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OUTTAKES

The $50,000 Misunderstanding

March 09, 1986|John M. Wilson

To some, a picture's worth a thousand words. But to Nancy Sinatra Lambert, a shot of her pop comes to only $150, plus an autographed copy of her biography, "Frank Sinatra, My Father" (Doubleday: $50).

That's what Nancy offered to pay Life Picture Service agency for each photo' of Ol' Blue Eyes she used in her tome-- after it was published last October.

Problem is, according to some photographers, her offer is too little too late. Leigh Wiener, who said he originally asked for $750 for a shot of the elder Sinatra with Robert Kennedy (see adjoining), told Outtakes that Nancy "knew what it was going to cost and went ahead and published" the book. Referring to her attempt to renegotiate, Wiener said it was "laughable that a Sinatra would do this."

According to a letter Nancy sent to the photo agency, when she originally negotiated for rights to the photographs, she "had no idea just how expensive they would be . . . almost $50,000 for photos alone. . . . This is not a profitable venture for me, but rather a labor of love."

She claimed that 15 of the 50 photographers had asked "inequitable" fees. So she offered a flat $150 plus a signed book, which she valued at $250. (She had intended to have her father sign the books with her, said a source close to her, but Frank declined.)

An attorney for Nancy implied that the scope of the book had gone well beyond what was originally planned. He said the offer was "a request based on 20/20 hindsight--nobody's trying to take advantage of anyone."

Wiener was less conciliatory: "Her book cost $50--and we're supposed to (contribute photographs) for love? This is how we make our livings."

The photographers apparently will be paid In full aftEr aLl. Doubleday has reportedly stepped in to cover the fees--out of Nancy's royalties.

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