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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 151-175 of 251 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 108555 1/7/1960 This little girl of mine Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108556 1/7/1960 Gee baby, ain't I good to you? Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 108557 1/7/1960 Mess around Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 109390 7/20/1960 I got a woman Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 109722 10/11/1960 Ya got trouble Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca 121379 4/1/1969 Rhythm of life Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8065 12/22/1954 Six bridges to cross Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8066 12/22/1954 All of you Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8067 12/22/1954 Spoken for Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8150 1/26/1955 Easy to love Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8151 1/26/1955 Stan' up an' fight Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8152 1/26/1955 The birth of the blues Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8153 1/26/1955 My funny Valentine Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8555 7/13/1955 When your lover has gone Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8556 7/13/1955 It's the talk of the town Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8557 7/13/1955 The nearness of you Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8558 7/13/1955 These foolish things Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8559 7/14/1955 You do something to me Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8560 7/14/1955 You're my girl Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8561 7/14/1955 Tenderly Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8562 7/14/1955 It's bigger than you and me Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8563 7/14/1955 A foggy day Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8564 7/18/1955 Back track! Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8565 7/18/1955 The clown Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
Decca L 8566 7/18/1955 Circus Sammy Davis, Jr. vocalist  
(Results 151-175 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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