Nancy Sinatra Sr, the childhood sweetheart of Frank Sinatra, who became the first of his four wives and the mother of his three children, has died. She was 101.
Her daughter, Nancy Sinatra Jr, Tweeted that her mother died Friday and a post on her website said she died at 18:02. but did not indicate where she died.
"She was a blessing and the light of my life," said her daughter.
My mother died peacefully tonight at the age of 101. It was a blessing and the light of my life. Godspeed, mom. Thank you for everything. 😢💙
July 14, 2018
Attempts to reach representatives for Sinatra Jr late Friday were unsuccessful.
Nancy and Frank Sinatra met as teenagers and married on February 4, 1939, in the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Jersey City, New Jersey, just as Frank's singing career began. Three years before he married former Nancy Barbato, he had landed a 15-minute radio broadcast on the local station WAAT.
During the early years of the marriage, the Sinatra lived in a modest apartment in Jersey City, where their two eldest children were born. For a while she worked as a secretary while her husband worked as a singing waiter.
After Sinatra became a pop music sensation in the 1940s, the couple moved to Los Angeles, where the singer was also to become a movie star, raconteur, man about the city and notorious womanizer.
The latter performance led Sinatra to leave after a public affair with actress Ava Gardner became known. Weeks after the couple's divorce in 1951, Sinatra's ex-husband married Gardner while Sinatra wound up the couple's three children: Nancy, Frank Jr., and Tina.
Nancy Sinatra Sr. 1950. Photo: Harold Filan / AP
After the gossip about Gardner's marriage and Gardner's marriage subsided, Nancy Sinatra dedicated herself to the family and numerous celebrity friends, who largely withdrew from the limelight. She not only survived her husband, who died in 1998, but also her son, who passed away in 2016.
She is mentioned under the name Nancy Barbato in the Internet Movie Database with only two television and film appearances, in the concert film of her daughter Nancy from 1975, Nancy and Lee in Las Vegas, and 1974 on the talk show of her friend Dinah Shore.
In later years she would become known as Nancy Sr, especially after daughter Nancy herself became a 60s vocal star with These Boots being for walking and other hit songs.
She also remained friendly with her ex-husband, who allegedly made requests for pasta and other Italian dishes over the years, which she knew to be an expert in the preparation. She never remarried.
"There is no bitterness, just great respect and affection between Sinatra and his first wife," wrote Gay Talese in 1966. "And he had long been welcome in their home, and was even known to infiltrate into strange hours and fuel the fire on the sofa and fall asleep.