Sammy Davis, Jr.

About Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr. was part of the legendary Rat Pack alongside Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, bringing an über-cool swing to the early-’60s Las Vegas casino scene. Born in New York City in 1925, Davis was an all-around entertainer—a gifted actor, singer, and dancer who started out drumming and hoofing with the Will Mastin Trio when he was just a child. By the ’50s he was starring in films and on Broadway and establishing his recording career. His biggest early hit came in 1955 with “Something’s Gotta Give”; a string of Rat Pack films beginning with 1960’s Ocean’s 11 cemented Davis’s celebrity status. The fact that he was an African American working in film and onstage with white performers on equal footing was a significant symbolic rallying point in America’s civil rights struggle. His greatest chart success followed in 1972 with “The Candy Man,” written for the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Davis passed away in 1990 but remains an eternal icon of old-school showbiz cool.

  • HOMETOWN
    Harlem, New York, NY
  • BORN
    December 8, 1925

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