Sinatra’s Son Sues to Stop Movie Deal for Kidnappers

Frank Sinatra Jr. has filed a lawsuit to stop the men who kidnapped him 34 years ago from collecting a portion of a reported $1.5 million for movie rights to the story of his ordeal, his lawyer said Monday.

Sinatra alleged in the lawsuit, filed last week in Santa Monica, that the kidnappers signed a movie deal with Columbia Pictures, along with New Times writer Peter Gilstrap, according to Sinatra’s Palms Springs attorney, James H. Walsworth.

Walsworth said he also intends to file a temporary restraining order this week to prevent any of the movie funds from being disbursed and eventually spent by the kidnappers and Gilstrap.

In his lawsuit, Sinatra contends that a 1986 state law prevents felons from profiting from their criminal activity.


Sinatra, 54, was kidnapped from his hotel room at Harrah’s Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nev., on Dec. 8, 1963, by Barry Keenan, Joseph Amsler and John Irwin. They then drove him to a hideaway in Los Angeles County.

They picked up $240,000 in ransom from Frank Sinatra Sr. before his release. But they were soon captured and convicted.