Frank Sinatra - Impressive Facts You Didn't Know

Frank Sinatra – 26 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know

Francis Albert Sinatra was an American singer and actor. He was one of the most popular entertainers of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. During his career, he sold in excess of 150 million albums and appeared in more than 60 films.

If you are interested in Ol’ Blue Eyes, keep reading because we have found 26 impressive facts about Frank Sinatra you didn’t know.

He Nearly Died At Birth

When he was born, Frank had to be forcibly removed by his head using forceps. The hospital staff assumed he was dead and left the blue, still baby on the side while they attended to his mother. His grandmother picked the unbreathing baby up and put him under a cold water tap which caused him to breathe.

When He Was At School, His Nickname Was “Scarface”

Frank’s traumatic experience at birth left him with severe scarring to his left cheek, neck and ear and a childhood operation on his mastoid bone left further scarring. Added to this he suffered from cystic acne which scarred his neck and face even more. Once he became famous he wore makeup to disguise these defects.

His Parents Owned A Bar

During the 1920s at the time of the prohibition, Frank’s parents ran an illegal bar. Which is where Frank got his first taste of performing. He would sing on top of the piano for spare change from the bar’s customers.

His Mother Was A Midwife Who Performed Illegal Abortions

Frank’s mother, Natalina, worked as a midwife and earned $50 for each delivery. She was also very influential in the local Democrat party as well as also operating an illegal abortion service for young Italian catholic girls, which earned her the nickname of “Hatpin Dolly”.

His Father Was A Fireman

Frank’s father, Antonino Martino Sinatra was a bantamweight boxer. After that he was a fireman at the Hoboken Fire Department for 24 years where he worked his way up to become Captain.

He Was Followed By Screaming Fans

Frank was one of the first teen idols, the screaming female fans were an unusual sight back in the early days of Frank’s career and even came as a shock to him. At one point he said, “The sound that greeted me was deafening. I was scared stiff. I couldn’t move a muscle”.

Not All Of His Screaming Fans Were Genuine

While it became commonplace to see hundreds of screaming female fans at Frank’s shows, they weren’t all genuine. His publicist, George Evans used to pay young girls to scream at his shows to encourage genuine fans to join in and increase the hype around Frank.

George used to audition girls to find the ones that could scream the loudest and then place them at various points in the crowd to increase excitement during his shows. The successful girls were paid $5 for each performance.

The FBI Had A 2,000 Document File On Him

There were a number of reasons why J. Edgar Hoover started investigating Frank. It apparently started when a concerned citizen implied it would be easy for someone in Frank’s position to create a Hitler-like person in “America through the influence of mass hysteria”.

Then there were the claims that Frank had paid doctors $40,000 to declare him unfit for war duty.

As well as the fact that Frank was under suspicion for having mafia connections. The FBI followed him for 50 years and had a 2,000 document file on Frank. He always claimed he was innocent of any mafia involvement.

He Was Friends With President Kennedy

Frank was a close friend to President JFK with Frank even helping him with his Presidential campaign. Frank sang an altered version of one of his songs “High Hopes” as a campaign song.

Because Frank was alleged to have had mafia connections, their friendship petered out, but when Frank heard about JFK’s assassination he stayed in his bedroom crying for several days.

He Hated Two Of His Most Famous Songs

Frank had many hits over the years but it was revealed by his fourth wife, Barbara that Frank hated two of his biggest hits. He apparently said that “My Way” did absolutely nothing for him, and “Strangers In The Night” was a “piece of s+#t” and the “worst fu#!ing song I’ve ever heard”.

Many Filipinos Refuse To Sing “My Way”

According to Esquire magazine[1] at least 12 people were killed in connection to singing Frank’s hit song “My Way” in the decade 2002 to 2012. The actual reasons for the so-called “My Way killings” remains subject to conjecture ranging from singing out of tune, to singing in the wrong sort of Videoke (karaoke) bars where a mixture of alcohol and aggression create an atmosphere of violence.

Whatever the reason, many residents of the Philippines refuse to sing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” at karaoke bars. In fact since 2007 in the Philippines, many bars have removed the song from their karaoke playlists.

He Was The Leader Of “The Rat Pack”

The “Rat Pack” as they became known in the media, were a group of Hollywood rebels. Originally started and led by Humphrey Bogart, the “Rat Pack” was eventually led by Frank when Bogart died. In fact Bogart picked Sinatra out to succeed him as leader. 

Other members were Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. During the filming of “Ocean’s Eleven” in 1959 the “Rat Pack” (or as they called themselves “The Clan” or “The Summit”), ruled the Las Vegas scene. They performed on stage at night and worked on the movie during the day.

He Had Shares In A Las Vegas Casino

Frank wasn’t only a successful singer and actor, he was also an astute businessman. In the 60s he owned his own record label, Reprise, and he also had a 9% share in The Sands Casino in Las Vegas. 

He recruited his friends and fellow “Rat Pack” members to perform at the casino while filming Ocean’s Eleven. Their live shows proved so popular that they were sellouts every night which put even more money into Sinatra’s business.

He Suffered From Depression

Frank’s often stormy relationship with Ava Gardner during their marriage led him to become severely depressed. On at least two occasions he attempted to take his own life.

He Also Suffered From Stage Fright

In a 1988 interview with Larry King[2] Frank said that he never got over his stage fright. He said “ The first 4 or 5 seconds I tremble every time I walk onto the stage”. 

He Carried A Roll Of Coins Around With Him

After his son Frank Jr. got kidnapped, the kidnapper demanded that Frank only call him from untraceable pay phones. From that time onwards he always carried a roll of dimes around with him. It is even rumoured that he was buried with a roll of dimes in his pocket.

He Was Inspired By Bing Crosby

When he was growing up, Frank decided to become a singer after watching Bing Crosby perform in the 1930s.

He Had A Short Fuse

Frank had a quick temper, he was reported to have thrown a glass pitcher at his drummer Buddy Rich. He also punched a reporter and threw tomato ketchup at a waiter in a restaurant. 

We Only Have Scooby-Doo Because Of Frank

Frank’s song “Strangers In The Night” inspired animator Iwao Takamoto to create the famous cartoon dog. In the song Frank sings the words “Doobie doobie doo” (time mark 2:19 in the above version) which is where Iwao Takamoto got the idea for the name of his character, Scooby-Doo.

He Took His PA System Everywhere

When he was first starting out as a singer, Frank used to take his PA system with him everywhere he went.

He Started Out As A Newspaper Delivery Boy

His mother got him a job as a delivery boy at the Jersey Observer newspaper where his godfather Frank Garrick worked when he was a young man. 

He then worked as a riveter at the Tietjen and Lang shipyard. He then went on to perform at local social clubs in Hoboken.

He Played The Ukulele

His uncle Domenico gave him a ukulele for his 15th birthday. He used to play it to accompany himself at family gatherings.

He Sang For Free On Radio Stations

In the early days, Frank sang on several radio stations including WAAT in Jersey City for free. He then moved to New York singing for food or cigarettes.

He Couldn’t Read Music

Frank was one of the greatest and most successful singers of all time and has said he felt most comfortable singing with an orchestra behind him, but he couldn’t read music at all.

Frank could hear music and he knew instinctively when to sing and when not to sing.

He Had His Own Range Of Spaghetti Sauces

Frank published the recipe for his mother’s tomato sauce in a cookbook and even launched his jars of sauce in the 1980s. The range was called “Artanis” (which is Sinatra spelled backwards)  and according to the Los Angeles Times[3] when Nancy Sinatra complained that she hadn’t had any of her dad’s sauce “in a long time” her sister Tina said “now you’ll be able to go into a local supermarket and buy it”.

He Has An Asteroid Named After Him

An Asteroid discovered by E. W. Elst at the European Southern Observatory on September 26th 1989 is called 7934 Sinatra. It orbits the sun mainly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Do You Know Any More?

We have found 26 impressive facts about Frank Sinatra, do you know any more? We’d Love to hear them, please let us know in the comments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where was Frank Sinatra born?

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA.

What Instrument did a teenage Frank Sinatra used to play to accompany his singing at family gatherings?

When he was a teenager, Frank Sinatra used to play the ukulele to accompany his singing at family gatherings.

Which cartoon character was inspired by one of Frank Sinatra’s songs?

The animator Iwao Takamoto was inspired by the words from Frank Sinatra’s song “Strangers In The Night”. Where Frank sings “Doobie, Doobie Doo”, the animator came up with Scooby-Doo.

Which Frank Sinatra song contains the lines “The moment that you speak, I want to go play hide and seek”?

The Frank Sinatra song that contains the lines “The moment that you speak, I want to go play hide and seek” is “You Make Me Feel So Young”.The Frank Sinatra song that contains the lines “The moment that you speak, I want to go play hide and seek” is “You Make Me Feel So Young”.

Did Frank Sinatra used to sing for his supper?

In the early days, Frank Sinatra used to sing for food or cigarettes.

Who Inspired Frank Sinatra to become a singer when he was a youngster?

The singer that inspired Frank Sinatra to become a singer himself was Bing Crosby.

What was the name of the band leader who signed Frank Sinatra in 1939?

The name of the band leader who signed Frank Sinatra in 1939 was Harry James. He was signed for a two year contract for a fee of $75 per week.

Which Frank Sinatra song contains the lines “Fill my heart with song, let me sing forevermore”?

The Frank Sinatra song that contains the lines “Fill my heart with song, let me sing forevermore” is “Fly Me To The Moon”.

Which US President did Frank Sinatra help on his election campaign?

The US President that Frank Sinatra helped on his election campaign was John F. Kennedy.

Which Frank Sinatra song was removed from karaoke playlists in the Philippines?

The Frank Sinatra song that was removed from karaoke playlists in the Philippines was “My Way” after the so-called “My Way killings”.

What did the press call the group of Hollywood rebels that Frank Sinatra was the leader of?

The name the press used to call the group of Hollywood rebels that Frank Sinatra was the leader of was The Rat Pack.

Did Frank Sinatra have his own range of gravy mixes?

Frank Sinatra never had a range of gravy mixes, but he did have his own range of pasta sauces called Artanis.

What was Frank Sinatra’s middle name?

Frank Sinatra’s middle name was Albert.

Which song did Frank Sinatra alter to help with JFK’s election campaign?

The song that Frank Sinatra altered to help with JFK’s election campaign was “High Hopes”.

How many times was Frank Sinatra married?

Frank Sinatra was married four times. His wives were Nancy Barbato, Ava Gardner, Mia Farrow and Barbara Marx.

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