Sammy Davis Jr.
Date created: April 2010
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Sammy Davis Jr. Timeline
1905Despite being 64 at the time of his death, he was survived by his mother Elvera Sanchez (1905-2000) and his grandmother, Elvera's mother Luisa (who died in 1996 at 112).
1950Had a relationship with Kim Novak in the 1950s.
1950Converted to Judaism in the 1950s.
1955He lost his left eye in a car crash when he was on his way to record the theme song for the Tony Curtis film, Six Bridges to Cross (1955). He wore an eyepatch for sometime after that, but Humphrey Bogart ultimately convinced him to unmask when he told him that he didn't want to be known as the kid with the eyepatch.
1956In 1956, he starred on Broadway in 400 performances of "Mr. Wonderful".
1960Member of the "Rat Pack" with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. All appear in Ocean's Eleven (1960).
1960When he married Swedish actress May Britt in 1960, unions between whites and non-whites were still banned in 30 US-states.
1961According to the "Fastest Gun Who Ever Lived," Bob Munden, Davis was the second-fastest draw in Hollywood, trailing only Jerry Lewis. Davis presented Munden with a customized Colt Peacemaker in recognition of Munden's skill after they appeared together on "The Mike Douglas Show" (1961).
1961His daughter, Tracey Hillevi Davis, was born July 5, 1961. She was named after Spencer Tracy, an actor whom Davis Jr. admired.
1963His son, Mark Sidney Davis, was born in 1963. He and his wife Britt adopted him on June 4, 1963, when he was three years old.
1963His third child was named Jeff, named after actor Jeff Chandler, and born in 1963. Davis Jr. adopted him with wife Britt.
1967Starred in the 1964 Broadway Musical "Golden Boy" for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical) in 1965; he lost to Zero Mostel for "Fiddler on the Roof." "Golden Boy" also featured many then unknown or relatively unknown talents such as Roy Glenn who later portrayed the father of John Prentice/Sidney Poitier in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967); other talents included then very young performers Lola Falana, Louis Gossett Jr., who later won an Oscar for his performance in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982); and Johnny Brown who is best remembered for his portrayal of "Nathan 'Buffalo Butt' Bookman" on the popular television sitcom "Good Times" (1974). A then unknown performer named Ben Vereen was Davis' understudy in "Golden Boy."
1968TV composer Morton Stevens ("Hawaii Five-O" (1968), "Police Woman" (1974)) was Davis' musical director between 1950 and 1960 before moving into television music composing. He then returned as music director for Sammy, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Liza Minnelli in the late 1980s.
1970He was a regular at many of Elvis Presley's concerts in Las Vegas.He appeared in the audience and backstage in the Elvis documentary "That's The Way It Is"(1970).
1970He can be seen in the audience and backstage in the Elvis Presley concert documentary "That's The Way It Is" (1970).
1971Filmed a cameo appearance for the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever (1971). The scene was ultimately cut, but can be seen in the DVD of the movie.
1972Campaigned for Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election.
1972His 8 Billboard Top 20 Pop hits, now standards, are "The Candy Man" (#1 1972), "Somethings Gotta Give"(#9 1955),"I've Gotta Be Me " (#11 1968), "Love Me Or Leave Me" (#12 1955 )," That Old Black Magic"(#13 1955 ),Hey There" (#16 1954),"What Kind Of Fool Am I" (#17 1962) and "The Shelter Of Your Arms" (#17 1963).
1979After John Wayne left the stage, during the 1979 Academy Awards ceremony, he was greeted by his old pal Sammy Davis Jr., who gave him a big bear hug. Davis later told a friend he regretted hugging Wayne so hard in his fragile condition. But Davis was told: "Duke wouldn't have missed that hug for anything." The idea of a 125 pound Sammy Davis Jr. worrying about hugging him "too hard" was a sad commentary on John Wayne's failing health.
1984Long-time friend Bill Cosby wore a small button with the letters "SD" on episodes of "The Cosby Show" (1984) after his death in 1990 as a tribute.
1986Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 235-237. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
1988Was the childhood idol of director Tim Burton, who wanted to cast him as the title character in Beetle Juice (1988), but Warner Bros. ultimately refused.
1989He had a son named Manny with his widow, Altovise. Manny was adopted in 1989 by the couple when he was ten years old.
1998Portrayed by Don Cheadle in The Rat Pack (1998) (TV). Cheadle went on to appear in the remake, Ocean's Eleven (2001).
2005Inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2005.
6254He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6254 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.