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This whitewash won't cover...
on June 21, 2011
...Barbara's sins. Having read George Jacobs' book about his boss a number of years ago, I hadn't thought about "Old Blue eyes" for a while. I remember that Jacobs was not complimentary about the last Mrs Sinatra. Before I bought this book, I read the reviews in which one mentioned Tina Sinatra's book and it's accusations against Frank's final wife. Of course I had to buy both books to take on vacation with me. I read Barbara's book first to see if I could spot where the accusations in Tina's book would appear. Barbara Sinatra is so transparent that I could spot almost every one of her misdeeds against Frank and his children. This despite the fact that Barbara never mentions Frank's two daughters at all and mentions Frank Jr only a couple of times in passing.
Barbara basically admits each and every allegation Tina makes by addressing them as incidents in which others are the primary movers and shakers, and in which she plays a passive role. For example, Tina states that Barbara tried to get Frank to legally adopt Barbara's 25 year old son in order to make him Frank's legal heir. Barbara claims that it was Sinatra's idea to adopt a 25 year old man because he didn't have a father. Huh? The problem is that Barbara, by her own admission and Tina's account, tried to pull the same scheme on her second husband, Zeppo Marx, who she admits, didn't really like her son, and whose father would not allow such an adoption. Tina explains that the adoption was absolutely going to take place until her mother, Frank's first wife and the mother of his three children, asked him to halt the proceedings as he was making his first family extremely unhappy.
Barbara completely glosses over the fact that she manipulated Sinatra into having his first marriage, a Catholic marriage recognized by the church, annulled! This after Sinatra had been married three times, and his children were well into their adult years. Tina explains that Barbara befriended a priest who saw donation dollar signs and found a "loophole" by which Sinatra could have his marriage to Nancy Sr erased. This was actually accomplished and the newly converted Catholic Barbara became the only Mrs Sinatra recognized by the church.
Of course to get to more of Frank's money, Barbara had to get rid of the prenup she signed. In her book she claims it was presented to her shortly before her wedding with no time to consult a lawyer (thereby making the contract unenforceable). Tina explains it was given to Barbara well in advance of the wedding with the advice to have a lawyer review it. Tina also details the fact that when Barbara was in charge of her husband's life, he was suffering from dementia for at least a good part of it thus making Sinatra easy prey for Barbara's schemes to increase her share of Sinatra's estate. Tina shares with the reader that someone once described Barbara as Anne Baxter's character in "All About Eve," and I have to say that about sums up her modus operandi throughout her life. By her own account, Barbara used her first husband to catapult herself out from under her mother's thumb; she used Zeppo Marx to catapult herself out of working as a Vegas showgirl, and also someone who "dressed up" gambling rooms after her shows (I read that as a gambling shill) learning to hide gambling chips to increase her show girl income; and she used Sinatra to get away from Zeppo, who though wealthy, wasn't generous with her in terms of letting her spend whatever she wanted.
Although reading both books the way I did was highly entertaining while sitting on the beach, I am sure Sinatra's first family didn't find their experiences in dealing with Barbara enjoyable at all. If Barbara Sinatra thought she would take control of the story of her life with "Old Blue Eyes," it didn't work. Her naked greed and cunning shine through both accounts in my opinion. Don't read this account without reading Tina's book as well or you won't get the whole story.