Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr.

64 (passed away May. 16th, 1990)
Dec. 8th, 1925
Born in
Harlem, New York, USA
5' 5"

Sammy Davis Jr.'s Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
The Rifleman TV Show
The Rifleman
77 Sunset Strip TV Show
77 Sunset Strip
This Is Tom Jones (UK) TV Show
This Is Tom Jones (UK)
The Hollywood Palace TV Show
The Hollywood Palace
Pryor's Place TV Show
Pryor's Place
NBC Follies TV Show
NBC Follies
Night of 100 Stars TV Show
Night of 100 Stars

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the "greatest living entertainer in the world". The son of vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr., he was known as someone who could do it all--sing, dance, play instruments, act, do stand-up--and he was known for his self-deprecating humor; he once heard someone complaining about discrimination, and he said, "You got it easy. I'm a short, ugly, one-eyed, black Jew. What do you think it's like for me?" A short stint in the army opened his eyes to the evils of racism--a slight man, he was often beaten up by bigger white soldiers and given the dirtiest and most dangerous assignments by white officers simply because he was black--and he helped break down racial barriers in show business in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in Las Vegas, where he often performed; when he started there in the early 1950s, he was not allowed to stay in the hotels he played in, as they refused to take blacks as customers. He also stirred up a large amount of controversy in the 1960s by openly dating, and ultimately marrying, blonde, blue-eyed, Swedish-born actress May Britt.

He starred in the Broadway musical "Golden Boy" in the 1960s. Initially a success, internal tensions, production problems and bad reviews--many of them directed at Davis for playing a role originally written for a white man--resulted in its closing fairly quickly. His film and nightclub career were in full swing, however, and he became even more famous as one of the "Rat Pack", a group of free-wheeling entertainers that included Dean Martin (I), Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop (I) and Peter Lawford.

A chain smoker, Davis died from throat cancer at the age of 64. When he died, he was in debt. To pay for Davis' funeral, most of his memorabilia was sold off.

  • His son, Mark Sidney Davis, was born in 1963. He and his wife Britt adopted him on June 4, 1963, when he was three years old.
  • He and the other members of the Rat Pack were banned from 'Marilyn Monroe' (qv)'s funeral by 'Joe DiMaggio (I)' (qv)
  • Portrayed by 'Don Cheadle' (qv) in _The Rat Pack (1998) (TV)_ (qv). Cheadle went on to appear in the remake, _Ocean's Eleven (2001)_ (qv).
  • Campaigned for 'Richard Nixon' (qv) in the 1972 presidential election.
  • His daughter, Tracey Hillevi Davis, was born July 5, 1961. She was named after Spencer Tracy, an actor whom Davis Jr. admired.
  • Father of Tracey Davis, who co-wrote the book: "Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father" with Delores Barclay.
  • Inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Was given a gift, of a black sapphire ring, by 'Elvis Presley' (qv) , who told him, "This is the biggest black star I've seen, so I'm giving it to the biggest black star I know."

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