Sammy Davis Jr., Who passed away from throat cancer at the age of 64, continues to be remembered as one of the most influential pop-culture icons of the 20th century. Despite his small stature of 5’6″ and weighing only 120 pounds, Davis’ impressive 60-year-long career left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry. He regularly secured television roles, recorded numerous albums, and even starred in seven Broadway shows. Additionally, he made appearances in 23 films, including the well-known Ocean’s Eleven. Being the only Black, Puerto Rican, one-eyed, Jewish entertainer in the world, Davis affectionately referred to himself as “Mr. Show Business.”
Here are seven fascinating details about Mr. Bojangles himself:
He suffered the loss of one eye as a result of a car collision.
Subsequently that morning, his Cadillac crashed into a car that reversed in front of him, resulting in extensive harm to his facial region. This included a fractured nose and such severe harm to his left eye that it necessitated the use of a synthetic replacement. On November 19, 1954, Davis was en route from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to create a musical score for the movie Six Bridges to Cross. However, he never reached the recording studio. Merely two months later, he returned to the stage, exemplifying his exceptional professionalism.
He embraced Judaism
Over the years, he studied more about religion and eventually converted. After learning about Judaism, he felt a shared history of oppression between Black people and Jews. However, his parents were not deeply religious Christians. Alive after the accident, Davis spent a significant amount of time reflecting on his existence and asking millions of questions about the “miracle” of his recovery. While in the hospital in San Bernardino, he met a Jewish Chaplain and believed that surviving the car crash was a different kind of miracle in his life.
He harbored resentment towards JFK
Recognized by the Kennedy Center, Davis’ emotions were partially alleviated in 1987 when he was excluded by the president, a sensitive issue for Davis. The presence of the African American performer alongside his spouse, May Britt (who was Caucasian), had the potential to provoke anger among individuals from the Southern states, thus John F. Kennedy requested that the performer refrain from taking part in the 1961 Presidential inauguration, as stated in Davis’ 1989 biography.
He had a strong connection with fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra
All finished, in the manner of Sinatra, with the small twist here and everything, I styled my hair and had it done, I desired to resemble him, I desired to attire like him, I desired to emulate him, “I desired to emulate him, I desired to attire like him, I desired to resemble him, I styled my hair and had it all finished, Sinatra style, with the small twist here and everything.” For Sammy, the adoration was mutual. Sinatra covered the medical expenses after SDJ had his car accident. Due to his ethnicity, a theater prohibited Davis, Sinatra tore apart his agreement. Enjoying tangible chemistry both on and off stage, the two became lifelong companions. When he assisted as an opening act for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Sinatra, Davis Jr. Initially encountered Frank Sinatra during his teenage years.
READ MORE: How the Rat Pack Transformed Las Vegas into an Entertainment Hotspot.
He had a challenging relationship with his daughter
In his work, he was driven by a force, but he didn’t say that he loved us. I am not “saying: remained scars in life” Tracy, the two grew closer together later in life. Although he routinely lost track of her phone number and skipped her college graduation, he also revealed in her memoir that he tried to make it up to her by handing her a $100 bill. Then, her famous dad, Davis, said that she missed her fifth birthday party, which was no surprise to her because he is known as the world’s greatest entertainer.
He executed one of the most renowned kisses on television
In 1972, the popular TV show “All in the Family” featured an episode in which Archie, while visiting the Bunker household, plants a famously smooch on Davis’ cheek before heading for the door. This on-screen kiss created one of the most legendary moments in TV history and helped Packer Rat, the household’s cool and racist character, make several racist remarks throughout the show. Although Archie left his briefcase in the taxi, he went on to be nominated for two Emmys.
The fatherhood of one of his sons was uncertain.
According to Mark, his father’s final words to him from his deathbed were, “You are my son.” It is possible that Davis did not care about the distinction. However, a DNA test revealed that Davis was not his biological father, much to his disappointment. In 2013, Mark discovered his original birth certificate, which stated that Davis was his biological father. However, it was in the 1960s when Mark first learned about his adoption after reading a Life magazine article that mentioned the entertainer had adopted him when he was around two years old. As reports emerged, fifty-five-year-old Mark Davis claimed that one of Davis’ adopted sons was actually his biological child.