Barbara Sinatra, former model, humanitarian, and spouse of the late music legend Frank Sinatra, died Tuesday at age 90.
Sinatra died comfortably of natural causes, surrounded by family and friends at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, a family spokesman said. She is survived by her son Robert Oliver Marx, daughter-in-law Hillary Roberts, and granddaughter Carina Blakeley Marx.
Born Barbara Blakeley in Bosworth, Missouri, Sinatra began her modeling career as a teenager after moving to Long Beach, California with her family in the 1950s, later meeting and marrying Ol’ Blue Eyes at a private ceremony in Rancho Mirage in 1976. She was the icon’s fourth and final wife. At the time of his death from a heart attack in 1998, the couple had been married for 22 years — making their marriage his longest.
In addition to her early modeling career, Sinatra was as an activist on behalf of abused children, working with her husband to raise money to found a facility to provide counseling and other services to youths suffering from physical, sexual, and emotional trauma. She went on to open Rancho Mirage’s Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center in 1985, ultimately aiding over 20,000 child victims under the age of 18, all of whom received “beneficial therapy… making it possible for them to cope with traumas associated with abuse,” according to a statement.
Across her work as the center’s chairwoman of the Board of Directors and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Princess Grace Foundation, Sinatra traveled the world as a keynote speaker, addressing crowds on issues pertaining to the cause in the U.K, Australia, Canada, Italy, and domestically. The center additionally produced animated videos in its educational The Protect Yourself Rules series, the distribution of which has reached over 700,000 children in grades K-6 since 2016.
Previously, Sinatra co-wrote a memoir, Lady Blue Eyes… My Life with Frank, with Wendy Holden, exploring her early life, her time with her husband, and her philanthropic pursuits.
Funeral plans will be announced at a future date. Sinatra’s family asks that memorial gifts be directed to the Barbra Sinatra Center for Abused Children at 39000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, California 92270.
SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly, Joey Nolfi