Sammy Davis Sr.

Samuel George Davis Sr. (December 12, 1900 May 21, 1988) was an African-American dancer and the father of entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Sr.
Born
Samuel George Davis

(1900-12-12)December 12, 1900
DiedMay 21, 1988(1988-05-21) (aged 87)
OccupationDancer
Spouse(s)
Elvera Sanchez
(m. 1923; div. 1928)

Rita Wade Davis
Children3, including Sammy Davis Jr.

Early life

Davis was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, to Rosa B. Taylor (1870–1957) and Robert Davis (1868–1948). He and his former wife Elvera Sanchez were both dancers in a vaudeville troupe. The couple split up when their son Sammy Jr. was three. Davis took custody of his son, who then went into show business with his father. He and Will Mastin, the leader of the dance troupe, taught Sammy Jr. how to dance and they performed together as the Will Mastin Trio.

Sammy Jr. once stated, "When I was nine I told my father, 'I can outdance you'. 'Oh yeah? What makes you think that?' he asked. 'Cause you taught me everything I know'. 'Yeah, but I didn't teach you everything I know.'"[1]

Career

Sammy Davis Sr. began dancing early in life, and as a young man joined Will Mastin to form a dancing troupe. Soon Sammy Jr. joined the act and they became known as the Will Mastin Trio. The three appeared in the 1956 Broadway musical Mr. Wonderful.

Davis also appeared in two movies, Sweet and Low (1947) with the Will Mastin Trio, and The Benny Goodman Story (1956), in which he played the bandleader and arranger Fletcher Henderson.

Death

Sammy Davis Sr. died May 21, 1988, in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of 87, of natural causes,[2] two years before the death of his son, Sammy Davis Jr.[3]

References

  1. Quote from caption of photograph in unidentified publication, Modern Myth Museum, undated (but being born in 1925, it must have been c. 1935)
  2. International, From United Press (1988-05-22). "Obituaries : Sammy Davis Sr., 87; He Led His Son Into Show Business". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
  3. Flint, Peter B. (1990-05-17). "Sammy Davis Jr. Dies at 64; Top Showman Broke Barriers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
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