Frank Sinatra Jr., a singer and actor whose long career both interacted with, and extended past, the legacy of his famous father, has died of a heart attack while on tour. Sinatra was 72.
The son of one of the world’s most famous performers, Sinatra first came to national prominence as the victim of a crime; in 1963, a 19-year-old Frank Jr. was kidnapped from his Lake Tahoe hotel room by three men and held ransom. His father ultimately paid $240,000 to recover his son, although the kidnappers were eventually brought to justice.
Even before his kidnapping, though, Sinatra had begun his long career as a singer and bandleader, serving as the vocalist for Sam Donahue’s band and receiving mentorship from jazz legend Duke Ellington. He also followed his father into the wider Hollywood world, often alongside Rat Pack members such as Sammy Davis Jr., or appearing alongside his sister Nancy, as on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late ’60s.
Sinatra toured, recorded, and acted throughout the ’70s and ’80s, before eventually returning to his aging father’s side to serve as his conductor and bandleader for a late-’80s career resurgence. After the elder Sinatra’s death in 1998, Frank Jr. continued to perform and appear periodically on the pop culture landscape; in the 2000s, he showed up both on The Sopranos, in a winking nod to his father’s supposed connections to organized crime, and on Family Guy, where his big band credentials merged well with creator Seth MacFarlane’s own musical taste.
Sinatra was in Dayton Beacha, Florida, preparing his live storytelling and music show Sinatra Sings Sinatra, when he died. Nancy Sinatra broke the news on her Facebook page, writing, “The Sinatra family mourn the untimely passing of their son, brother, father, uncle, Frank Sinatra, Jr. of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona, Florida. Sleep warm, Frankie…”