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Sammy Davis, Jr.

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Biography

Harlem, New York NY, United States (1928 – 1990)

Samuel George “Sammy” Davis, Jr. (born December 8, 1925 in Harlem, New York; died May 16, 1990 in Beverly Hills, California) was a Grammy Award winning singer, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning actor, dancer, multi-instrumentalist and only black member of Frank Sinatra’s The Rat Pack. Davis began his career with his father and uncle in the Will Mastin Trio and he toured nationally with them, only leaving due to military service. He became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at Ciro’s after the 1951 Academy Awards, became a successful recording artist and then made his first film performances later that decade.

Davis, Jr. was born in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, to Elvera Sanchez, a dancer, and Sammy Davis, Sr., an African-American entertainer. The couple were both dancers in vaudeville. As an infant, he was raised by his paternal grandmother. When he was three years old, his parents split up. His father, not wanting to lose custody of his son, took him on tour. Sammy Davis Jr. claimed that his mother was Puerto Rican, however the 2003 biography In Black and White alleges that he made this claim due to the political sensitivities of the 1960s (during the Cuban Missile Crisis), and that his mother was born in New York of Cuban descent rather than in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

As a child he learned how to dance from his father, Sammy Davis, Sr., and his “uncle” Will Mastin, who led the dance troupe his father worked for. Davis joined the act as a young child in 1928 and they became the Will Mastin Trio. Throughout his long career, Davis included the Will Mastin Trio in his billing.

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  • GodofDeathMetal

    He was a cool cat. My mom saw him live once.

    29 Aug 2:48pm Reply
  • noony75

    i would like to know if anybody out there has a spare copy of sammy davis jnrs 1960s ep-extended player where he sings and imitates many other artist ,i think it was called sonny boy as sung by al jolson noony75

    30 Jul 11:47pm Reply
  • ixab_

    Mr. Bojangles....) [2]

    15 Dec 2013 Reply
  • zephirlp

    One hell of an entertainer [3]

    23 Nov 2013 Reply
  • DavidSmith98

    It's too bad Sammy Davis was never even close to as popular as Louis Armstrong yet felt the need to make very insulting comments towards him. Sammy Davis outlasting the Beatles? It's too late for that - the whole world loves the Beatles, Sammy Davis is remembered for hugging Nixon.

    29 Oct 2013 Reply
  • acclamationsun

    I am a wedding curator I work in "the square" (Indy, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago) and I make serious cash. The first thing I did was get rid of wedding bands who sound like Bon Jovi but they're playing 50s pop songs. I found serious musicians who can do Sammy Davis Jr. numbers and the people love it. People say Sammy Davis Jr. will last a lot longer than the Beatles.

    2 Sep 2013 Reply
  • Fullmettall

    nasci na época errada msm

    26 Nov 2012 Reply
  • needleofdeath

    a room without windows, a room without doors :*

    24 May 2012 Reply
  • five17

    The Jefferson's Theme "Movin' On Up" is on Best Of Sammy Davis, Jr. & The Mike Curb Congregation. Not his best stuff, unfortunately.

    6 May 2012 Reply
  • MusicHallofFame

    The Music Hall of Fame are delighted to induct Sammy Davis, Jr. into the Class of 1974. Congratulations. Please vist our page too see the latest inductees into the Music Hall of Fame

    30 Apr 2012 Reply
  • granpubah

    Got to see Sammy live!!!

    26 Apr 2012 Reply
  • EricValeev

    Mr. Bojangles....)

    12 Mar 2012 Reply
  • PamGordon

    I have a Sammy Davis Jr You tube channel with tons of his music spanning his career for anyone who would like to enjoy his music: http://www.youtube.com/user/1PamGordon?feature=mhee

    5 Mar 2012 Reply
  • gendervariant

    I was trolling youtube and ran across this gem. Alternate version of the Jefferson's theme song. Was it ever officially released? I would love to have it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKYH4HYZCtg&feature=related

    29 Feb 2012 Reply
  • stuntcat

    YAY Sammy! (better late than never huh :P)

    17 Sep 2011 Reply
  • gendervariant

    One hell of an entertainer[2]

    14 Sep 2011 Reply
  • barryvs

    One hell of an entertainer.

    6 Sep 2011 Reply
  • MusicSerenity

    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?" the man was hilarious

    17 Aug 2011 Reply
  • beelzebub_7

    One of the most beautiful voice I've ever heard.

    2 Aug 2011 Reply
  • borntogeek

    i wonder what sammy song came in at No.20 on Oz Hitztory Blogs Top20 Of Pre-Rock'n'Roll Pop http://theozhiztoryblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/top-20-of-pre-rocknroll-pop-no-20-16.html

    9 Mar 2011 Reply
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