John Stamos Reveals His Surprising Connection To Frank Sinatra Jr. Kidnapping

John Stamos of “E.R.” and “Full House” fame has been a huge Frank Sinatra fan all his life. That’s why he jumped at the chance to work on a project about the 1963 kidnapping of the singer’s son Frank Sinatra Jr. 

Stamos Talks Sinatra Jr. Kidnapping 

“Thirty years ago, I think it was, I was at the Orange County [California] Fair with [musicians] Jan and Dean, who I had a relationship with through the Beach Boys, and Dean [Torrence] turned to me and said, ‘Stamos, do you produce? Do you know how to get something made?’ I was like, ‘Yeah!'” Stamos recalled to Yahoo News.

“And I didn’t,” he added. “And he said, ‘Well, I got this story. My best friend kidnapped Frank Sinatra Jr. and I have the manuscript that he wrote in prison, and I have the rights to it. Let’s try to do something with it.”

Stamos spent decades trying to find the right way to make this project happen.

Finally, he landed on doing a 10-part podcast about it called “The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra,” which tells the story from kidnapper Barry Keenan’s perspective.

Check out this news clip about the podcast:

The Story Behind The Kidnapping

Two weeks after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jr., Barry Keenan and some others kidnaped 19-year-old Sinatra Jr. from a Lake Tahoe venue where he was performing.

They held him for a ransom of $240,000, which is the exact sum Keenan needed to pay off his debts. They even rejected a $1 million offer from Sinatra.

They finally let Sinatra Jr. go after 54 hours, and he thankfully was not hurt in any way.

Keenan and the other kidnappers were arrested days later and sentenced to life in prison.

However, Keenan would get out just four years later after he was found to have been legally insane at the time of the kidnapping. 

Related: New Book Reveals Why Frank Sinatra Believed Marilyn Monroe Was Murdered

Stamos Is Very Excited

Stamos couldn’t wait to get started on this podcast.

“The truth is, especially doing this podcast, because now I have time to really explore his whole life, I mean, we’re talking about a mentally ill man, you know, who was addicted to pills and booze and had a very dark, troubled childhood of religion and mental illness that got swept under the carpet because that’s what they did in the ’40s and ’50s.

You know, he started hearing voices and he told his aunt, who was Catholic — she wasn’t a nun but she was really involved in the Catholic Church — and she said, ‘Don’t tell anybody.’ Assimilate. Assimilate. And he spent his whole life not being who he was. And he ran into a lot of hard knocks, and he’s always looking for a shortcut. He wanted a seat at the table, and he was gonna do everything he could to get it.”

Stamos has even grown close to Barry Keenan after spending so many hours interviewing him.

“He’s like a grandpa to me or something. We’ve been on this journey for a couple years now, and we’ve had ups and downs with it. I’m not gonna lie,” Stamos said. “You know, I had a big sale on this [lined up], and Barry being Barry, he effed it up. And I said, ‘That’s it, I’m done.'”

Stamos isn’t the only one excited about the podcast:

Related: Feminists Will Hate This Tonight Show Appearance of Sinatra and Don Rickles!

Keenan Wants To Tell His Story

Of course, Stamos went back to the project. Keenan wants his story to be heard to make sure people know that neither Frank Sr. or Jr. were in on the kidnapping.

“He’s done a lot of healing,” Stamos said. “He’s done a lot of work in prison reform with prisoners. He’s done a lot of work in the substance abuse area. He’s an [Alcoholics Anonymous] guy, has helped a lot of people, so I think he’s tried to redeem himself.”

“He’s always, through the podcast, he’s talking about the state of grace,” the star continued. “He’s always trying to reach the state of grace, and I said at the end, ‘Have you reached your state of grace, Barry?’ He said, ‘Yeah, but I’m still, I’m a work in progress.'”

The first two episodes of the podcast dropped this morning, and they can be found here. We can’t wait for the many twists and turns that this podcast is sure to take! 

James Conrad

James Conrad’s passion for politics is only overshadowed by his longstanding interest in Hollywood. His unique perspective as a gay conservative fuels him to challenge celebrity views and those who think they have a right to tell anyone how to think or vote. James proudly wields his minority point of view to combat identity politics and cut through his typecast. Fun fact: James’ guilty pleasure is the British royal family.

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