Sammy Davis Jr. - Rotten Tomatoes

Sammy Davis Jr.



Actor, singer, dancer Sammy Davis, Jr., the son of vaudeville entertainer Sammy Davis, began performing professionally at the age of three, appearing in his uncle Will Mastin's family act of seven men and seven women; during the early Depression the act was reduced in size to Davis, Jr., his father, and his uncle, and was called the Will Mastin trio. Soon he developed into a very versatile entertainer, skilled at singing, dancing, telling jokes, doing mimicry, and playing several instruments. He debuted onscreen at age seven in the short Rufus Jones for President (1933), in which he acted and danced. He toured the country with the Trio until the '40s, when he spent two years in the army. Upon his return, the act was renamed "The Will Mastin Trio, Starring Sammy Davis, Jr.," and the group began playing big variety theaters and top nightclubs. In the '50s he performed solo, soon becoming a popular TV entertainer as well; some critics considered him the world's greatest living entertainer. In 1954 he lost his left eye in a serious car accident and suffered other injuries that jeopardized his career. However, he quickly bounced back, and in the mid-'50s he began getting work in films, playing his first dramatic lead role in Anna Lucasta (1958). Also, in 1956 he debuted on Broadway as the star of Mr. Wonderful; later he starred in the Broadway show Golden Boy. As a screen actor he became best known for his work with the "Rat Pack," comprised of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop, who socialized and worked together; although the inclusion of a black man in the group was at the time considered egalitarian, his roles tended to be tokenistic and occasionally involved benign racist jokes at his expense. He somewhat alienated himself from black audiences, who occasionally booed him as a sell-out; and in a controversial move he converted to Judaism. He was also a popular recording star with several hits including "Mr. Bojangles" and "The Candy Man." He was frequently a guest star on TV specials and episodes of TV series, and twice hosted his own variety-talk shows, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show (NBC, 1966) and Sammy and Company (syndicated, 1975-77). He authored the autobiography Yes I Can (1965). He married and divorced Swedish actress Mai Britt.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Best of the Boston Pops
  • Actor
2015
95% Sing Your Song
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
2012
60% Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel
  • Actor
2010
No Score Yet Sammy Davis Jr. - The Best Of Live
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Rat Pack - Kings of Swing
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet The Music Masters: Sammy Davis Jr.: Mr. Wonderful
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Rat Pack - Most Famous Hits
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet In Concert Series: Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet TV Gold
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Sammy Davis Jr. - The Sammy Davis Jr. Show
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Pioneers of Primetime
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Sammy Davis Jr.: Singing at His Best
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Great Entertainers
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Legendary Nat King Cole, The
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Rat Pack Sings - Frank, Sammy & Dean
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Sammy Davis Jr.: One Cool Cat
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Frank Sinatra: The Man and the Myth
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Nat King Cole - When I Fall in Love: The One and Only
  • Actor
2004
75% Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Sinatra: The Classic Duets
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet That Old Black Magic
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet The Incomparable Nat King Cole
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet The Ocean's 11 Story
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Legendary Liberace
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet The Rat Pack
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Rat Pack's Las Vegas
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Remembering Nat King Cole
  • Actor
1991
No Score Yet Sammy Davis, Jr.: One in a Million
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet The Kid Who Loved Christmas
  • Actor
1990
50% Tap
  • Little Mo
1989
No Score Yet Frank, Liza and Sammy - The Ultimate Event
  • Actor
1989
No Score Yet Michael Jackson - The Legend Continues
  • Actor
1989
42% Moon over Parador
  • Himself
1988
No Score Yet Stars of the Century
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Evening With Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jerry Lewis
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Elvis: The Echo Will Never Die
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Alice in Wonderland
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet That's Dancing!
  • Actor
1985
No Score Yet Alice in Wonderland
  • Caterpillar
1985
13% Cannonball Run II
  • Fenderbaum
1984
No Score Yet Cracking Up
  • Mr. Billings
1983
No Score Yet Heidi's Song
  • Head Ratte
1982
30% The Cannonball Run
  • Fenderbaum
1981
No Score Yet James Dean: The First American Teenager
  • Actor
1975
No Score Yet Gone with the West (Little Moon and Jud McGraw) (Bronco Busters )
  • Kid Dandy
1975
No Score Yet Poor Devil
  • Sammy
1973
No Score Yet One More Time
  • Charles Salt
1971
No Score Yet The Trackers
  • Actor
  • Executive Producer
1971
No Score Yet Sweet Charity
  • Big Daddy
1969
No Score Yet Salt and Pepper
  • Charles Salt
1968
No Score Yet A Man Called Adam
  • Adam Johnson
1966
44% Robin and the Seven Hoods
  • Will
1964
No Score Yet Johnny Cool
  • Educated
1963
No Score Yet Threepenny Opera
  • Ballad Singer
1963
No Score Yet Convicts 4
  • Wino
1962
No Score Yet Sergeants 3
  • Jonah Williams
1962
No Score Yet Rat Pack - Live and Swingin' - The Rat Pack Live at The Villa Venice
  • Actor
1962
No Score Yet Pepe
  • Himself
1960
48% Ocean's Eleven
  • Josh Howard
1960
83% Porgy and Bess
  • Sportin' Life
1959
No Score Yet Anna Lucasta
  • Danny Johnson
1959
No Score Yet Edward R. Murrow: the Best of Person to Person
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet Tales of Tomorrow
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet Rufus Jones for President
  • Rufus Jones
1933
No Score Yet Sammy Davis Jr. & Jerry Lewis - An Evening
  • Actor
No Score Yet Sammy Davis Jr. - Portrait of a Legend
  • Actor

Quotes from Sammy Davis Jr.'s Characters