Sammy Davis Jr.: A Personal Journey with My Father

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Overview

Nicknamed Mr. Show Business, Sammy Davis Jr. was a consummate performer who sang, danced, and acted on film, television, radio, and the stage for over six decades. In this uniquely intimate volume, the entertainment legend’s story comes to life through rare family photos and a compelling narrative based on conversations between Sammy Davis Jr. and his daughter, Tracey Davis.

The story of a future superstar unfolds beginning with his bittersweet childhood days, raised primarily ...

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Sammy Davis Jr.: A Personal Journey with My Father

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Overview

Nicknamed Mr. Show Business, Sammy Davis Jr. was a consummate performer who sang, danced, and acted on film, television, radio, and the stage for over six decades. In this uniquely intimate volume, the entertainment legend’s story comes to life through rare family photos and a compelling narrative based on conversations between Sammy Davis Jr. and his daughter, Tracey Davis.

The story of a future superstar unfolds beginning with his bittersweet childhood days, raised primarily by his grandmother in Harlem. On the stage by age three, he first became a star in vaudeville with the Will Mastin Trio. Davis was already an up-and-coming performer by the time he was recruited into the Army during World War II. As Tracey Davis candidly relates, it was there that her father first learned to use his talent—singing and dancing—as a weapon against racial bigotry. Davis’s career took off in the 1940s through his sheer determination, talent, and the support of friends like Frank Sinatra. With tenderness and humor Tracey describes her father’s friendship with Sinatra, and how he stood by him when Davis married Tracey’s Swedish actress mother. In a time when interracial marriages were forbidden by law in thirty-one states, both bride and groom endured an onslaught of negative press and even death threats.

Complete with rare personal and professional photos, Sammy Davis Jr. recounts Davis’s adventures through the Rat Pack era, and the extraordinary obstacles he overcame to become a 5’6”, 120-pound legend who across six decades packed in more than forty albums, seven Broadway shows, twenty-three films, and countless nightclub and concert performances. What emerges from the pages of this loving, but utterly frankly written book, is a uniquely personal perspective on one of the greatest pop culture icons of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
06/23/2014
In 1972, Sammy Davis, Jr. crooned "The Candy Man," a pop song that won him the nickname "Mr. Show Business." With great affection, Davis's daughter, Tracey, captures her father's ups and downs, sharing a portrait of a consummate showman who'd been singing and dancing his ways into audience's hearts since he was three years old. After being diagnosed with throat cancer in 1989, Davis learns he has only a short to live. Davis visits her father every day, and he regales her with stories of his youth, his marriage to Tracey's mother, Swedish actress May Britt, and his life with the Rat Pack. Davis recalls her father's mistreatment in the Army and racial prejudice he experienced in the 1950s and ‘60s despite being a well-recognized and top-paid performer. Of the Rat Pack, Davis learns: "The price of admission was talent, and most of all love and respect… before I was widely accepted by the world, I was accepted and loved by them." Her loving memoir is chock full of black and white photos. (May)
From the Publisher

“a sumptuously illustrated book…sweetly intimate and often quite engaging.”—Jewish Forward

Library Journal
06/01/2014
Sammy Davis Jr.'s headstone calls him "The Entertainer." He put his heart and soul into his work, which unfortunately left little time for his family. Daughter Tracey wrote about their often distant relationship in Sammy Davis Jr., My Father. Davis died in 1990; the passage of time and having a family of her own helped the author revisit her father's story in this personal and poignant account of their relationship. Tracey balances the events of her father's life with an intense portrait of the performer's last days as he battled the cancer that would eventually take his life. Unlike the previous book, this volume is full of glorious photographs, many of them intimate family portraits of the author's father and mother, Swedish actress May Britt. VERDICT Fans of Sammy Davis Jr. and the Rat Pack will find much to enjoy here, and this glimpse of the variety show heyday will be a nostalgic ride for anyone who lived through that era.—Bill Baars, Lake Oswego P.L., OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762450176
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/22/2014
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 303,989
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Tracey Davis is the only daughter of Sammy Davis Jr. and Swedish actress May Britt. A television and commercial producer, she is the mother of four children: Sam, Montana, Greer, and Chase. She lives in Tennessee.

Nina Bunche Pierce,a graduate of Brown University, is a playwright, screenwriter, and journalist. She is the mother of twin boys, Dante and Georgie. She lives in Nevada.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2014

    Good book

    A view of Mr. Davis during his sad, final days described by his loving daughter Tracey. As I have just lost my father 4 months ago, the urgency to know more about our fathers life becomes a need. At her last stage of pregnancy, Tracey courageously visited her Dad every day to show her love, devotion, support and to gain knowledge of his fascinating life. I read this book in a few days as unfortunately it was only 135 pages long, otherwise it was a 5 star read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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