There’s an Unusual Crime Behind Frank Sinatra’s Famous Mugshot

Frank Sinatra is still synonymous with style and fame, even more than 20 years after his death. He was also one of the most successful crossover artists of all time. Not only did his music top charts, but his work in film earned him an Oscar. It seems like everything Sinatra touched became famous, including his mug shot. 

Frank Sinatra in a paneled mug shot (L) Sinatra facing front (R) Sinatra in profile
Frank Sinatra | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Frank Sinatra is one of the most successful artists of all time 

Sinatra rose to fame in the midst of World War II. According to Biography, he was deemed unfit to serve in the army because of an existing health problem, but staying behind ended up leading to fame for Sinatra. He thought that the war-torn country needed his voice to fill the void left by so many who were abroad fighting. As Sinatra said, “It was the war years, and there was a great loneliness. I was the boy in every corner drugstore who’d gone off, drafted to the war. That was all.”

After the war, Sinatra saw his fame fade, but not for long. His talent and adaptability would see him hitting the charts again, and winning an Academy Award for his work in From Here to Eternity. Sinatra won nine Grammys and ended his career with 31 total nominations. His last recognition by the awards show was in 1996, just two years before his death. But before fame, Sinatra had legal troubles. His mugshot has since been leaked to the public, and like everything Sinatra does, it became a huge hit. 

Fans can buy prints of Frank Sinatra’s mug shot 

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Sinatra may or may not have been distressed when he was arrested, but it doesn’t show in his mugshot. According to World History Project, he was just 23 when the picture was taken, and he looks good. It would be years before Sinatra would become famous, but he would probably be grateful for the arrest later in life when his legal history fed into his bad boy mystique. 

The mug shot is still popular today, and fans can buy a print for themselves. A full-size canvas print of Sinatra’s mug shot goes for anywhere between $13 to almost $200. But despite his arrest and mug shot being famous, Sinatra was hardly a criminal. All told, he spent less than 16 hours in jail, and his crime was hardly a crime at all. In fact, by today’s standards, he did nothing wrong. 

Frank Sinatra was arrested for something that’s no longer considered a crime

In 1938 Sinatra was arrested for Seduction, according to the New York Times. At the time, this was the charge given to a man when he slept with a woman using some kind of trickery, such as the false promise of marriage. Sinatra was arrested in November, in Bergen County, New Jersey. According to the official complaint, Sinatra promised a woman he would marry her, and then promptly had “sexual intercourse with the said complainant, who was then and there a single female of good repute.” The accuser was an ex-girlfriend of Sinatra’s, who was unhappy when their relationship ended. But not everything was as it seemed. 

The woman in question was not in fact “of good repute.” She was already married, which made the charges of Seduction null and void. But the state seemed determined to stick the young Sinatra with some sort of charge. When Seduction was out of the question, they charged him with Adultery. That charge was later dropped. All told, Sinatra spent less than a day in jail before paying a $500 bond on the Seduction charge, and never had to pay anything in regards to the Adultery. He was released and went on to change American history.