IN his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in this world, David Ellis asks do you know who is the person in this police mug shot taken at the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office in New Jersey in November of 1938?Here’s a clue: he is 23 years of age at the time, an aspiring Hollywood actor, and has just been charged with the heinous crime under then New Jersey law “that on November 27 1938 under the promise of marriage, he did then and thereseduce a single woman of then and there good repute.”
However when it was discovered that the “single woman of then and there good repute” was in fact married, the charge was dropped and replaced with one of adultery (also an indictable offence in New Jersey in 1938)… but that too was dropped after the young actor had spent several days in jail.
And that young actor’s name was Frank Sinatra, at the time engaged to Nancy Barbato who had been attacked in a nightclub by the woman with whom Sinatra was charged with being adulterous – that woman apparently furious that the man who had “promised her marriage” was in fact already engaged (even though she herself was married,) and going to the nightclub to confront Nancy.
Nancy, however, appeared little concerned about her fiancé’s fling, and went on to marry him the following year; they divorced in 1951 as a result of Sinatra’s numerous affairs, he re-marrying three more times before dying in 1998 aged 82, while Nancy never remarried – and is still alive today aged 98.
NOT the publicity shot this rising young Hollywood star was hoping for back in 1938.