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Entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. Died On This Day In 1990
News One ^ | May 16, 2013 | D.L. Chandler

Posted on 05/17/2013 8:39:22 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Nicknamed “Mister Show Business,” Sammy Davis Jr. (pictured throughout) occupies a significant portion of African-American experience in entertainment. Although the singer, dancer, and Rat Pack member was seen by many as an assimilating “uncle Tom,” Davis lived a complex life full of triumphs, failures, and everything in between before his passing in 1990 on this day. NewsOne takes a look back on the life of Sammy Davis Jr.

Born Samuel George Davis on December 8, 1925, in Harlem, parents Samuel Sr. and his Cuban-American Mother Elvera Sanchez were both entertainers. Davis began his career early, performing in a vaudeville troop with his father at the age of 3. In 1933, Davis began his film career, starring in the satirical and often-criticized musical short “Rufus Jones for President.” Watch Part 1 of “Rufus Jones for President” here:

Davis’ career took a turn during the inception of World War II, when he served in the United States Army. Largely protected from racism by his father and uncle, Will Mastin, Davis experienced prejudice in an extreme fashion for the first time during his time in service. The Army was aware of Davis’ prodigious singing and dancing abilities, so they assigned him to an integrated entertainment unit.

It was under those circumstances that Davis learned to cope with racism.

“My talent was the weapon, the power, the way for me to fight. It was the one way I might hope to affect a man’s thinking,” wrote Davis in one of his autobiographies. After being discharged from the service, Davis went full speed with his career, recording several albums, touring with his family and landing on Broadway in 1956 with the play “Mr. Wonderful.”

In this file photo, actors, from left to right, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra are shown in the 1960 movie, “Ocean’s Eleven.”

Three years later, Davis joined the Rat Pack, a legendary crew of entertainers and friends that included Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. The Rat Pack made splashes in Hollywood and abroad, most notably with the 1960 film “Ocean’s 11” (pictured above) and 1964’s “Robin and the Seven Hoods.” The troupe also performed stage shows together in various venues, catapulting their fame to high heights.

Davis supported the Civil Rights Movement in a variety of ways, although he was often criticized for hobnobbing with White Hollywood while seemingly snubbing other Black entertainers in favor of his Rat Pack friends. There were also rumblings going around that Davis fronted money for the Italian Mob all while becoming an international celebrity. In 1972, Davis’ support of then-Republican President Richard Nixon was seen as a slight to the Black community.

Davis married Altovise Gore (pictured below) in 1970, and the ceremony was presided over by Rev. Jesse Jackson. Although the pair remained married until his passing, it was a troubled union sparked by Davis’ personal demons of drug addiction, poor spending habits, and a propensity to focus only on his career and not his family’s needs.

Considering that Davis remained somewhat popular throughout the 1970s, he never regained the star power and faded in to poverty, depression, and basic obscurity.

Davis succumbed to throat cancer in Beverly Hills; this after a delayed surgical procedure was performed to save his life. Davis was resistant to the surgery, as he didn’t want to lose part of his legendary voice. After his death, the Las Vegas Strip, in the city where he often performed for thousands, darkened its lights in tribute to Davis. He is buried next to his father and uncle in Glendale, Calif.

Davis was a polarizing figure indeed.

Although he seemed to take on mannerisms employed by White stars of his day, he couldn’t disguise the fact he was still a Black man. Even his conversion to Judaism was perceived as a ploy to shed his African-American roots, but that only raised intrigue in the man that much more. No matter what has been publicly said about Davis, there is no denying that Sammy Davis, Jr. deserves respect for his talents despite the murkiness of his private life and politics.

Watch Davis perform “The Candy Man” here:


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 05/17/2013 8:39:22 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yes7zGJyesY

Sammy at age 6. But it looks a little like Obama explaining his role in the Benghazi incident.


2 posted on 05/17/2013 8:45:33 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: ClearCase_guy

Wow. You can recognize him.


3 posted on 05/17/2013 8:46:28 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: All

Jerry Lewis Telethon was never the same. Sammy was a great man.


4 posted on 05/17/2013 8:48:54 PM PDT by Luke21
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To: nickcarraway

I remember it well; I took he day off work to watch his funeral on television.


5 posted on 05/17/2013 8:51:53 PM PDT by South40
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To: nickcarraway

The court’s in session now,
Here come the judge, here come the judge...


6 posted on 05/17/2013 8:54:12 PM PDT by liege (You don't drive out the darkness; you turn on the light.)
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To: nickcarraway

I saw his performance in person one time. He was mesmerizing.

Sammy Davis What Kind of Fool Am I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jg7wFHWXT4


7 posted on 05/17/2013 8:56:10 PM PDT by donna (Pray for revival.)
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To: donna

I know my uncle thought he was the best performer he had seen - better than Elvis.


8 posted on 05/17/2013 8:58:31 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Davis began his career early, performing in a vaudeville troop with his father at the age of 3

He was a performer in the tradition of vaudeville, where you perfected your art by performing relentlessly onstage day after day, year after year.

There is one story about him where he arrived at a gig alone because his band travelled separately. They got lost and never showed up. His manager decided to go out to the audience and cancel the show, but Sammy said, "If I can't entertain this crowd with just me and a comb harmonica I am not half the entertainer I think I am." He fashioned a comb harmonica with a comb and tissue paper, went out onstage, and performed an improvised act for two hours. The audience loved it and didn't even notice that the show was supposed to have a had a band behind him. How many entertainers today would even try that if their lip sync machines broke down?

9 posted on 05/17/2013 9:00:12 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: nickcarraway

Great entertainer and great human being. One of the old good ones. He’s missed.


10 posted on 05/17/2013 9:01:01 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (If you think ObamaCare is a train wreck, wait until you see the amnesty bill.)
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To: nickcarraway

Funny how media writes his conversion to Judaism was seen to “get rid” of his black roots, but show me one story where the media writes about a black that converts to islam and how that is abandoning his/her black roots. Africans and African Americans are hardly native muslims. They were all converts, it’s not a native african religion.


11 posted on 05/17/2013 9:09:34 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: nickcarraway

My mother’s cousin was a bandleader who knew him.


12 posted on 05/17/2013 9:09:55 PM PDT by Perdogg (Sen Ted Cruz, Sen Mike Lee, and Sen Rand Paul are my adoptive Senators)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

Cu Cu ca Choo, babe.


13 posted on 05/17/2013 9:10:00 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: nickcarraway

When I heard of his death I pulled over off the road and just thought. Talent in so many ways. I wish I could have met him and Dean.


14 posted on 05/17/2013 9:13:56 PM PDT by glyptol
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To: nickcarraway

He was married to Mai Britt first, before Altovise. They had a child or maybe even two.


15 posted on 05/17/2013 9:16:42 PM PDT by kiltie65
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To: nickcarraway

Wow. They left out so much it practically wasn’t worth reading. That was the skimmiest skim-over I have ever read.

He didn’t even KNOW Altovese. He was forced to marry her after he picked her out of a chorus line because if he didn’t, they were going to kill him.


16 posted on 05/17/2013 9:18:09 PM PDT by MestaMachine
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To: nickcarraway

God bless the Candyman.


17 posted on 05/17/2013 9:34:24 PM PDT by toddausauras (FUBO x 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)
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To: nickcarraway

So?


18 posted on 05/17/2013 9:48:58 PM PDT by BigCinBigD (...Was that okay?)
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To: nickcarraway

Obama stole the title of his autobiography, Yes I Can. I think his glass eye story is in it. Without Sammy, there would’ve been no Michael Jackson. A true pioneer.


19 posted on 05/17/2013 9:56:09 PM PDT by Argus
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To: nickcarraway

Your uncle was right. He was a full-service performer. Singing, dancing, stories...

1954: Sammy Davis Jr. was driving his Cadillac down Route 66, headed from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to record the soundtrack for the film Six Bridges to Cross. At 8 a.m., near San Bernardino, Calif., a 72-year-old woman backed her car out of a driveway into Davis’ path. The impact of the crash drove his face into the pointed center of the steering column, breaking his nose and effectively destroying his left eye. Davis, 28, was rushed to San Bernardino Community Hospital, where he was informed that he would lose his damaged eye and have it replaced with a plastic one.


20 posted on 05/17/2013 10:04:41 PM PDT by donna (Pray for revival.)
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To: nickcarraway

FWIW, Jim Henson also died the very same day.


21 posted on 05/17/2013 10:09:35 PM PDT by hoagy62 ("Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered..."-Thomas Paine. 1776)
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To: nickcarraway
You people are being unfair to the President, it was the Secret Service which made the decision to not allow the President to handle his own umbrella.

This photo shows some of the terror and confusion involved in the President's early attempt to perform his own umbrella duties, after this event the Secret Service gave training to the President, but eventually decided that it was best to just keep umbrellas from him for the duration of his Presidency.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

22 posted on 05/17/2013 10:42:41 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12

Oops, I posted that on the wrong thread.

On this thread I meant to post that Sammy Davis could do a lot of trick handling of a six shooter, and he displayed that skill when he would appear on “The Rifleman”.


23 posted on 05/17/2013 10:47:33 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: nickcarraway

A real loss.


24 posted on 05/17/2013 11:01:14 PM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: nickcarraway

You know, I watched Sammy Davis a year or two ago in “Robin and the Seven Hoods” (a really forgettable movie, in general) and he got to have one knock-your-socks-off number where he was shooting up a bar while he danced ... and it was just amazing. In another era, he would have been the lead in every movie he was in. Just a massively talented performer.


25 posted on 05/17/2013 11:01:41 PM PDT by Hetty_Fauxvert (FUBO, and the useful idiots you rode in on!)
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To: ansel12

I think I know why you got confused. There have been so many comparisons of President Obama to President Nixon in the last week, and Sammy Davis endorsed Nixon. Your mistake was perfectly natural.


26 posted on 05/18/2013 12:08:45 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: ansel12
Alamo Fast Draw and Sammy Davis Jr.
THE RIFLEMAN WITH "SAMMY DAVIS JR"
27 posted on 05/18/2013 12:10:57 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: donna
Funny Video of Sammy Davis, Jr. Impersonating Nat King Cole (and vice versa as They Sing a Duet
28 posted on 05/18/2013 12:13:37 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Those are perfect links, he was really incredible with a six shooter.

As a soldier under Nixon I had a period when I was in a punishment platoon, the “platoon” never numbered over 6, and often it was just me and the sergeants as I watched the other guys come for days or a single week, while I remained there, week, after week, after week, after week, etc., starting each morning with a ten K run and light gear with an M-14 modified with lead in it to weigh 28 pounds.

During that period Sammy Davis JR. had the hit, “The Candyman (can)”, in the barracks in between all the “Cool Hand Luke” type punishments which usually was solely focused on me since I was usually the only one in the “platoon”, I would listen to that song on a transistor radio that I had, and the innocence and joy of it really made me chuckle at what was going on (I was killing those sergeants because they had to keep up with me on the ‘punishments’ and the run). I was having a ball and Sammy’s song was my theme song.


29 posted on 05/18/2013 12:40:17 AM PDT by ansel12
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To: nickcarraway; Impy; Perdogg; BillyBoy; Clemenza; AuH2ORepublican; GOPsterinMA
"there is no denying that Sammy Davis, Jr. deserves respect for his talents despite the murkiness of his private life and politics."

Gee whiz, no bias in this article, no, sir. Davis endorsed Nixon in '72 because he well remembered which party's candidate was embarrassed and worried his marriage to Mai Britt might cost him votes in the 1960 election (hint: it wasn't Nixon). Interesting that little fact was left out so as to take a cheap shot at Sammy for not going with the misguided herd.

30 posted on 05/18/2013 7:53:27 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: glyptol

Did the same thing myself and the same thing when I heard that Karen Carpenter had passed.
Liked him in every performance I saw.
Great talent and never hear a song with FU in it.
Still listen to his songs.
Timeless as is said.


31 posted on 05/18/2013 9:38:08 AM PDT by glyptol
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To: nickcarraway

I remember the late Sammy Davis Jr. when he graced the Travelers Golf Tournament (Greater Hartford (CT) Open) back in the 1980’s with his name.


32 posted on 05/18/2013 10:30:23 AM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: nickcarraway

Wasn’t that charming? They had a deep understanding of their craft.


33 posted on 05/18/2013 10:48:51 AM PDT by donna (Pray for revival.)
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