During childbirth Sinatra nearly died. He weighed more than 13 pounds and his skin was blue because he was unable to breathe on his own after the doctor severed the umbilical cord prematurely. The delivery caused his mother to pass out from the pain and stress of the procedure, and Frank was initially believed to have suffocated during birth. It was his grandmother, a midwife, who submerged the newborn Sinatra in a tub of ice water to force his lungs to contract and gasp for his first breath. He suffered multiple injuries, including a perforated eardrum and lacerations to his face and neck as a result of the delivery room doctor's use of forceps during the procedure. The injuries he suffered at birth later prevented him from serving in WWII. He was rejected with a 4F classification due to his perforated ear, mastoiditis, and an anxious demeanor.
Frank was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian parents. His father, Anthony, was a boxer and later a fireman; his mother, Natalie (nicknamed Dolly), was an Italian immigrant from Genoa who worked in a chocolate shop.
His love of music and performing began in grade school and his primary musical influences at the time were Rudy Valee and Bing Crosby. During his teenage years he began singing with the Hoboken Four, and the group made an appearance on the talent show Major Bowes and His Amateur Hour in 1935. Shortly after his appearance on the TV talent show, he dropped out of high school to pursue a career in entertainment.
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