Sammy: An Autobiography : with Material Newly Revised from Yes I Can and Why Me?
Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-90) rose from childhood stardom on the vaudeville stage to become one of the most famous African American entertainers of the 1950s and '60s (and the only black member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack). At the same time, he spent most of his career surrounded by controversy and ridicule--over his affairs with white film stars, his 1960 marriage to Swedish actress May Britt, his conversion to Judaism, his closeness to the Kennedys (and later Richard Nixon), and his problems with alcohol and drugs.
When Davis published his first memoir, Yes, I Can, in 1965, it was a critical and popular success--acclaimed for a candor and thoughtfulness rare in celebrity autobiographies and for its painful evocation of life as a black peformer in segregated America. Davis's 1980 memoir, Why Me?, laid bare Davis's troubled relationship to the Kennedys, his ambivalence toward the Black Pride movement, the end of his marriage to Britt (and his complex open marriage with Altovise Davis), and his flamboyant, self-loathing misbehavior, from ruinous extravagance to flirtations with Satanism.
Davis's co-writer Burt Boyar has revised Davis's memoirs, incorporating material from unpublished interviews, and has added a new introduction and epilogue. The result is a testament to an unacknowledged--often uncomfortable--leader in the struggle for racial equality.