My goats had a real treat this morning. They heard one of my all time favorite singers from way back, Sammy Davis Jr. What a crooner he was. I had the great opportunity of seeing him in concert many times during the late 60’s and 70’s in Las Vegas. Mom and I would dress to kill and walk down to the lobby of our hotel and into the show room at Caesar’s or any other large beautiful luxury hotel of the day. I remember my father handing the maître d’ some cash and we were escorted down front to the seats very close to the stage. Sammy Davis Jr. always gave 110% at his performances and the audiences always went wild. What a memory… I feel so fortunate for those days to have been able to enjoy , up close and personal one of the all time great stars of the stage .
Sammy Davis Jr. was born Dec. 8, 1925 which meant that he grew up during a most difficult time for the country, especially Afro Americans. He was literally born back stage at a theater and lived in a suitcase when a baby, as his parents were show folk. He started his vaudeville life at the age of 3 . He was singing and dancing and performing all of his young life. It was not easy for him as an Afro-American. He was a victim of racism most of his life.
This is what Wikipedia had to say about that:
Davis was a headliner at The Frontier Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, but he was required (as were all black performers in the 1950s) to lodge in a rooming house on the west side of the city, instead of in the hotels as his white colleagues did. No dressing rooms were provided for black performers, and they had to wait outside by the swimming pool between acts. Davis and other black artists could entertain, but could not stay at the hotels where they performed, gamble in the casinos, or dine or drink in the hotel restaurants and bars. Davis later refused to work at places which practiced racial segregation. (Wikipedia)
They say that he became an “overnight success” after a performance at Ciro’s nightclub in 1951. Overnight?? That was a success (recognition) after so many years of playing dives and waiting for the “big break”.
He became a member of the famous Rat Pack and toured and performed with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. He was also a star of several Broadway musicals and even had his own TV show.
Sammy Davis Jr. was a real fighter. He survived a horrible car crash on the way back from Las Vegas and lost an eye. He was a “trooper” and continued his performing life. Very ironically and so sadly died of throat cancer on May 16, 1990 at the age of 64. Way too young and what a star we all have lost.
These are just a few of my favorites: