The Bizarre Story Behind Frank Sinatra’s Mugshot

BERGEN COUNTY, NJ - 1938: Pop singer Frank Sinatra poses for a mug shot after being arrested and charged with
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Frank Sinatra was a hugely popular singer and actor and is among one of the world’s best-selling artists. Did you know that Ol’ Blue Eyes spent some time in jail? Just like anything Sinatra did, even his mugshot became famous. The crime? Seduction. Let me explain.

The year was 1938, years before Sinatra would go on to star in his first movie or release his first single. He was just 23 years old and by today’s standards, it is shocking that he spent any time in jail for his “crime,” even though it was less than 16 hours.

circa 1940: A young Frank Sinatra making a telephone call on the set of the film 'Step Lively'

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During that time period, a person could be arrested for Seduction, which was a charge usually given to a man who slept with a woman based on false promises or using some kind of lie. For instance, a man could be arrested after sleeping with a woman after a false promise of marriage. Reportedly, Sinatra’s ex-girlfriend was his accuser, saying that he promised her marriage and then broke up with her.

27th May 1949: A formal portrait of American crooner and actor Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998)

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However, it turns out that she was actually already married which canceled out the charges of Seduction. Even so, the state of New Jersey arrested Sinatra and charged him with Adultery after learning that they couldn’t nab him with Seduction. The charge was later dropped after he paid a $500 bond.

American singer and actor Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998) and his first wife Nancy Barbatto at a restaurant, c. 1946

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Sinatra moved on pretty quickly from the crazy incident and married his first wife Nancy just about a year later. They had three children together before splitting up in 1951. He married three more times, to Ava Gardner, Mia Farrow, and finally Barbara Marx. He stayed with Marx until his death in 1998.

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