Without a doubt, Frank Sinatra was one of the most influential entertainment personas of the 20th century. His deep low voice as a crooner stole the hearts and souls of millions, his phenomenon acting performance got him an Academy Award, and he was the iconic member of the Rat pack.
“Every woman wanted to have him; every man wanted to be him!” But if you see through all the stardom and the glorification, you might be able to see a darker image. He is a character coming straight out of the pages of The Godfather!
You see, Sinatra didn’t join the mafia families later in life. It was destined since his birth as he was the godson of Genovese underboss Willie Moretti.
Sinatra was born in 1915 in a Genovese controlled turf in New Jersey. The head of the Genovese Mafia family was Vito Genovese. Yes, the legendary, infamous Vito Corleone was themed after him. During the early to mid-20th century, American societies were heavily influenced by the Italian mafia families. These families were so powerful that everyone looked at them with respect and fear.
In fact, Johnny Fontane, the adored godson of The Godfather, was a fictional portrayal of Frank Sinatra!
So, did Willie Moretti “made an offer that producers of Sinatra couldn’t refuse?” Yes! Tommy Dorsey let go of the Sinatra for only $1 at gunpoint!
The mafia family helped Sinatra in his early careers. By the 1940s, Sinatra rose to the highest peak of fame. The credit goes to his talent as well as his connections to the criminal world.
He fell under the FBI radar during the recruitment period of World War II. FBI believes that Sinatra bribed $40,000 to the medical officer to declare him unfit to join the war. Although, Sinatra publicly claimed that he was genuinely disappointed with the news, ”I am very unhappy about it. If I had been accepted, I would have preferred the Army or Marines.”
FBI also accused him of having a close connection to the Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana. The organization claims to have proofs of Sinatra and Giancana being “very close friends.”
Things get even darker as the FBI speculates Sinatra introduced Giancana to soon-to-be President John F. Kennedy! Giancana promised him the union votes in the 1960 presidential election. Later, Sinatra introduced Judith Campbell Exner to Kennedy. Exner was the girlfriend of Giancana. Exner acted as a communication bridge between Giancana and Kennedy.
Exner even testified before a Senate committee saying that Kennedy and Giancana curated a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro together.
This is not the whole story of Sinatra’s connection to the American mafia. He had many other mafioso friends. He received gifts Joseph and Charles Fischetti, the mob brothers from Chicago who ran illegal gambling operations and other racketeering.
He attended the wedding of the daughter of Angelo Bruno, another mafia family leader from Philadelphia. Some say that his appearance at the wedding ceremony inspired Mario Puzo to write Johnny Fontane’s appearance at the wedding of Constanzia “Connie” Corleone.
Despite knowing all these pieces of information, the FBI kept silent because of Sinatra’s stardom and social influence. Only after his death in 1998, the FBI disclosed all these files to the public eyes.