Sammy Davis Jr.
December 8, 1925 - May 16, 1990
"Being a star made it possible for
me to get
insulted in places where the average Negro
could never hope to go and get insulted."
He was great. He was fine. He was talented. He lost an
eye in the 50s, in a car crash. He was a member of The Rat Pack and
ate shit whenever Frank Sinatra wanted to make a "Spook" joke, which
In September of 1989, Sammy was diagnosed with throat
cancer. He was given
radiation treatment. His last performance was at Harrahs in Lake Tahoe, the
night before his first radiation treatment. It was thought that the cancer was
under control, until February of the next year.
Realizing that Sammy wasnt going to be around much longer, a television
special was planned. 26 entertainers had a two-and-a-half-hour tribute to Sammy,
which he attended. At the end of it (it aired Feb 4), Sammy got up, did not
speak, and did a little soft-shoe to a standing ovation.
Later that month, Sammys health was deteriorated rapidly. He
entered Cedars Sinai Medical Center because the cancer had returned. On the 13th of March,
Sammy went home to die. One report stated that Davis had
dwindled to a mere 60 pounds and was in the fetal position. Seriously though, he
probably didn't way much more than that at his peak.
Frank Sinatra visited the hospital and according to the National Enquirer (and why would they make this up?),
"A softball size tumor stuck out of Sammys neck, giving off a horrible
The sight devastated Sinatra." Yech.
Sammy's home in Beverly Hills
The deathwatch was on. Reporters gathered at
the house, waiting for the
Samela died on Wednesday May 16th, in his home. He was 64
By the time they removed Sammys body from his home, hundreds of
people lined the streets. That night, the lights on the Vegas strip were dimmed
for 10 minutes.
It was decided that his funeral would be open to the public, and on Friday
morning, 400 tickets were given to those that got to Forest Lawn early enough.
People started lining up at 6am. I was really upset. At this time, I was living
in Chicago, and I was coincidentally going to be in LA on that day, but not till
later that afternoon. Bum me out. I missed one of the coolest funerals.
It was an open casket. I heard a report that some photographer took pics, and
she found out, Shirley McLaine phoned him up to tell him that Sinatra was going to have him
killed if he didnt hand over the negatives. The photographer handed them
His funeral was held on Friday, at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. 1200
the church, and hundreds more were outside. "Ive Got To Be Me" was
played on the loudspeaker, and the crowd cheered. The service lasted for 90
minutes. Rev. Jesse L. Jackson eulogized him. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin,
Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby were honorary pallbearers. Other guests included
Gregory Hines, Liza with a Z, Stevie Wonder, Carroll OConnor, Ben Vereen,
Billy Crystal, Tony Danza, Shirley McLaine, Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, Angie
Suck My Dickinson, Robert Guillaume, Ricardo Montalban and Burt Reynolds.
From Findadeath friend Ruth: Sammy was an old, dear friend of mine, and I was one
of the people invited to the private viewing. While Sam was decked out in a
fine pin striped suit, red tie and handkerchief.
gave away most of his jewelry to people he cared about in the months before
his death. According to his right hand man, Brian Dellow, one particular
item he kept-- saying "this goes in the box with me." it was the
watch that Frank Sinatra had given to him much earlier.
From Findadeath friend Mike Crew: Mr. Davis was
supposed to be buried with approximately $70,000 in jewelry on him.
buried in the Davis family plot at Forest Lawn Glendale.
After the service, everyone (well, the stars) went back to Sammy's house for
punch and cookies.
Okay, so I didnt get to the funeral, but I did get in to the Garden of
Honor, where Sammy is planted, the very next day. Here is the wall of flowers
that were still there, and here is Sammys fresh grave, still covered in
The headstone was installed.
Did you know that Sammy was a devil worshipper? Button pushed.
Not really. The story is
1. He did it to get laid
2. Research for a movie
3. It was the 60's.
He did star in a movie called Poor Devil
Did he dabble? Apparently.
I just finished Linda Lovelace's biography, ORDEAL.
It's well known that Linda's husband Chuck Traynor was an abusive asshole of
epic proportion. Chuck was all over Sammy Davis Jr. because of his fame
and money. He, Linda, Sammy and Altovise became friends and
Sammy thought it would be fun to blow Chuck and Linda knew that Chuck would
never go for it, so she played a gag on him. Get it?
While the four of them watched a porn film in Sammy's private theater, Linda
devised the plan. She would go down on Chuck, and Sammy would slip in and
take over the blow job. Chuck discovered the switcheroo and flipped coz Sammy was a
dude. The act didn't complete and Sammy went back to banging Linda. Great story, fascinating and sad book.
After the funeral, Sammys wife Altovise went through all kinds of
financial troubles with the estate. The Samster, when buried, was
FESTOOONED with valuable jewelry. It cost her over $400, but she dug that
shit up. Here come 'da Judge.
Trivia: TV star Sherman Hemsley (George Jefferson) says that he was rescued
from the grip of a suicidal depression by the ghost of Sammy.
Trivia from Kevin Hassell: Frank Sinatra gave Sammy's widow, Altovise Davis, a million dollars in cash after he died.
There was an auction held for Sammy's estate after his death, and Jason Priestley bought a pair of Sammy's cufflinks.
UPDATE February 2005, from Findadeath friend James:
I was watching an old episode of Charlie's Angels, which guest starred Sammy as
himself, and a look-a-like that had been kidnapped. The house they used as
Sammy's was his real house, I recognized it from the photos on your site. From
the looks of it they also used his real house to film the interiors, it looked
very nice inside.
So ya wanna see his mailbox?