Altovise Davis

Altovise Joanne Davis (née Gore; August 30, 1943  March 14, 2009)[1][2] was an American entertainer, best known for being Sammy Davis Jr.'s third wife.

Altovise Davis
Davis in 2007
Altovise Joanne Gore

August 30, 1943[1]
DiedMarch 14, 2009(2009-03-14) (aged 65)[2]
OccupationStage, TV actress, dancer
Sammy Davis Jr.
(m. 1970; his death 1990)


Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, as Altovise Joanne Gore, she was raised in Brooklyn, New York. A life member of The Actors Studio,[3] Gore worked during the 1960s as a chorus-line dancer in various musical shows both in London and on Broadway.

Her relationship with Sammy Davis Jr. started in 1968 while they were working in the same show. They were married in a Philadelphia courthouse by the Rev. Jesse Jackson on May 11, 1970, and adopted a son, Manny, in 1989.

Sammy Davis Jr. died from throat cancer on May 16, 1990, five days after their 20th wedding anniversary.

Television and film roles

In the 1970s and 1980s Altovise Davis made a few guest appearances in major TV series such as Charlie's Angels and CHiPs and minor roles in films such as Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974), Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), Boardwalk (1979), and Can't Stop the Music (1980).

Both she and her husband were frequent panelists on the 1970s television game show, Tattletales.

Davis was portrayed in a sketch titled "Ghost II: Sammy's Visit" on the sketch comedy/variety show In Living Color in its third season by Kim Wayans. The sketch was a parody sequel to the Whoopi Goldberg film Ghost. In the sketch, Goldberg's character Oda Mae (T'Keyah Keymah) meets the spirit of Sammy Davis Jr. (Tommy Davidson) to help him reunite with Altovise one last time.


Long saddled with tax problems following the death of her husband, Altovise Davis was included in 2008 on the California Franchise Tax Board's list of the top 250 delinquent taxpayers, with $2,708,901.75 in unpaid personal income tax.[4]


She died of complications from a stroke on March 14, 2009, at age 65 in Los Angeles.[1][2] She is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, next to her husband, Sammy Davis Jr.


  1. Noland, Claire (March 15, 2009). "Altovise Davis dies at 65; widow of Sammy Davis Jr,". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
  2. "Altovise Davis, Dancer and Actress, Dies at 65". New York Times. March 16, 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  3. Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
  4. "Delinquent Taxpayers". Orange County Register. 7 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2010-10-27. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
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