Early yearsBarbara Blakeley was born October 16, 1926 in Bosworth, Missouri in 1926 to Charles W. Blakeley and the former Irene Prunty Toppass (died 1993, California); she was raised in Wichita, Kansas.
MarriagesShe first married Robert Harrison Oliver, an executive with the Miss Universe pageant, in the mid- to late-1940s, a marriage which produced a son, Robert "Bobby" Oliver, but ended in divorce. Blakeley became a Las Vegas showgirl in the 1950s, modeling clothing for Mr. Blackwell. She met Zeppo Marx in Las Vegas, and the two eventually married.
Her son Bobby assumed the family name of his stepfather when Zeppo and Barbara married on September 18, 1959. It had been assumed that Bobby Marx had been legally adopted by Marx. Tina Sinatra has claimed that, according to Robert Harrison Oliver, no such adoption took place. Barbara and Zeppo divorced in 1973. Later, after marrying Frank Sinatra, Barbara would try to get Frank to legally adopt Bobby Marx when Marx was a grown man; Sinatra's children intervened to prevent it.
In the early 1970s she started seeing Frank Sinatra, as a friend at first and later as a lover. The two were married from July 11, 1976 until his death on May 14, 1998. It was Sinatra's fourth and final marriage, and the longest-lasting one, despite Barbara's cool relations with the children from his first marriage. She converted to Roman Catholicism at Sinatra's request.
LegacyFrank and Barbara Sinatra founded the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center in Rancho Mirage, California in 1986. The center is next door to the Betty Ford Center on the campus of the Eisenhower Medical Center. The not-for-profit facility provides individual and group therapy for young victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
MiscellaneousAuthor of "Lady Blue Eyes: My Life With Frank" (Crown Archetype), released May 31, 2011
Melanie Griffith played Barbara in The Night We Called It a Day, a film about Frank Sinatra.