1001 W 75TH ST. WOODRIDGE, IL 630-427-1880

Hollywood Memorial

Sammy Davis

Acclaimed and beloved singer, actor, and dancer, a multi-talented performer, Sammy Davis, Jr. recorded forty albums and made countless film, television and live appearances. He began performing at the age of four, and starred in his first film when he was six. Coached by legendary tap dancer Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, Davis achieved success on the vaudeville circuit, dancing with his father and adopted uncle. In the late 1940s, Davis opened for Frank Sinatra at the Capitol Theatre in New York, which ignited a friendship that would last a lifetime. He toured six months with Mickey Rooney and performed with Bob Hope. Through Jack Benny, the trio won a booking at Ciro’s in Hollywood. In 1954, he made headlines when he lost his left eye in a near-fatal car crash while driving back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas. During his recovery in the hospital, he converted to Judaism, which was bruited about by the press. Davis continued treading on socially controversial ground by carrying on a series of interracial romances, most notably with actress Kim Novak, and with the Swedish actress May Britt, whom he married in 1960. Davis began making appearances on television, including ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ In the early 1960s, he appeared with his ‘Rat Pack’ cohorts Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford in a series of films including ‘Ocean’s Eleven,’ ‘Sergeants Three,’ and ‘Robin and the Seven Hoods.’ Davis was also heavily involved in the civil-rights movement of the 1960s, working with the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After announcing that he had successfully overcome an addiction to cocaine and alcohol, Davis embarked on a concert tour in 1988-1989 with fellow Rat-packers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. On Sept. 14 1989, Davis publicly announced that he had throat cancer and would begin radiation therapy. On Nov. 13, 1989, an unprecedented turnout of stars appeared at taping of Sammy Davis Tribute in Hollywood. Sammy Davis, Jr. succumbed to throat cancer at his Beverly Hills, California, home on May 16, 1990. His funeral attracted thousands of unknown individuals and the ‘Who’s Who’ of entertainment. Davis funeral was a moving, tear-filled ceremony, punctuated by applause and the standing ovations that characterized his life. A 300-car caravan followed his remains to his Forest Lawn, Glendale, gravesite which is behind a locked garden wall. He epitaph reads, ‘ The Entertainer, he did it all.’