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Sammy Davis, Jr.

Samuel George Davis Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) was an American singer, musician, dancer, actor, vaudevillian, comedian and activist known for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities. At age three, Davis Jr. began his career in vaudeville with his father Sammy Davis Sr. and the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally. After military service, Davis Jr. returned to the trio and became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at Ciro's (in West Hollywood) after the 1951 Academy Awards. With the trio, he became a recording artist. In 1954, at the age of 29, he lost his left eye in a car accident. Several years later, he converted to Judaism, finding commonalities between the oppression experienced by African-American and Jewish communities.

After a starring role on Broadway in Mr Wonderful (1956), he returned to the stage in 1964's Golden Boy. Davis Jr.'s film career began as a child in 1933. In 1960, he appeared in the Rat Pack film Ocean's 11. In 1966, he had his own TV variety show, titled The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. While Davis' career slowed in the late 1960s, his biggest hit, "The Candy Man", reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1972, and he became a star in Las Vegas, earning him the nickname "Mister Show Business".

Davis had a complex relationship with the black community and drew criticism after publicly supporting President Richard Nixon in 1972. One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. "Handicap?" he asked. "Talk about handicap. I'm a one-eyed Negro who's Jewish." This was to become a signature comment, recounted in his autobiography and in many articles.

After reuniting with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally, before his death in 1990. He died in debt to the Internal Revenue Service, and his estate was the subject of legal battles. Davis Jr. was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his television performances. He was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1987, and in 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Birth and Death Data: Born December 8th, 1925 (New York City), Died May 16th, 1990 (Beverly Hills)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1954 - 1969

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist

Recordings (Results 26-50 of 251 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 88539 8/19/1955 It's all right with me, part 2 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89241 1/23/1956 Too close for comfort Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89241 January 1956 Too close for comfort ; Encore ; Talk to him Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89242 1/23/1956 The world is mine tonight Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89243[a] January 1956 Jacques d'Iraque-1 ; Mr. Wonderful ; Ethel, baby ; Charlie Welch Olga James vocalist  
Decca 89253 1/24/1956 Get out of the car Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89254 1/24/1956 There Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89254[a] January 1956 There ; Miami ; Without you I'm nothing (reprise) ; I'm available ; I've been too busy ; Sing you sinners ; Mr. Wonderful (Finale) (vo all) Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89928 5/8/1956 The hurt that time can't heal Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89929 5/8/1956 Five-1 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89930 5/8/1956 Never like this-1 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 89931 5/8/1956 Specially for little girls Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100043 5/29/1956 The lady's in love with you Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100044 5/29/1956 You're sensational Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100045 5/29/1956 Goodbye, so long, I'm gone Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100046 5/29/1956 French fried potatoes and ketchup Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100380 8/3/1956 The gypsy in my soul Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100381 8/3/1956 Never like this-1 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100382 8/3/1956 Earthbound-1 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100383 8/3/1956 The white witch Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100384 8/3/1956 All dressed up and no place to go Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100689 10/2/1956 New York's my home Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100690 10/2/1956 The golden key Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100691 10/2/1956 Signed, sealed and delivered Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 100692 10/2/1956 Moment of madness Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
(Results 26-50 of 251 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Davis, Sammy, Jr.," accessed January 24, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/311145.

Davis, Sammy, Jr.. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 24, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/311145.

"Davis, Sammy, Jr.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 24 January 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/311145

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