Sammy Davis Jr.

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Sammy Davis Jr._table_infobox_0

Sammy Davis Jr.Sammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_0_0
BornSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_1_0 Samuel George Davis Jr.

(1925-12-08)December 8, 1925 New York City, U.S.Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_1_1

DiedSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_2_0 May 16, 1990(1990-05-16) (aged 64)

Beverly Hills, California, U.S.Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_2_1

Resting placeSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_3_0 Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_3_1
OccupationSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_4_0 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_4_1
Years activeSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_5_0 1928–1990Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_5_1
Spouse(s)Sammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_6_0 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_6_1
ChildrenSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_7_0 4Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_7_1
Parent(s)Sammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_8_0 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_8_1
GenresSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_9_0 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_9_1
InstrumentsSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_10_0 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_10_1
Associated actsSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_11_0 Ray VasquezSammy Davis Jr._cell_0_11_1
WebsiteSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_0_12_0 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_0_12_1

Samuel George Davis Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) was an American singer, dancer, actor, vaudevillian and comedian who has been called "the greatest entertainer ever to grace a stage in these United States." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_0

At age three, Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father Sammy Davis Sr. and the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally, and his film career began in 1933. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_1

After military service, Davis returned to the trio and became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at Ciro's (in West Hollywood) after the 1951 Academy Awards. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_2

With the trio, he became a recording artist. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_3

In 1954, at the age of 29, he lost his left eye in a car accident. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_4

Several years later, he converted to Judaism, finding commonalities between the oppression experienced by African-American and Jewish communities. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_5

After a starring role on Broadway in Mr. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_6 Wonderful with Chita Rivera (1956), he returned to the stage in 1964 in a musical adaptation of Clifford Odets' Golden Boy opposite Paula Wayne. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_7

Davis was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance and the show was said to have featured the first interracial kiss on Broadway. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_8

In 1960, he appeared in the Rat Pack film Ocean's 11. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_9

In 1966, he had his own TV variety show, titled The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_10

While Davis's career slowed in the late 1960s, his biggest hit, "The Candy Man", reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1972, and he became a star in Las Vegas, earning him the nickname "Mister Show Business". Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_11

Davis had a complex relationship with the black community and drew criticism after publicly supporting President Richard Nixon in 1972. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_12

One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_13

"Handicap?" Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_14

he asked. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_15

"Talk about handicap. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_16

I'm a one-eyed Negro who's Jewish." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_17

This was to become a signature comment, recounted in his autobiography and in many articles. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_18

After reuniting with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally, before his death in 1990. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_19

He died in debt to the Internal Revenue Service, and his estate was the subject of legal battles after the death of his wife. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_20

Davis was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his television performances. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_21

He was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1987, and in 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_22

Early life Sammy Davis Jr._section_0

Davis was born on December 8, 1925 in the Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City, the son of African-American entertainer and stage performer Sammy Davis Sr. (1900–1988) and to tap dancer and stage performer Elvera Sanchez (1905–2000). Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_23

During his lifetime, Davis stated that his mother was Puerto Rican and born in San Juan. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_24

However, in the 2003 biography In Black and White, author Wil Haygood wrote that Davis' mother was born in New York City to Cuban parents, who were of Afro-Cuban and Spanish descent, and that Davis claimed he was Puerto Rican because he feared anti-Cuban backlash would hurt his record sales. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_25

Davis' parents were vaudeville dancers. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_26

As an infant, he was reared by his paternal grandmother. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_27

When he was three years old, his parents separated. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_28

His father, not wanting to lose custody of his son, took him on tour. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_29

Davis learned to dance from his father and his uncle Will Mastin. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_30

Davis joined the act as a child and they became the Will Mastin Trio. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_31

Throughout his career, Davis included the Will Mastin Trio in his billing. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_32

Mastin and his father shielded him from racism, such as by explaining race-based snubs as jealousy. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_33

However, when Davis served in the United States Army during World War II, he was confronted by strong prejudice. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_34

He later said: "Overnight the world looked different. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_35

It wasn't one color any more. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_36

I could see the protection I'd gotten all my life from my father and Will. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_37

I appreciated their loving hope that I'd never need to know about prejudice and hate, but they were wrong. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_38

It was as if I'd walked through a swinging door for 18 years, a door which they had always secretly held open." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_39

At age seven, Davis played the title role in the film Rufus Jones for President, in which he sang and danced with Ethel Waters. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_40

He lived for several years in Boston's South End, and reminisced years later about "hoofing and singing" at Izzy Ort's Bar & Grille. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_41

Military service Sammy Davis Jr._section_1

During World War II, Davis was drafted into the U.S. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_42 Army in 1943 at age 18. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_43

He was frequently abused by white soldiers from the South and later recounted that "I must have had a knockdown, drag-out fight every two days." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_44

His nose was broken numerous times and permanently flattened. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_45

At one point he was offered a beer laced with urine. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_46

He was reassigned to the Army's Special Services branch, which put on performances for troops. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_47

At one show he found himself performing in front of soldiers who had previously racially abused him. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_48

Davis, who earned the American Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal, was discharged in 1945 with the rank of private. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_49

He later said, "My talent was the weapon, the power, the way for me to fight. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_50

It was the one way I might hope to affect a man's thinking." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_51

Career Sammy Davis Jr._section_2

After his discharge, Davis rejoined the family dance act, which played at clubs around Portland, Oregon. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_52

He also recorded blues songs for Capitol Records in 1949, under the pseudonyms Shorty Muggins and Charlie Green. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_53

On March 23, 1951, the Will Mastin Trio appeared at Ciro's as the opening act for headliner Janis Paige. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_54

They were to perform for only 20 minutes but the reaction from the celebrity-filled crowd was so enthusiastic, especially when Davis launched into his impressions, that they performed for nearly an hour, and Paige insisted the order of the show be flipped. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_55

Davis began to achieve success on his own and was singled out for praise by critics, releasing several albums. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_56

In 1953, Davis was offered his own television show on ABC, Three for the Road—with the Will Mastin Trio. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_57

The network spent $20,000 filming the pilot, which presented African Americans as struggling musicians, not slapstick comedy or the stereotypical mammy roles of the time. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_58

The cast included Frances Davis, who was the first black ballerina to perform for the Paris Opera, actresses Ruth Attaway and Jane White, and Federick O'Neal, who founded the American Negro Theater. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_59

The network could not get a sponsor, so the show was dropped. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_60

In 1954, Davis was hired to sing the title song for the Universal Pictures film Six Bridges to Cross. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_61

In 1956, he starred in the Broadway musical Mr. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_62 Wonderful. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_63

In 1958, Davis was hired to crown the winner of the Miss Cavalcade of Jazz beauty contest for the famed fourteenth Cavalcade of Jazz concert produced by Leon Hefflin Sr. held at the Shrine Auditorium on August 3. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_64

The other headliners were Little Willie John, Sam Cooke, Ernie Freeman, and Bo Rhambo. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_65

The event featured the top four prominent disc jockey of Los Angeles. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_66

In 1959, Davis became a member of the Rat Pack, led by his friend Frank Sinatra, which included fellow performers Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford, a brother-in-law of John F. Kennedy. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_67

Initially, Sinatra called the gathering "the Clan", but Davis voiced his opposition, saying that it reminded people of the Ku Klux Klan. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_68

Sinatra renamed the group "the Summit". Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_69

One long night of poker that went on into the early morning saw the men drunken and disheveled. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_70

As Angie Dickinson approached the group, she said, "You all look like a pack of rats." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_71

The nickname caught on, and they were called the Rat Pack, the name of its earlier incarnation led by Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who originally made the remark of the "pack of rats" about the group around her husband Bogart. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_72

The group around Sinatra made several movies together, including Ocean's 11 (1960), Sergeants 3 (1962), and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), and they performed onstage together in Las Vegas. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_73

In 1964, Davis was the first African American to sing at the Copacabana night club in New York. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_74

Davis was a headliner at The Frontier Casino in Las Vegas, but, due to Jim Crow practices in Las Vegas, he was required (as were all black performers in the 1950s) to lodge in a rooming house on the west side of the city, instead of in the hotels as his white colleagues did. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_75

No dressing rooms were provided for black performers, and they had to wait outside by the swimming pool between acts. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_76

Davis and other black artists could entertain but could not stay at the hotels where they performed, gamble in the casinos, or dine or drink in the hotel restaurants and bars. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_77

Davis later refused to work at places which practiced racial segregation. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_78

Canada provided opportunities for performers like Davis unable to break the color barrier in U.S. broadcast television, and in 1959, he starred in his own TV special Sammy's Parade on the Canadian network CBC It was a breakthrough event for the performer, as in the United States in the 1950s, corporate sponsors largely controlled the screen: "Black people [were] not portrayed very well on television, if at all," according to Jason King of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_79

In 1964, Davis was starring in Golden Boy at night and shooting his own New York-based afternoon talk show during the day. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_80

When he could get a day off from the theater, he recorded songs in the studio, performed at charity events in Chicago, Miami, or Las Vegas, or appeared on television variety specials in Los Angeles. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_81

Davis felt he was cheating his family of his company, but he said he was incapable of standing still. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_82

Although he was still popular in Las Vegas, he saw his musical career decline by the late 1960s. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_83

He had a No. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_84

11 hit (No. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_85

1 on the Easy Listening singles chart) with "I've Gotta Be Me" in 1969. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_86

He signed with Motown to update his sound and appeal to young people. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_87

His deal to have his own label with the company fell through. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_88

He had an unexpected No. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_89

1 hit with "The Candy Man" with MGM Records in 1972. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_90

He did not particularly care for the song and was chagrined that he had become known for it, but Davis made the most of his opportunity and revitalized his career. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_91

Although he enjoyed no more Top 40 hits, he did enjoy popularity with his 1976 performance of the theme song from the Baretta television series, "Baretta's Theme (Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow)" (1975–1978), which was released as a single (20th Century Records). Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_92

He appeared on the television shows The Rifleman, I Dream of Jeannie, All in the Family (during which he famously kisses Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) on the cheek), and Charlie's Angels (with his wife, Altovise Davis). Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_93

He appeared in Japanese commercials for Suntory whisky in the 1970s. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_94

On December 11, 1967, NBC broadcast a musical-variety special featuring Nancy Sinatra, the daughter of Frank Sinatra, titled Movin' with Nancy. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_95

In addition to the Emmy Award-winning musical performances, the show is notable for Nancy Sinatra and Davis greeting each other with a kiss, one of the first black-white kisses in US television. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_96

Davis had a friendship with Elvis Presley in the late 1960s, as they both were top-draw acts in Vegas at the same time. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_97

Davis was in many ways just as reclusive during his hotel gigs as Elvis was, holding parties mainly in his penthouse suite which Elvis occasionally attended. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_98

Davis sang a version of Presley's song "In the Ghetto" and made a cameo appearance in Presley's concert film Elvis: That's the Way It Is. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_99

One year later, he made a cameo appearance in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever, but the scene was cut. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_100

In Japan, Davis appeared in television commercials for coffee, and in the United States he joined Sinatra and Martin in a radio commercial for a Chicago car dealership. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_101

On May 27–28, 1973, Davis hosted (with Monty Hall) the first annual, 20-hour Highway Safety Foundation telethon. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_102

Guests included Muhammad Ali, Paul Anka, Jack Barry, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Ray Charles, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Howard Cosell, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Joe Franklin, Cliff Gorman, Richie Havens, Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis, Hal Linden, Rich Little, Butterfly McQueen, Minnie Pearl, Boots Randolph, Tex Ritter, Phil Rizzuto, The Rockettes, Nipsey Russell, Sally Struthers, Mel Tillis, Ben Vereen, and Lawrence Welk. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_103

It was a financial disaster. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_104

The total amount of pledges was $1.2 million. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_105

Actual pledges received were $525,000. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_106

Davis was a huge fan of daytime television, particularly the soap operas produced by the American Broadcasting Company. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_107

He made a cameo appearance on General Hospital and had a recurring role as Chip Warren on One Life to Live, for which he received a 1980 Daytime Emmy Award nomination. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_108

He was also a game show fan, appearing on Family Feud in 1979 and Tattletales with his wife Altovise in the 1970s. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_109

After his bout with cirrhosis due to years of drinking, Davis announced his sponsorship of the Sammy Davis Jr. National Liver Institute in Newark, New Jersey in 1985. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_110

In 1988, Davis was billed to tour with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, but Sinatra and Martin had a falling out. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_111

Liza Minnelli replaced Dean on the tour dubbed as The Ultimate Event. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_112

During the tour in 1989, Davis was diagnosed with throat cancer; his treatments prevented him from performing. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_113

Personal life Sammy Davis Jr._section_3

Accident and conversion Sammy Davis Jr._section_4

Davis nearly died in an automobile accident on November 19, 1954 in San Bernardino, California, as he was making a return trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_114

During the previous year, he had started a friendship with comedian and host Eddie Cantor, who had given him a mezuzah. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_115

Instead of putting it by his door as a traditional blessing, Davis wore it around his neck for good luck. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_116

The only time he forgot it was the night of the accident. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_117

The accident occurred at a fork in U.S. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_118 Route 66 at Cajon Boulevard and Kendall Drive. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_119

Davis lost his left eye to the bullet-shaped horn button (a standard feature in 1954 and 1955 Cadillacs) as a result. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_120

His friend, actor Jeff Chandler, said he would give one of his own eyes if it would keep Davis from total blindness. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_121

Davis wore an eye patch for at least six months following the accident. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_122

He was featured with the patch on the cover of his debut album and appeared on What's My Line? Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_123

wearing the patch. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_124

Later, he was fitted for a glass eye, which he wore for the rest of his life. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_125

Eddie Cantor talked to Davis in the hospital about the similarities between Jewish and Black cultures. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_126

Davis, who was born to a Catholic mother and Baptist father, began studying the history of Jews. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_127

He converted to Judaism several years later in 1961. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_128

One passage from his readings (from the book A History of the Jews by Abram L. Sachar), describing the endurance of the Jewish people, interested him in particular: "The Jews would not die. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_129

Three millennia of prophetic teaching had given them an unwavering spirit of resignation and had created in them a will to live which no disaster could crush." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_130

The accident marked a turning point in Davis's career, taking him from a well-known entertainer to a national celebrity. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_131

Marriages Sammy Davis Jr._section_5

In 1957, Davis was involved with actress Kim Novak, who was under contract with Columbia Pictures. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_132

Because Novak was white, Harry Cohn, the president of Columbia, gave in to his worries that racist backlash against the relationship could hurt the studio. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_133

There are several accounts of what happened, but they agree that Davis was threatened by organized crime figures close to Cohn. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_134

According to one account, Cohn called racketeer John Roselli, who was told to inform Davis that he must stop seeing Novak. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_135

To try to scare Davis, Roselli had him kidnapped for a few hours. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_136

Another account relates that the threat was conveyed to Davis's father by mobster Mickey Cohen. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_137

Davis was threatened with the loss of his other eye or a broken leg if he did not marry a black woman within two days. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_138

Davis sought the protection of Chicago mobster Sam Giancana, who said that he could protect him in Chicago and Las Vegas but not California. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_139

Davis briefly married black dancer Loray White in 1958 to protect himself from mob violence; Davis had previously dated White, who was 23, twice divorced, and had a six-year-old child. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_140

He paid her a lump sum, $10,000 or $25,000, to engage in a marriage on the condition that it would be dissolved before the end of the year. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_141

Davis became inebriated at the wedding and attempted to strangle White en route to their wedding suite. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_142

Checking on him later, Silber found Davis with a gun to his head. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_143

Davis despairingly said to Silber, "Why won't they let me live my life?" Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_144

The couple never lived together, and commenced divorce proceedings in September 1958. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_145

The divorce was granted in April 1959. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_146

In 1960, there was another racially charged public controversy when Davis married white, Swedish-born actress May Britt in a ceremony officiated by Rabbi William M. Kramer at Temple Israel of Hollywood. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_147

While interracial marriage had been legal in California since 1948, anti-miscegenation laws in the United States still stood in 23 states, and a 1958 opinion poll had found that only four percent of Americans supported marriage between black and white spouses. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_148

Davis received racist hate mail while starring in the Broadway adaptation of Golden Boy during 1964–1966, in which his character is in a relationship with a white woman, paralleling his own interracial relationship. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_149

At that time, Davis appeared in the musical, although New York had no laws against it, debate about interracial marriage was still ongoing in America as Loving v. Virginia was being fought. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_150

It was only in 1967, after the musical finished, that anti-miscegenation laws in all states were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_151

Davis's daughter Tracey Davis (July 5, 1961 – November 2, 2020) revealed in a 2014 book that this marriage also resulted in President Kennedy refusing to allow Davis to perform at his Inauguration. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_152

The snub was confirmed by director Sam Pollard, who revealed in a 2017 American Masters documentary that Davis's invitation to perform at his inauguration was abruptly cancelled on the night of his inaugural party. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_153

In addition to Tracey, Davis and Britt adopted two sons, Mark and Jeff. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_154

Davis performed almost continuously and spent little time with his wife. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_155

They divorced in 1968, after Davis admitted to having had an affair with singer Lola Falana. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_156

After his marriage imploded, Davis turned to alcohol and "found solace in drugs, particularly cocaine and amyl nitrite, and experimented briefly with Satanism and pornography." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_157

In 1968, Davis started dating Altovise Gore, a dancer in Golden Boy. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_158

They were married on May 11, 1970 by Reverend Jesse Jackson. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_159

They adopted a son, Manny, in 1989. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_160

Davis and Gore remained married until his death in 1990. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_161

Hobbies Sammy Davis Jr._section_6

Davis was an avid photographer who enjoyed shooting pictures of family and acquaintances. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_162

His body of work was detailed in a 2007 book by Burt Boyar titled Photo by Sammy Davis, Jr. "Jerry [Lewis] gave me my first important camera, my first 35 millimeter, during the Ciro's period, early '50s," Boyar quotes Davis. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_163

"And he hooked me." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_164

Davis used a medium format camera later on to capture images. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_165

Boyar reports that Davis had said, "Nobody interrupts a man taking a picture to ask ... 'What's that nigger doin' here?'" Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_166

His catalog includes rare photos of his father dancing onstage as part of the Will Mastin Trio and intimate snapshots of close friends Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Nat "King" Cole, and Marilyn Monroe. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_167

His political affiliations also were represented, in his images of Robert Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. His most revealing work comes in photographs of wife May Britt and their three children, Tracey, Jeff and Mark. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_168

Davis was an enthusiastic shooter and gun owner. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_169

He participated in fast-draw competitions. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_170

Johnny Cash recalled that Davis was said to be capable of drawing and firing a Colt Single Action Army revolver in less than a quarter of a second. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_171

Davis was skilled at fast and fancy gunspinning and appeared on television variety shows showing off this skill. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_172

He also demonstrated gunspinning to Mark on The Rifleman in "Two Ounces of Tin." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_173

He appeared in Western films and as a guest star on several television Westerns. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_174

Political beliefs Sammy Davis Jr._section_7

Davis was a registered Democrat and supported John F. Kennedy's 1960 election campaign as well as Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 campaign. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_175

John F. Kennedy would later refuse to allow Davis to perform at his inauguration on account of his marriage with the white actress May Britt. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_176

Nancy Sinatra revealed in her 1986 book Frank Sinatra: My Father how Kennedy had planned to snub Davis as plans for his wedding to Britt were unfolding. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_177

He went on to become a close friend of President Richard Nixon (a Republican) and publicly endorsed him at the 1972 Republican National Convention. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_178

Davis also made a USO tour to South Vietnam at Nixon's request. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_179

In February 1972, during the later stages of the Vietnam War, Davis went to Vietnam to observe military drug abuse rehabilitation programs and talk to and entertain the troops. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_180

He did this as a representative from President Nixon's Special Action Office For Drug Abuse Prevention. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_181

He performed shows for up to 15,000 troops; after one two-hour performance he reportedly said "I've never been so tired and felt so good in my life." Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_182

The U.S. Army made a documentary about Davis's time in Vietnam performing for troops on behalf of Nixon's drug treatment program. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_183

Nixon invited Davis and his wife, Altovise, to sleep in the White House in 1973, the first time African-Americans were invited to do so. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_184

The Davises spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_185

Davis later said he regretted supporting Nixon, accusing Nixon of making promises on civil rights that he did not keep. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_186

Davis was a long-time donor to the Reverend Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH organization and later supported Jackson's 1984 campaign for President. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_187

Illness and death Sammy Davis Jr._section_8

In August 1989, Davis began to develop symptoms—a tickle in his throat and an inability to taste food. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_188

Doctors found a cancerous tumor in Davis's throat. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_189

He had often smoked four packs of cigarettes a day as an adult. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_190

When told that surgery (laryngectomy) offered him the best chance of survival, Davis replied he would rather keep his voice than have a part of his throat removed; he was initially treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_191

His larynx was later removed when his cancer recurred. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_192

He was released from the hospital on March 13, 1990. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_193

Davis died of complications from throat cancer two months later at his home in Beverly Hills, California on May 16, 1990 at age 64. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_194

He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_195

On May 18, 1990, two days after his death, the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip were darkened for 10 minutes as a tribute. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_196

Estate Sammy Davis Jr._section_9

Davis left a bulk of his estate, estimated at $4 million, to his widow Altovise Davis, but he owed the IRS $5.2 million which, due to interest and penalties, had increased to over $7 million. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_197

His widow Altovise Davis became liable for his debt because she had cosigned his tax returns. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_198

She was forced to auction his personal possessions and real estate. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_199

Some of his friends in the industry, including Quincy Jones, Joey Bishop, Ed Asner, Jayne Meadows and Steve Allen, participated in a fundraising concert at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_200

Altovise Davis and the IRS reached a settlement in 1997. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_201

After she died in 2009, their son Manny was named executor of the estate and majority rights holder of his intellectual property. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_202

Legacy Sammy Davis Jr._section_10

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Davis among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_203

Portrayals Sammy Davis Jr._section_11

Sammy Davis Jr._unordered_list_0

  • In an episode of Charlie's Angels, Davis had a dual role, playing both himself and a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator who is kidnapped by mistake (in a comic relief scene, the impersonator beats up a candy machine which does not give him his candy, a spoof of Davis's song "The Candy Man").Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_0
  • Comedian Jim Carrey has portrayed Davis on stage, in the 1983 film Copper Mountain, and in a stand-up routine.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_1
  • On Saturday Night Live, Davis has been portrayed by Garrett Morris, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal and Tim Meadows.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_2
  • Davis was portrayed on the popular sketch comedy show In Living Color by Tommy Davidson, notably a parody of the film Ghost, in which the ghost of Davis enlists the help of Whoopi Goldberg to communicate with his wife.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_3
  • David Raynr portrayed Davis in the 1992 miniseries Sinatra, a television film about the life of Frank Sinatra.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_4
  • In the comedy film Wayne's World 2 (1993), Tim Meadows portrays Davis in the dream sequence with Michael A. Nickles as Jim Morrison.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_5
  • In the sitcom Malcolm & Eddie (1996), Eddie Sherman (played by comedian Eddie Griffin) impersonates Davis in the episode "Sh-Boing-Boing" to help his partner Malcolm McGee (played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner) reconcile his grandparents' relationship.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_6
  • Davis was portrayed by Don Cheadle in the HBO film The Rat Pack, a 1998 television film about the group of entertainers. Cheadle won a Golden Globe Award for his performance.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_7
  • He was portrayed by Paul Sharma in the 2003 West End production Rat Pack Confidential.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_8
  • Davis was portrayed in 2008 by Keith Powell in an episode of 30 Rock titled "Subway Hero."Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_9
  • In September 2009, the musical Sammy: Once in a Lifetime premiered at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego with a book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, and additional songs by Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The title role was played by Tony Award nominee Obba Babatundé.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_10
  • Comedian Billy Crystal has portrayed Davis on Saturday Night Live, in his stand-up routines, and at the 2012 Oscars.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_11
  • Actor Phaldut Sharma created the comedy web-series I Gotta Be Me (2015), following a frustrated soap star as he performs as Sammy in a Rat Pack tribute show.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_12
  • In January 2017, Davis's estate joined a production team led by Lionel Richie, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Mike Menchel to make a movie based on Davis's life and show-biz career.Sammy Davis Jr._item_0_13

Honors and awards Sammy Davis Jr._section_12

Shortly before his death in 1990, ABC aired the TV special Sammy Davis, Jr. 60th Anniversary Celebration, produced by George Schlatter. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_204

An all-star cast, including Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Diahann Carroll, Clint Eastwood, and Ella Fitzgerald, paid tribute to Davis. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_205

The show was nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards, winning Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy. Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_206

Grammy Awards Sammy Davis Jr._section_13

Sammy Davis Jr._table_general_1

YearSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_1_0_0 CategorySammy Davis Jr._header_cell_1_0_1 SongSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_1_0_2 ResultSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_1_0_3 NotesSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_1_0_4
2002Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_1_0 Grammy Hall of Fame AwardSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_1_1 "What Kind of Fool Am I?"Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_1_2 InductedSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_1_3 Recorded in 1962Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_1_4
2001Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_2_0 Grammy Lifetime Achievement AwardSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_2_1 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_2_2 WinnerSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_2_3 PosthumouslySammy Davis Jr._cell_1_2_4
1972Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_3_0 Pop Male VocalistSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_3_1 "Candy Man"Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_3_2 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_3_3 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_3_4
1962Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_4_0 Record of the YearSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_4_1 "What Kind of Fool Am I?"Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_4_2 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_4_3 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_4_4
1962Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_5_0 Male Solo Vocal PerformanceSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_5_1 "What Kind of Fool Am I?"Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_5_2 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_1_5_3 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_1_5_4

Emmy Awards Sammy Davis Jr._section_14

Sammy Davis Jr._table_general_2

YearSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_2_0_0 CategorySammy Davis Jr._header_cell_2_0_1 ProgramSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_2_0_2 ResultSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_2_0_3
1990Sammy Davis Jr._cell_2_1_0 Outstanding Variety, Music or ComedySammy Davis Jr._cell_2_1_1 Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th Anniversary CelebrationSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_1_2 WinnerSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_1_3
1989Sammy Davis Jr._cell_2_2_0 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy SeriesSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_2_1 The Cosby ShowSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_2_2 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_2_3
1980Sammy Davis Jr._cell_2_3_0 Outstanding Cameo Appearance in a Daytime Drama SeriesSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_3_1 One Life to LiveSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_3_2 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_3_3
1966Sammy Davis Jr._cell_2_4_0 Outstanding Variety SpecialSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_4_1 The Swinging World of Sammy Davis Jr.Sammy Davis Jr._cell_2_4_2 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_4_3
1956Sammy Davis Jr._cell_2_5_0 Best Specialty Act — Single or GroupSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_5_1 Sammy Davis Jr.Sammy Davis Jr._cell_2_5_2 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_2_5_3

Other honors Sammy Davis Jr._section_15

Sammy Davis Jr._table_general_3

YearSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_3_0_0 CategorySammy Davis Jr._header_cell_3_0_1 OrganizationSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_3_0_2 ProgramSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_3_0_3 ResultSammy Davis Jr._header_cell_3_0_4
2017Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_1_0 SingerSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_1_1 National Rhythm & Blues Hall of FameSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_1_2 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_1_3 InductedSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_1_4
2008Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_2_0 International Civil Rights Walk of FameSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_2_1 Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic SiteSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_2_2 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_2_3 InductedSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_2_4
2006Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_3_0 Las Vegas Walk of StarsSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_3_1 front of Riviera HotelSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_3_2 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_3_3 InductedSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_3_4
1989Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_4_0 NAACP Image AwardSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_4_1 NAACPSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_4_2 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_4_3 WinnerSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_4_4
1987Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_5_0 Kennedy Center HonorsSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_5_1 John F. Kennedy Center for

the Performing ArtsSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_5_2

Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_5_3 HonoreeSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_5_4
1985Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_6_0 Worst Supporting ActorSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_6_1 Golden Raspberry AwardsSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_6_2 Cannonball Run II (1984)Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_6_3 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_6_4
1977Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_7_0 Best TV Actor — Musical/ComedySammy Davis Jr._cell_3_7_1 Golden GlobeSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_7_2 Sammy and Company (1975)Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_7_3 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_7_4
1974Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_8_0 Special Citation AwardSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_8_1 National Academy of Television Arts and SciencesSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_8_2 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_8_3 WinnerSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_8_4
1968Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_9_0 NAACP Spingarn Medal AwardSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_9_1 NAACPSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_9_2 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_9_3 WinnerSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_9_4
1965Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_10_0 Best Actor — MusicalSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_10_1 Tony AwardSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_10_2 Golden BoySammy Davis Jr._cell_3_10_3 NomineeSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_10_4
1961Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_11_0 Man of the YearSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_11_1 American Guild of Variety ArtistsSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_11_2 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_11_3 WinnerSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_11_4
1960Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_12_0 RecordingSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_12_1 Hollywood Walk of FameSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_12_2 Sammy Davis Jr._cell_3_12_3 InductedSammy Davis Jr._cell_3_12_4

Discography Sammy Davis Jr._section_16

Main article: Sammy Davis Jr. discography Sammy Davis Jr._sentence_207

Filmography Sammy Davis Jr._section_17

Stage Sammy Davis Jr._section_18

Sammy Davis Jr._unordered_list_1

Television Sammy Davis Jr._section_19

Sammy Davis Jr._unordered_list_2

  • General Electric Theater – "The Patsy" (1960) Season 8 Episode 21Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_18
  • Lawman – episode Blue Boss and Willie Shay" (1961)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_19
  • The Dick Powell Show – episode "The Legend" (1962)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_20
  • Hennesey – episode "Tight Quarters" (1962)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_21
  • The Rifleman – 2 episodes "Two Ounces of Tin (#4.21)" (February 19, 1962) and "The Most Amazing Man (#5.9)" (November 27, 1962)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_22
  • 77 Sunset Strip – episode "The Gang's All Here" (1962)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_23
  • Ben Casey – episode "Allie" (1963)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_24
  • The Patty Duke Show – episode "Will the Real Sammy Davis Please Hang Up?" (1965)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_25
  • The Sammy Davis Jr. Show – Host (January 7, 1966)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_26
  • Alice In Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (March 30, 1966)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_27
  • The Wild Wild West – episode "The Night of the Returning Dead" (October 14, 1966)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_28
  • Batman – "The Clock King's Crazy Crimes" (1966)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_29
  • I Dream of Jeannie – episode "The Greatest Entertainer in the World" (1967)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_30
  • Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In – Here Comes The Judge skit (1968–70, 1971, 1973)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_31
  • The Mod Squad – three episodes: "Keep the Faith Baby" (1969), "Survival House" (1970), and "The Song of Willie" (1970)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_32
  • The Beverly Hillbillies – episode Manhattan Hillbilies (1969)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_33
  • The Name of the Game – episode "I Love You, Billy Baker" (1970)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_34
  • Here's Lucy (1970)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_35
  • All in the Family – episode "Sammy's Visit" (1972)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_36
  • Chico and the Man – episode "Sammy Stops In" (1975)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_37
  • The Carol Burnett Show (1975)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_38
  • Sammy and Company – host/performer (1975-1977)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_39
  • Charlie's Angels – episode "Sammy Davis, Jr. Kidnap Caper" (1977)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_40
  • Sanford (TV series) – episodes "Dinner and George's" (cameo) and "The Benefit" (1980)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_41
  • Archie Bunker's Place – episode "The Return of Sammy" (1980)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_42
  • General Hospital – episode Benefit for Sports Center (1982)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_43
  • General Hospital - Eddie Phillips (father to Bryan Phillips) (1983)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_44
  • Channel Seven Perth's Telethon (1983)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_45
  • The Jeffersons – episode "What Makes Sammy Run?" (1984)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_46
  • Fantasy Island – episode "Mr. Bojangles and the Dancer/Deuces are Wild" (1984)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_47
  • Gimme a Break! – episode "The Lookalike" (1985)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_48
  • Alice in Wonderland (1985 film)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_49
  • Hunter – episode "Ring of Honor" (1989)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_50
  • The Cosby Show – episode "No Way, Baby" (1989)Sammy Davis Jr._item_2_51
  • Sammy Davis, Jr. 60th Anniversary Celebration (1990) – 2½ hour all star TV specialSammy Davis Jr._item_2_52

See also Sammy Davis Jr._section_20

Sammy Davis Jr._unordered_list_3


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy Davis Jr..