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Frank Sinatra Jr., who followed in his father’s footsteps with a singing career but never had a hit of his own, died in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Wednesday. He was 72.
His older sister Nancy Sinatra wrote on Facebook that he had died of cardiac arrest.
Mr. Sinatra was on tour when he died. He had been scheduled to perform Wednesday night at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach; his show, “Sinatra Sings Sinatra,” featured his renditions of his father’s famous songs, with orchestral accompaniment, stories and videos.
From the start, his career echoed his father’s. At 19, he was singing with the Tommy Dorsey band, a version of the ensemble the elder Sinatra had sung with more than two decades before. “Young Mr. Sinatra has taken careful note of every aspect of his father’s singing,” The New York Times wrote in 1963. “He knows — and projects — the inflections, the shading, the phrasing that his father used.”
Later that year, he was kidnapped at gunpoint from a casino in Nevada. He was freed, unharmed, a little more than two days later, after his father paid $240,000 in ransom.
Three men, Barry Worthington Keenan, Joseph Clyde Amsler and John William Irwin, were convicted of the kidnapping, despite defense lawyers’ claim that it had been a publicity stunt. “The criminals invented a story that the whole thing was phony,” Mr. Sinatra said in an interview with The Guardian in 2012. “That was the stigma put on me.”
Unlike Nancy Sinatra, Mr. Sinatra never had a hit, but he continued to perform in Las Vegas and elsewhere, releasing a handful of albums and making occasional television appearances. He appeared as himself in an episode of “Family Guy” in 2006; last year, he sang the national anthem at Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers games.
In the late 1980s, he began touring with his father as the elder Sinatra’s conductor and musical director. He had seen little of his father while growing up, and he said the role allowed them to form a bond, if only in his father’s last years (Frank Sinatra died in 1998). “When I came on board, Sinatra was already 72,” he told The Guardian. “He was slowing down.”
Franklin Wayne Sinatra was born on Jan. 10, 1944, to Frank Sinatra and his first wife, Nancy Barbato Sinatra. (The “Jr.” was part of a stage name; his father was Francis Albert Sinatra.) He was the second of three children born to the couple; they divorced in 1951 and Sr. married Ava Gardner.
Mr. Sinatra, who was married for two years in the late 1990s, is survived by a son, Michael, according to The Associated Press. His mother and his sisters, Nancy Sinatra and Tina Sinatra, also survive him.
In an interview with the Daytona Beach News-Journal shortly before his death, Mr. Sinatra said he was not bitter about not having repeated his father’s success.
“I think in my generation, when I came along in the early ’60s, the type of music that was in vogue in society in those days had moved on to another kind of music,” he said. “I was trying to sell antiques in a modern appliance store.”