Sammy Davis Jr.

Actor, Singer, Dancer
Widely regarded as one of the greatest showmen of the 20th century, entertainment legend Sammy Davis, Jr. boasted an astounding career that, quite literally, spanned a lifetime. Performing with his vaudevillian father ... Read more »
Born: 12/08/1925 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (99)

General Hospital 1962 - 2014 (TV Show)

Actor

One Life to Live 1967 - 2010 (TV Show)

Actor

Evening at Pops 1969 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

More of the Best of the Hollywood Palace 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

America's Dance Honors 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Performer

Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 22nd Annual NAACP Image Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Performer

The Billy Martin Celebrity Roast 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The Hollywood Christmas Parade 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The R.A.C.E. 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

16th Annual Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Performer

A ...Whole Lotta Fun 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope's Super Bowl Party 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Elvis: Heart & Soul -- Untold Stories 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Frank, Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Tap 1989 (Movie)

Little Mo (Actor)

The 3rd Annual Soul Train Music Awards 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Performer

The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Performer

Evening at Pops (07/23/88) 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Las Vegas: An All Star 75th Anniversary 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Michael Jackson 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Moon Over Parador 1988 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

All Star Party For Clint Eastwood 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Caesar's 20th Birthday Celebration 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Emmanuel Lewis: My Very Own Show 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Happy Birthday, Hollywood! 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The 19th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Performer

Alice in Wonderland 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope's High-Flying Birthday 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Elvis: The Echo Will Never Die 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The 12th Annual People's Choice Awards 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Performer

The Perils of P.K. 1986 (Movie)

(Actor)

All-Star Party For Lucille Ball 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Motown Returns to the Apollo 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

That's Dancing! 1985 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

The Real Trivial Pursuit 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Cannonball Run II 1984 (Movie)

Fenderbaum (Actor)

Texaco Star Theater: Opening Night 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

The Magic of Dance 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope For President 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Heidi's Song 1981 (Movie)

of Head Ratte (Voice)

The Cannonball Run 1981 (Movie)

Fenderbaum (Actor)

Sinatra -- The First 40 Years 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

All in the Family 1970 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Circus of the Stars 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Las Vegas: Palace of Stars 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bob Hope Special (01/28/79) 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Steve and Eydie Celebrate Irving Berlin 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Little Moon & Jud McGraw 1977 (Movie)

(Actor)

Sammy Stops the World 1977 (Movie)

Littlechap (Actor)

Sammy and Company 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

The Flip Wilson Special 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

A Show Business Salute to Milton Berle 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

The NBC Follies 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

Burt Bacharach! 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

Duke Ellington... We Love You Madly 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

Opening Night: U.S.A. 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

Save the Children 1973 (Movie)

(Actor)

The NBC Follies 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

City vs. Country 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bob Hope Show (04/05/71) 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

The Klowns 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

Frank Sinatra Jr. With Family and Friends 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

One More Time 1969 (Movie)

Charles Salt (Actor)

Sweet Charity 1969 (Movie)

Big Daddy (Actor)

Movin' With Nancy 1967 - 1968 (TV Show)

Actor

Salt and Pepper 1968 (Movie)

Charles Salt (Actor)

A Man Called Adam 1965 (Movie)

Adam Johnson (Actor)

Nightmare in the Sun 1964 (Movie)

Truck driver (Actor)

Robin and the Seven Hoods 1964 (Movie)

Will (Actor)

Johnny Cool 1963 (Movie)

(Actor)

The General Electric Theater 1952 - 1962 (TV Show)

Actor

Convicts Four 1961 (Movie)

Wino (Actor)

Sergeants 3 1961 (Movie)

Jonah Williams (Actor)

Ocean's Eleven 1960 (Movie)

Josh Howard (Actor)

Pepe 1960 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Holiday in Las Vegas 1957 - 1958 (TV Show)

Actor

Porgy and Bess 1958 (Movie)

Sportin' Life (Actor)

Anna Lucasta 1957 (Movie)

Danny Johnson (Actor)

Poor Devil (TV Show)

Actor

The Kid Who Loved Christmas (TV Show)

Actor

The Pigeon (TV Show)

Actor

The Trackers (TV Show)

Actor
Music (20)

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs 2014 (Movie)

("Hello Detroit!") (Song Performer)

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 2011 (Movie)

("The Second Best Secret Agent In The Whole Wide World") (Song Performer)

Gamer 2009 (Movie)

("I've Got You Under My Skin") (Song Performer)

Madagascar 2005 (Movie)

("The Candy Man") (Song Performer)

S.W.A.T. 2003 (Movie)

("You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You") (Song Performer)

Secondhand Lions 2003 (Movie)

("A Lot of Livin' To Do") (Song Performer)

What Women Want 2000 (Movie)

("Something's Gotta Give") (Song Performer)

American Movie 1999 (Movie)

("Mr Bo Jangles") (Song)

Keys to Tulsa 1997 (Movie)

("Hey There") (Song Performer)

Mad Dog Time 1996 (Movie)

("Something's Gotta Give") (Song Performer)

Moon Over Parador 1988 (Movie)

("Begin the Beguine") (Song Performer)

The Money Pit 1986 (Movie)

("I Gotta Be Me") (Song Performer)

This Is Elvis 1981 (Movie)

("It's Nice to Go Trav'ling") (Song Performer)

Baretta 1974 - 1978 (TV Show)

Theme Music Performer

Salt and Pepper 1968 (Movie)

songs (Song)

Salt and Pepper 1968 (Movie)

(Song Performer)

Johnny Cool 1963 (Movie)

title song performer (Song Performer)

Porgy and Bess 1958 (Movie)

(Song Performer)

Anna Lucasta 1957 (Movie)

(Song Performer)

Hell Town (TV Show)

Theme Song Performer
Producer (1)

Salt and Pepper 1968 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Biography

Widely regarded as one of the greatest showmen of the 20th century, entertainment legend Sammy Davis, Jr. boasted an astounding career that, quite literally, spanned a lifetime. Performing with his vaudevillian father from the age of three, Davis honed his craft as a singer, dancer, musician, impressionist and comedian as one-third of the Will Mastin Trio, prior to breaking out as a popular solo act in the early 1950s. He overcame the obstacles of racism and personal tragedies, such as the loss of his left eye, to become one of the most successful mainstream performers of his day. No stranger to controversy, Davis endured the wrath of racial bigots for marrying Swedish actress May Britt and the skepticism of fellow African-Americans over his mid-life conversion to Judaism. As a founding member of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack," he sold out shows in Las Vegas and appeared in hit films like "Ocean's Eleven" (1960). For decades, Davis was also a constant radio presence, with such hit singles as "I've Gotta Be Me" and "The Candy Man." He conquered Broadway in the acclaimed production "Golden Boy," and even in his later years, still attract sold out crowds during a 1988 world tour with his old partners in crime, Sinatra and Dean Martin. Although taken by cancer at the relatively young age of 64, Sammy Davis, Jr. remained a timeless source of joy, fascination and inspiration for generations of fans to come.

Relationships

Suzette Davis

Sister

May Britt Actor

Wife
Married on November 13, 1961 divorced in 1968 mother of three of his children

Sammy Davis

Father
born c. 1901 in Wilmington North Carolina died May 21, 1988 in Beverly Hills, California of natural causes joined Will Mastin Trio after WWI

Elvera Davis

Mother
Puerto Rican lead chorus dancer with Will Mastin's Holiday in Dixieland troupe left family when Sammy Davis Jr was three died on September 2, 2000 at age 95

Jeff Davis

Son
born in 1963 adopted by Davis and May Britt co-owner of Lake Tahoe video store with brother and May Britt

Manny Davis

Son
born c. 1978 adopted by Davis and Altovise Davis in 1989

Mark Davis

Son
born c. 1960 adopted by Davis and May Britt co-owner of Lake Tahoe video store with brother and May Britt

Rosa Davis

Grandmother
raised Sammy Davis Jr until age three while parents toured

Tracey Garner

Daughter
born in 1961 mother, May Britt working on film of father's 1965 autobiography, "Yes, I Can" married to Guy Garner has one son Sammy, born c. 1989

Altovise Gore

Wife
Married from 1970 until Davis' death in 1990 was a dancer in Davis' nightclub act adopted son Manny with Davis in 1989 died in March 2009

Ramona James

Sister
born c. 1927

Kim Novak Actor

Companion

Louisa Sanchez

Grandmother
maternal grandmother died in October 1996 at the age of 112

Loray White

Wife
married in 1958 divorced in 1959

EDUCATION

never went to school; learned to read in the army where he was taught by a black master sergeant

tutored in tap dancing by Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson while touring in the 1930s

Milestones

1990

Owed $5.2 million to the IRS at time of death because beginning in 1972, the IRS started disallowing Davis' tax shelters

1989

Played a veteran hoofer in last film, "Tap"

1988

Toured with former Rat Pack member Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli (who replaced Dean Martin who dropped out due to ill health) in reunion concert

1988

Received an articial hip

1985

Underwent hip surgery

1983

Appeared with Bill Cobsy in "Two Friends Sammy and Cos" at Gershwin Theatre in NYC

1983

Stopped drinking after being hospitalized for liver and kidney dysfunction

1978

Appeared in Broadway revival of "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off"

1966

Starred in own TV series, "The Sammy Davis, Jr Show"

1965

Published autobiography, "Yes I Can"

1964

Starred on Broadway in musical, "Golden Boy"

1961

London stage debut in "An Evening with Sammy Davis Jr"

1960

Made London cabaret debut

1960

First appeared with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra at the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

1956

Broadway acting debut in "Mr. Wonderful"

1955

Feature film acting debut in "The Benny Goodman Story"

1954

Lost left eye as result of a car accident while driving from a Las Vegas club date to Hollywood; converted to Judaism during convalescence

1950

Launched solo career at Ciro's nightclub in Hollywood when he opened for Janis Paige on Oscar night

1946

Recorded "The Way You Look Tonight"; named METRONOME magazine's "Most Outstanding New Personality"

1938

Performed in vaudeville with the Will Mastin Trio

1933

First film appearance in Vitaphone short, "Rufus Jones For President" opposite Ethel Waters

1927

First became a professional entertainer at age 2 in parents' act

Was boxing manager for fighter Sonny Liston briefly in the 1960s

Known for such albums as "That Old Black Magic"

Hosted syndicated TV series, "Sammy and Company"

Joined "adopted" uncle Will Mastin's all-black family act of seven men and seven women before he was four (was sometimes passed off as a 44-year-old midget billed as 'Silent Sam the Dancing Midget' to bypass child labor laws); act was later reduced in siz

Rejoined the retitled Will Mastin Trio starring Sammy Davis, Jr; act opened for Frank Sinatra in 1945

Merchandized his own brand of food items (barbecue sauce, chili and mustard) in the 1980s

Served with US Army Special Services in one of the first integrated barracks; had his nose broken twice in fights with white soldiers; produced camp shows, some of which he wrote and directed

Fought eight month battle against throat cancer

Bonus Trivia

.

He was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame.

.

He served as co-chairman to the NAACP membership drive in the Los Angeles Chapter.

.

He was vice president of the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas Nevada.

.

Davis was appointed member of the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity in 1971.

.

The Variety Club of St. Louis renamed the children's wing of its hospital the Sammy Davis, Jr. Wing.

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