Nancy Barbato Sinatra, an Idol’s First Wife and Lasting Confidante, Dies at 101

What was perhaps less widely known was the fact of Sinatra’s continuing visits; his long, confiding late-night phone calls; and the convivial family dinners on birthdays, holidays and many other occasions.

The routine continued through the dissolution of his marriage to Gardner; his career reversals; the kidnapping and eventual safe return, in 1963, of 19-year-old Frank Jr.; the elder Sinatra’s highly public engagements — both highly publicly broken — to Lauren Bacall and Juliet Prowse; his third marriage, in 1966, to Mia Farrow, 30 years his junior, and its swift demise; and his fourth, in 1976, to Barbara Marx, who survived him.

“Throughout the many years after they split, my grandfather came to visit whenever his crazy life would allow it,” Mrs. Sinatra’s granddaughter A.J. Lambert wrote in a 2015 remembrance in Vanity Fair. “I can remember times when she would be on the phone with her ex-husband, and the next thing I knew some eggplant was coming out of the freezer to thaw so that she could make him some sandwiches when he showed up.”

One of eight children of Michaelangelo Barbato and the former Jennie Fogacci, Nancy Rose Barbato was born on March 25, 1917, and went on to graduate from William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City.

In 1934, when she was 17 and he 19, she met Sinatra in Long Branch, on the Jersey Shore, where both families summered. Early in their marriage, the couple lived in Jersey City; they later moved to Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.

Mrs. Sinatra was a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, Calif. Survivors include her daughters Nancy and Tina. Information on other survivors was not immediately available. Her son, Frank Sinatra Jr., died in 2016, at 72, while on tour in Florida.

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In the years after her marriage ended, Mrs. Sinatra reared her children; took classes at the University of California, Los Angeles; quietly entertained old Hollywood friends; and did charitable work.


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