

10 Interesting Facts About Frank Sinatra

Sinatra on the Armed Forces Radio Show, 1944 / Wikimedia Commons

On December 11, 1943, he was officially classified 4-F (“Registrant not acceptable for military service”) by the draft board because of his perforated eardrum. Towards the end of the war, Sinatra joined several overseas USO tours to help entertain the troops.

6. His son, Frank Sinatra, Jr., was kidnapped and held for ransom.

On December 8, 1963, Sinatra received a ransom demand of $240,000 for the safe return of his son. The kidnappers only allowed Sinatra to call from a payphone. During one call, Sinatra ran out of money in the middle of the call. He was horrified that the error would cost him his son’s life. After the payment was made and Frank, Jr. was safely returned, Sinatra always carried a roll of dimes, vowing to never be without coins again.

7. The Rat Pack was not called the “Rat Pack” by its members.

10 Interesting Facts About Frank Sinatra

Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra / Library of Congress

Sinatra was the leader of the infamous Rat Pack, which also included famous names Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. The name was given to them by Lauren Bacall. However, the group never actually called themselves the “Rat Pack.” Instead, they preferred to refer to their group as “the Summit” after a 1960 meeting of world leaders in Paris.

8. The FBI kept him under surveillance for almost five decades.

Beginning in the 1940s, the FBI kept a close eye on Sinatra due to his alleged ties to the mafia. The Feds kept over two thousand documents on the singer. Although Sinatra denied any involvement, his rumored association with the mob never abated.

9. He was a close friend of President John F. Kennedy.

Sinatra had helped campaign for Kennedy during his presidential run. A version of Sinatra’s song “High Hopes” was used as Kennedy’s campiagn song. However, the friends had a falling out before Kennedy’s death due to Sinatra’s alleged mafia connections. When he learned of Kennedy’s assassination, Sinatra reportedly cried for days in his bedroom.

10. He was buried with mementos from family and friends.

10 Interesting Facts About Frank Sinatra

Sinatra’s grave / Wikimedia Commons

Sinatra died on May 14, 1998 at the age of 82. Over 400 mourners attended his funeral. Before he was buried, his family and friends placed several items into his coffin, including a small bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a pack of Camel cigarettes and a zippo lighter, and a dime.

Check out Frank Sinatra’s family tree on Geni!

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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