Sammy David Jr. was a black man who was born in a world that many considered to be white. In such a world, unfortunately, he was forced to face and overcome countless challenges throughout his life.
Sammy Davis Jr. was a truly versatile artist. He was absolutely talented in singing, dancing, as well as acting. He achieved and popularity in an America which was very much different from today. Amidst all the obstacles that came his way, he remains to be a legendary entertainer. Davis’s talent bought him the international recognition he deserved. In 2001, Davis was awarded a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Davis was born in 1925, in Harlem, New York. His parents Sammy Davis Sr. and Elvera Sanchez, were both vaudeville performers. His parents got divorced when he was three. After that, he toured with his dad, debuting by the name “Baby Sammy”. He was loved by the public, and soon became a part of the Will Mastin Trio.
Davis Was Insulted By Soldiers For His Skin Color
Davis’s dad and Will did everything they could to not expose Davis to any of the racist comments. Therefore, he didn’t experience racism till he was 18. With the beginning of the war, Davis joined the Special Services branch of the money. He was supposed to provide entertainment for the troops. Getting insulted and disrespect for his skin color, these years were a horrible experience for young Davis. At one instance, be was even his nose was broken by the troops, and his body was painted white.
During this extremely difficult, Seargent Williams supported Davis. He taught him to utilize his talent and powerful vocals to fight the disrespect.
After the end of the war, Davis rejoined the Will Mastin Trio. He performed for Frank Sinatra in Capitol Theatre, New York. Following this life-changing performance, he joined The Rat Pack, a popular club of entertainers led by Sinatra. Davis’s vocals stunned Sinatra, and the two became best friends. Sinatra always had his back and protected him whenever he experienced racism.
Despite his successful career, Davis was surrounded by numerous controversies. Enduring the backlash he received from converting to Judaism and marrying the Swedish-born white actress May Britt are some of the obstacles he faced. He lost one of his eyes from an accident in 1954. Also, he had to undergo a hip replacement which stopped him from dancing.
Davis had one biological daughter named Tracy and three adopted sons. He passed away on May 16th, 1990, aged 64. Following his passing away, the city of Las Vegas turned off all its neon lights in order to honor him.