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Sammy Davis, Jr.

Actor / Dancer / Singer

Born: 8 December 1925
Died: 16 May 1990 (throat cancer)
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: Singer of "The Candy Man"
Born into a vaudeville family, Sammy Davis, Jr. was dancing onstage by the time he was four years old. He grew into a genuine song-and-dance man: an expert tapdancer, crooner, impressionist and all-purpose entertainer. He's best remembered for his high-energy years in Frank Sinatra's so-called Rat Pack, appearing onstage and in movies like Ocean's Eleven (1960) with Sinatra and Dean Martin. He was nominated for a Tony award for his lead role in the Broadway hit Golden Boy and was a frequent headliner in Las Vegas. Davis's interracial marriage to Swedish actress May Britt in 1960 was a rarity for its day. They divorced in 1968. He married dancer Altovise Gore in 1970 and they remained married until his death. His recording of "The Candy Man" was a surprise #1 hit in 1972. His films included Porgy and Bess (1959, with Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge), Salt and Pepper (1968, with Peter Lawford) and Tap (1989). His wrote two autobiographies: Yes I Can (1965) and Why Me? (1989).
Extra credit: Davis lost his left eye in a 1954 car crash while driving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles... Davis converted to Judaism in the mid-1950s... He sang the theme song to Robert Blake's 1970s TV show Baretta... He was played by Don Cheadle in the 1998 TV movie The Rat Pack.

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