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Natalina 'Dolly' Sinatra
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Celebrity's Relative
    (December 26, 1896-January 6, 1977)
    Born in Genoa, Italy
    Born Natalina Maria Vittoria Garaventa
    Mother of Frank Sinatra (1915-1998)
    Immigrated to the United States at two months old; later settled in Hoboken, New Jersey
    Married Antonino Martino 'Marty' Sinatra, in 1913
    Involved in local politics and Prohibition-era alcohol sales before her son's finding success as a singer
    Died while aboard the Gates Learjet 24 en route to her son's concert in Las Vegas, after the plane crashed into a 10,000-foot ridge in the San Gorgonio Wilderness (Jan. 6, 1977)
    Portrayed by Olympia Dukakis in the CBS miniseries 'Sinatra' (1992)
    She wanted a girl, so she dressed little Frank in pink baby clothes and later 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' outfits.
    She liked to sneak into Marty Sinatra's prizefights dressed as a cigar-smoking boy (she reportedly pushed him into eloping with her).
    She worked as a local midwife to support Frank as a boy, but it was a badly kept secret that she ran an illegal abortion service out of her home on the side.
    Her reputation as 'Hatpin Dolly' (don't ask) grew in the neighborhood to the point where at least one church barred her young son from singing within their walls.
    She was reportedly one of only two people whom Frank ever 'feared' (the other being bandleader Tommy Dorsey).
    She doted on and spoiled her son but the two just as often had a propensity for explosive arguments, usually at the drop of a hat.
    At times their arguments got physical; on one occasion she even attacked Frank with a baseball bat (on another, she knocked him unconscious by pushing him down a flight of stairs).
    She would spend most of her time gambling during her visits to her son in Vegas.
    Because she hated losing, her son would arrange for the slot machines to be rigged so that she 'kept winning.'
    She liked to joke to her son about possibly being half-Jewish because, as she said, 'I'm smart, [Genoa is] where they came from, where I came from!' (whether she was or wasn't remains unclear).
    Sinatra's biographers have pinned her as the cause of her son's various insecurities in life, especially concerning his wives and other romantic interests (wanting to both win their approval and control them at the same time).
    Before her son's stardom, she was the breadwinner of the family.
    She was a diehard suffragette who chained herself to Hoboken City Hall, in 1919.
    Her familiarity with various Italian dialects enabled her to serve as a translator for immigrants during court proceedings (such as citizenship hearings).
    Her bilingual skills, in addition to her strong-willed presence in the community, made her an invaluable asset to local politicians in the area, and she was quickly appointed Democratic ward leader.
    She thusly had the distinction of being the first immigrant woman to hold such a position (delivering as many as 600 votes to candidates).
    She operated a local tavern during the Prohibition, and remarkably was allowed to do so legally without ever being raided.
    The near-fatal roughness of her child labor on a table has become legendary, as did the bone deformity her son sustained on his neck from the forceps.
    Surprisingly, she was indifferent to Frank's sweet-tempered first wife Nancy, but loved the brash Ava Gardner who smoked and swore as much as she did.
    She was at first opposed to her son's pursuit of a singing career (preferring he go to college instead), but eventually became one of his strongest backers.
    After her husband died in 1969, she move to Palm Springs to be closer to her son, where she became involved in several local charities.
    Most famously, she was the driving force behind the building of the landmark Saint Louis Catholic Church in Cathedral City (which older parishioners still call 'the church that Dolly built').
    Appropriately, her all-star funeral service was held at the Church, with attendees numbering over 1,000 including James Stewart, Kirk Douglas Danny Thomas, and Gregory Peck.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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