So often photographs tell the story of—or offer insights into—their subjects, but in this collection of photos taken by Sammy Davis Jr., beginning in the early 1950s, the story told is that of the photographer. Boyar, who co-wrote with his wife, Jane, three autobiographies with Davis (Yes I Can; Why Me?; Sammy), now offers these beautiful archival snapshots that Davis took of his friends, family and acquaintances. "Jerry [Lewis] gave me my first important camera, my first 35 millimeter, during the Ciro's period, early '50s," Boyar quotes Davis. "And he hooked me." The photos that follow are rare shots of his father dancing onstage as part of the Will Mastin Trio; fun, candid snapshots as only a close friend can take of Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Nat "King" Cole and Marilyn Monroe; of politicians (and family members) he associated with, like Robert Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr.; and most touching—and rare—are photos of his one-time wife May Britt and their three children, Tracey, Jeff and Mark. Boyar writes that "Sammy's camera often served as a shield" to gain access to places he couldn't because of his color. Again quoting Davis, "Nobody interrupts a man taking a picture to ask... 'What's that nigger doin' here?' " As an entertainer and photographer, Davis was able to enter into many worlds. (Feb.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Photo by Sammy Davis, Jr.by Burt Boyar
Sammy Davis, Jr. will forever be remembered as one of America's finest entertainers. An all–around performer who could sing, dance, and act, Davis broke racial barriers in the entertainment world and became the only non–white member of the Rat Pack. Only now, however, is Davis's talent as a photographer finally being recognized. In this
Sammy Davis, Jr. will forever be remembered as one of America's finest entertainers. An all–around performer who could sing, dance, and act, Davis broke racial barriers in the entertainment world and became the only non–white member of the Rat Pack. Only now, however, is Davis's talent as a photographer finally being recognized. In this previously unpublished collection of black and white photography, readers will be fascinated by Davis's portrayals of A–list performers, iconic world leaders, and scenes from everyday life. Davis's subjects include dozens of classic celebrities–such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, and James Dean–who are often photographed at their most casual and revealing moments.
Accompanying the pictures is an assortment of remembrances by Burt Boyar, a longtime friend and traveling companion of Davis who collaborated with the entertainer on both of his autobiographies. Through a series of memorable anecdotes, Boyar reflects on Davis's many achievements as well as the private moments they shared as friends. Along with Davis's candid shots of ordinary life–from a group of children laughing to a baseball game at the Washington Monument–these stories reveal a side of the performer far removed from his Rat Pack persona.
The release of this book will also coincide with the release of Burt Boyar's upcoming documentary, Sammy Speaks, created from his extensive archive of taped conversations with the star.
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How does one review a coffee table book? Most often you don't even read a coffee table book, you just flip it open now and then and look at the pictures. That is not the case here, Photo by Sammy Davis, Jr. is a book to be read. Discovered in a storage locker in West LA, this collection of photographs is a remarkable window into life and times of a remarkable individual. Burt Boyar knew Sammy Davis, Jr. intimately and is able to tell the stories behind the pictures from an insider's point of view. He has selected and arranged these photographs into chapters of the entertainer's life from the start of his career through his rise to superstardom, his marriages, his friendships, his involvement in the Civil Rights Era and political affiliations. All are accompanied by enlightening text much of which is verbatim remarks made by Davis. Only Burt Boyar could have put this collection together and narrated it so adroitly. This is a book that deserves a permanent place on your coffee table.