'That's life': Frank Sinatra's mugshot for seduction continues to live on with his music

Source: Bergen County Sheriff's Office; MEGA

Nov. 10 2021, Published 3:36 p.m. ET

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He was known as one of the greatest crooners of all-time. Frank Sinatra is known by many for his ballad and hit songs. But his career almost ended before it started when Sinatra was arrestrf for a crime that in 1938 was common, today seems a bit silly.


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In 1938, Sinatra — before he ever hit it big — was arrested in Bergen County, New Jersey on a charge of seduction and adultery. Sinatra’s mugshot from the arrest has continued to live on, as much as his music has.

In the 1930s, a woman who had sex under the promise of marriage could make the allegations when the man did not follow through, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

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Della Pentra Francke filed the charge against Sinatra, but it was later dismissed when it was discovered she was married, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

While some painted the relationship as a one-night stand, Francke’s family said that was not the case. They told the Press of Atlantic City that Francke was separated from her first husband. She was also impregnated by Sinatra but had a miscarriage.


“The reason she pressed charges was that she found out that Sinatra was dating Nancy Barbato, who he later married,” said Patrick Francke, according to The Press of Atlantic City. “It turns out Sinatra was dating Nancy Barbato for a while, and my grandmother didn’t know. She felt humiliated and filed the charges.”

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“The real story is that Frank loved our grandmother dearly, and she loved him,” said Armond Francke, the press of Atlantic City reported. “They probably would have even married if it wasn’t for the fact that Sinatra’s mother didn’t like my grandmother. We don’t want anything from anyone except to bring the dignity and respect our grandmother deserves.”

Sinatra, of course, would go on to music fame and spent decades preforming and touring. His hits included “Come Fly With Me,” “New York, New York” and “That’s Life.”

Francke died in 1986 and Sinatra died in 1998— but his mugshot from their arrest continues to live on.


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