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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 126-150 of 251 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 105945 5/4/1958 My heart is so full of you Sammy Davis, Jr. ; Morty Stevens Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 105946 5/4/1958 Ol' man river Sammy Davis, Jr. ; Morty Stevens Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 105947 5/4/1958 Chicago Sammy Davis, Jr. ; Morty Stevens Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 105948 5/4/1958 How high the moon ; Bolero-1 Sammy Davis, Jr. ; Morty Stevens Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 105949 5/4/1958 Impersonations: Nature boy ; Because of you Sammy Davis, Jr. ; Morty Stevens Orchestra vocalist  
Decca 106824 3/15/1959 There's a boat that's leavin' soon for New York Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 106830 3/16/1959 Tuxedo junction Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 106831 3/16/1959 In the mood Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 106832 3/16/1959 A string of pearls Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 106916 3/26/1959 You'll never get away from me Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 106917 3/26/1959 Fair warning Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 106963 3/31/1959 I got plenty o' nuttin' Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 107511 6/5/1959 I've heard that song before-2 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 107512 6/5/1959 Pennies from heaven-2 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 107513 6/5/1959 You'd be so nice to come home to-1 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 107514 6/5/1959 Lovely to look at-2 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 107522 6/6/1959 I fall in love too easily-3 Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108523 1/4/1960 I gotta right to sing the blues Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108524 1/4/1960 The lady is a tramp Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108525 1/4/1960 I got a woman Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108526 1/4/1960 Do nothin' till you hear from me Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108527 1/6/1960 Till then Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108528 1/6/1960 Get on the right track, baby Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108529 1/6/1960 Face to face Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108554 1/7/1960 There is no greater love Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
(Results 126-150 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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