- NAME: Sammy Davis Jr.
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, Comedian, Dancer, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: December 08, 1925
- DEATH DATE: May 16, 1990
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New York City, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: Beverly Hills, California
- Full Name: Samuel George Davis Jr.
- AKA: Samuel George Davis
- AKA: Sammy Davis
- AKA: Sammy Davis Jr.
Best Known For
Sammy Davis Jr. was an actor, comedian, singer and dancer, and part of the Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, with whom he starred in several films.
Watch a short video about Sammy Davis Jr. and find out how this member of the "Rat Pack" caused controversy and lost an eye.
On November 19, 1954 Sammy Davis Jr. ended up in a car accident while driving to Los Angeles which damaged one of his eyes.
Despite an era of racial segregation and prejudice, Sammy Davis Jr. would pack the clubs in Las Vegas night after night.
In 1941 Frank Sinatra met then sixteen year old Sammy Davis Jr. as part of the Will Mastin Trio. Sammy Davis Jr.'s long standing career in show business and raw talent caught the eye of Sinatra.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born on December 8, 1925, in New York City, Sammy Davis Jr. overcame prevailing racism to become an entertaining legend. He was a successful comedian, actor, dancer and singer. As part of the Rat Pack, with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Davis was known for his films and his partying ways. As his fame grew,
"Being a star has made it possible for me to get insulted in places where the average Negro could never hope to get insulted."
his refusal to appear in any clubs that practiced racial segregation led to the integration of several venues in Miami Beach and Las Vegas.
Sammy Davis Jr. was born Samuel George Davis Jr. on December 8, 1925, in New York City. After his parents split up when he was 3, Davis lived with his father and soon began a career tap-dancing in vaudeville. He, his father and Will Mastin performed as the Will Mastin Trio until Davis left to serve in the United States Army during World War II. During his time in the service, he overcame racial prejudice by joining the entertainment unit.
Upon returning home, Davis resumed his showbiz career, performing stand up, acting and recording music. In 1956, Davis starred on Broadway in Mr. Wonderful, and in 1964 in Golden Boy. His refusal to appear in any clubs that practiced racial segregation led to the integration of several venues in Miami Beach and Las Vegas.
Davis's films include Porgy and Bess (1959), Robin and the Seven Hoods with fellow Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin (1964), Sweet Charity (1968) and Taps (1980). While Davis found his greatest success as a performer in the 1950s and '60s, he continued to entertain and record until the early 1980s.
Davis was involved in a serious automobile accident in 1954, and lost his left eye as a result. While in the hospital, recovering from the accident, the famous performer began studying Judaism, reading, among other works, Paul Johnson's book A History of Jews. Several years later, Davis—who was raised as a Roman Catholic—converted to Judaism.
Davis married Swedish actress May Britt in 1960, when interracial marriages were forbidden by law in 31 states. The couple had one daughter and adopted two sons before divorcing in 1968. Davis was married to dancer Altovise Gore from 1970 until his death, on May 16, 1990, in Beverly Hills, California.
© 2013 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: Sammy Davis Jr. profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Many African-Americans made their name performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, including Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. The roster of talented artists who made their careers after a successful amateur night at the Apollo grew so large, that the venue earned a reputation as the place to jump-start the career of an ambitious hopeful. Other performers, like Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, came to the theater after experiencing big professional success, adding further credibility to the historic New York concert hall. Explore the biographies of some of the more notable African-Americans who stepped out onto the Apollo stage, making entertainment history.
Apollo Legends 25 people in this group
The Rat Pack 5 people in this group
After the Civil War, many of the country's best and brightest black advocates, artists, entrepreneurs and intellectuals moved to the New York City neighborhood of Harlem. Thanks largely to the efforts of these residents, Harlem became both the cradle of a cultural revolution and the heart of the civil rights movement. Meet some of the many people who gave—and continue to give—this neighborhood a voice, simply by calling it home.
Famous Harlem Residents 62 people in this group