Barbara Sinatra, Frank Sinatra’s fourth wife and a prominent advocate and philanthropist who raised millions of dollars to help abused children, died on Tuesday at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 90.
Her death was announced by John E. Thoresen, director of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center.
With her husband’s help, Ms. Sinatra founded the center in 1986 as a nonprofit organization to provide therapy and other support to young victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
In the years since, Mr. Thoresen said, more than 20,000 children have been treated at the center, in Rancho Mirage, and hundreds of thousands more throughout the world through videos it provides.
Barbara Sinatra, a former model and Las Vegas showgirl, was born Barbara Blakeley on March 10, 1927, in Bosworth, Mo. She was a Palm Springs socialite before marrying Sinatra in 1976.
She met Sinatra through her husband at the time, Zeppo Marx, a former member of the Marx Brothers comedy team who had become a talent agent. Her marriage to Sinatra was her third, his fourth and the most enduring union for both. They remained married until his death in 1998.
The Sinatras played an active role in the children’s center. “Frank would come over and sit and read to the kids,” Mr. Thoresen said. “But the best way she used Frank was she would say, ‘I need a half-million dollars for this, so you do a concert and I get half the money.’ ”
Ms. Sinatra had remained active at the center until recently. She is survived by a son, Robert Oliver Marx, and a granddaughter.