ANNOUNCES GRAVESITE’S PUBLIC OPENING IN 2023
On December 8th, 2022, the Estate of one of the most influential and legendary American entertainers of all-time—Sammy Davis Jr.—orchestrated an homage in honor of his 97th birthday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, by hosting a very special and intimate private ceremony.
The commemoration began at 1:30pm, and the proceedings included a flower-laying service and open dialogue where attendees shared their memories and stories about Sammy. Additionally, Estate Manager Krystle Hartsfield shared heartfelt comments and memories received via social media from fans all across the world. During the ceremony, the late legend’s son Manny Davis revealed that his father’s gravesite will finally be open to welcome the public in 2023. The gravesite has been closed to the public and for the first time in 32 years will begin to receive visitors.
Regarding this news, Manny stated, “My father loved entertaining everyone. He opened a lot of doors for people who weren’t afforded the opportunities he fought so hard to attain. Today is the first of many events that we have planned to celebrate his life and body of work for the rest of these years going forward. In the coming years, we want people to be able to come pay their respects, as we know how much of an impact he has had on so many lives.”
Now, fans may once again pay their respects to the legendary Sammy Davis Jr.
A biopic about the life and legacy of Sammy Davis Jr. is currently in development by The Estate of Sammy Davis Jr. Stay tuned for more!
Sammy Davis Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) was an American singer, dancer, actor, comedian, film producer and television director.
At age three, Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father (Sammy Davis, Sr.) and Will Mastin, as The Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally. Sammy’s film career began in 1933. After military service, Davis returned to the trio and became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at Ciro’s (in West Hollywood) after the 1951 Academy Awards. With the trio, he also became a recording artist. In 1954, after a horrific car accident Sammy lost an eye. During his recovery he converted to Judaism after finding commonalities between the oppression experienced by the African-American and Jewish communities. Once fully recovered Sammy chose to stage his return to show business at Ciro’s.
Sammy then had a starring role on Broadway in Mr. Wonderful with Chita Rivera (1956). In 1960, he appeared in the Rat Pack film Ocean’s 11. He returned to the stage in 1964 in a musical adaptation of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boyopposite Paula Wayne. Davis was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance. The show featured the first interracial kiss on Broadway. In 1966, he had his own TV variety show, titled The Sammy Davis Jr. Show, which was the first hour long TV show hosted by an African American.
Throughout the 1960s, Davis used his notoriety to help fight racism. Sammy performed at an endless number of benefits to help generate money for the movement. In 1961 he performed in support of Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, at Carnegie Hall in January with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and in Los Angeles in June. In August 1963, Sammy joined King in Birmingham, Alabama, for a concert to raise funds for the upcoming March on Washington. Sammy was present in Washington D.C., on the Lincoln Memorial as King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Sammy was also present at the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. On the night of March 24, 1965, on a makeshift stage of coffins, a ‘Stars for Freedom’ rally was held for the several thousand marchers. Sammysang the National Anthem, and Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Nina Simone and others performed. Thousands more people continued to join the march. The next day 25,000 people, Sammy among them, marched to the steps of the State Capitol Building in Montgomery where Martin Luther Kingdelivered the speech “How Long, Not Long.” At this time, Sammy’s name was on the White Citizens Council’s ‘Ten Most Wanted’ list – and Davis would continue to remain a controversial figure following his return to Broadway. In June 1966, Sammy attended a rally in Mississippi to promote black voter registration. Davis performed, and introduced King. In 1968, Sammy was awarded The Spingarn Medal from the NAACP for outstanding achievements by an African American.
While Davis’ career slowed in the late 1960s, his biggest hit, “The Candy Man,” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1972, and he became a Las Vegas regular, earning him the nickname “Mister Entertainment.” Davis’popularity helped break the race barrier of the segregated entertainment industry.
Sammy reunited with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987. After Dean’s retirement, Davis & Sinatra toured with Liza Minnelli internationally, before his death in 1990. Davis was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his television performances. He was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1987 and, in 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
ABOUT THE LEGACY OF SAMMY DAVIS JR.