Sammy Davis Jr. Biopic In The Works, Lionel Richie To Produce
The biopic for the legendary entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. has been officially set by Paramount Pictures. According to reports, the movie based on the 1965 memoir, “Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr.” penned by the performer with Jane and Burt Boyar. The biopic will,
Follow Sammy’s career as an entertainer and activist from Vaudeville with his dad and uncle in the Will Mastin Trio. Also the movie will touch on the integrated infantry with Southern whites in WWII. Finally, in the film you will see when he gets his big break in the short film Sweet and Low in 1947 as well as his chance meeting with Frank Sinatra.
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura will be producing the project along with Sammy’s heirs.
R&B legend Lionel Richie and Mike Menchel will also produce the project. Richie spoke of his excitement about the project stating,
I cannot tell you how excited I am about the signing of the Sammy Davis Jr. project with Paramount. I knew and loved Sammy dearly.
He was so kind to me at the beginning of my career and gave me advice that helped me become the artist that I am today. I am so happy for his kids that we can bring his story to the screen.
Samuel George Davis Jr. was a singer, musician, dancer, actor and comedian. He was noted for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities. At the age of three, Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father, Sammy Davis Sr. and the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally. After military service, Davis returned to the trio. Davis became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at Ciro’s (in West Hollywood) after the 1951 Academy Awards. With the trio, he became a recording artist. In 1954, he lost his left eye in a car accident, and several years later, he converted to Judaism finding commonalities between the oppression experienced by African-American and Jewish communities.
Davis’s film career began as a child in 1933. In 1960, he appeared in the Rat Pack film Ocean’s 11. After a starring role on Broadway in Mr Wonderful (1956), he returned to the stage in 1964’s Golden Boy. In 1966 he had his own TV variety show, titled The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Davis’s career slowed in the late 1960s, but he had a hit record with “The Candy Man” in 1972 and became a star in Las Vegas, earning him the nickname “Mister Show Business”.
Davis was a victim of racism throughout his life, particularly during the pre-Civil Rights era, and was a large financial supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Davis had a complex relationship with the black community, and drew criticism after publicly supporting President Richard Nixon in 1972 (although he later returned to being a Democrat). One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. “Handicap?” he asked. “Talk about handicap. I’m a one-eyed Negro Jew.” This was to become a signature comment, recounted in his autobiography and in countless articles.
After reuniting with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally, before his death from throat cancer in 1990 at age 64. He died in debt to the Internal Revenue Service, and his estate was the subject of legal battles.