Sammy Davis Jr. was a legendary performer who could do just about anything - singing, dancing, comedy, TV, and movies. He'll always be remembered for being part of the Rat Pack, who ruled Las Vegas in the 1950s and 1960s.
Davis overcame racism and bigotry to sing, dance and act his way to the top of a career that spanned six decades and included 40 albums, seven Broadway shows, 23 films and countless nightclub and concert performances.
At a young age of three, he was already performing with his dad and Will Mastin in the Will Mastin Trio. His career had a lot of success, and although he lost his left eye in a car accident in 1954, Davis Jr. still performed on Broadway in the show Mr. Wonderful and had a starring role in the Rat Pack movie Ocean's Eleven in 1960. His number one single was Candy Man in 1972, and other popular songs of his include What Kind Of Fool Am I? and I've Gotta Be Me.
Image: Sketch by me!
Sammy Davis Jr. was placed in the middle of a situation he didn't want to be in, due to the racial tensions in mid-century America. Some wanted him to confront the issue, while others wanted him to promote peace. Davis Jr. himself stated that he simply wanted to be an entertainer and had not asked to become a leader of social change. He was often the only person of colour in a room which would have barred him from entry had he not been the main attraction; his career was largely dependent on support from Frank Sinatra. His conversion to Judaism and his marriage to a Swedish actress made him a target for both white anger and black disapproval, something he humorously addressed in an interview with Playboy magazine. He quipped, "I'm Puerto Rican, coloured, Jewish, and married to a white woman. When I move into a neighbourhood, people start running away in all four directions."
Even after supporting the election of JFK and performing at fundraisers he was not allowed to celebrate in the victory of inauguration as the Kennedy family disapproved of his relationship with May Britt.
Sammy Davis Jr. Was born on this day in 1925, Overcoming prevailing racism to establish himself as an entertainment star, becoming a successful comedian, actor, dancer and singer. He was also part of the Rat Pack and a Las Vegas legend.
This week's painting.....