Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father

Overview

Weaving a compelling tapestry of the life and times and ups and downs of legendary superstar Sammy Davis Jr., and his family, the only daughter of Sammy and Swedish actress May Britt presents a universal portrait of a delicate and often complicated father-daughter relationship. Photos.
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Overview

Weaving a compelling tapestry of the life and times and ups and downs of legendary superstar Sammy Davis Jr., and his family, the only daughter of Sammy and Swedish actress May Britt presents a universal portrait of a delicate and often complicated father-daughter relationship. Photos.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like many children-of-celebrity biographies, this uneventful family memoir doesn't offer the most enlightening perspective on its subject-"Pop" was too busy hanging out with the Rat Pack to spend much time with his kids. Tracey Davis-born in 1961, when Sammy was 35-grew up in her ambitious father's superstar shadow and angrily refers to her pampered childhood self as "Tracey comma daughter of Sammy Davis Jr. comma." She was traumatized when her father missed her fifth birthday party, then gave her a $100 bill as a present, and when he flashily picked her up from school in a limousine. Sammy wasn't exactly a Daddy Dearest, but he clearly was neglectful. Mom, however (the Swedish-born actress May Britt), was a "saint," but after father and daughter patch things up in a Las Vegas hotel suite in the 1980s, Britt, then divorced from Sammy, nearly disappears from the narrative. Davis touches on pertinent topics like mixed-race identity, the stresses of marital strife and the suffering of witnessing her father's bout with terminal cancer, but she spends much time as well lending Sammy's Aramis cologne supernatural significance and trashing her stepmother, who comes across as a messy drunk who spitefully gave the youngsters shopworn Christmas gifts. Ultimately, this book serves as an appendix to the father's own, bestselling memoir, Yes I Can. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (June)
Library Journal
Sammy Davis Jr. moved effortlessly from stage to screen to television to Las Vegas, the consummate entertainer. The one role he couldn't seem to adjust to was that of father. Tracey Davis, his daughter with Swedish actress May Britt, recounts her relationship with her famous dad, who was more concerned with schmoozing with his Rat Pack cronies than attending his daughter's college graduation. Frank, Liza, and Dean all glamorously pass through Tracey's childhood, but she remains unconfident and insecure. Are people staring at her because she's a biracial child or because she's Sammy's daughter? A poignant reconciliation a year before her father's death in 1990 elevates this from being a Daddy Dearest, but the limited scope is unlikely to satisfy those more interested in for Sammy's considerable dirty laundry.Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Kirkus Reviews
Conversational memoir by the late performer's daughter, with the help of Associated Press arts and entertainment editor Barclay.

Sammy Davis Jr. was an absentee father; he was always on the road. But even when he was around, he embarrassed Tracey. He showed up at her school in a stretch limousine. He was late for her high school graduation, and the school, to which he had contributed a baseball field, wouldn't begin the ceremony without him. He missed Tracey's college graduation entirely; he missed her birthday parties; he sent cash. Rather than someone with her own identity, Tracey became "Tracey Two Commas: Tracey comma daughter of Sammy Davis Jr. comma." With a laundry list of resentments, just before her wedding, Tracey traveled to Las Vegas to talk to her dad. He was a world-famous entertainer who smoked, drank, drugged, and once joined a group of satanists to boost his energy level; she was a civilian. But once they cleared the air, Tracey was able to express her appreciation of his talent, his eccentricities, and his character. She describes the racial discrimination he suffered: Being doused with white house-paint by a fellow soldier; getting hate mail when he married Tracey's mother, a white woman, actress May Britt; having his life threatened repeatedly. Davis began entertaining when he was three, on the road with his father and uncle, often with little food. As a successful entertainer, he spent enormous amounts of money: Tracey talks about looking for wedding clothes with $20,000 in her pocket. After a lot of complaining, Tracey seems to grow up as she describes Davis's ordeal with terminal throat cancer.

Tracey hasn't inherited her father's sense of humor or showmanship, but there's a realness about her account that gives it some power. She sounds just like somebody's kid.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781881649847
  • Publisher: General Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.24 (d)

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