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Profile of the Day: Sammy Davis, Jr.

Today we remember famous Rat Pack performer Sammy Davis, Jr., who was born on this day in 1925.

Image: Sammy Davis, Jr. / Nationaal Archief, Wikimedia Commons CCO

Samuel George Davis, Jr. was born in Harlem, New York to Sammy Davis, Sr., an African-American entertainer, and Elvera Sanchez, a tap dancer of Afro-Cuban descent. Davis began his career in show business as a small child dancing in his father’s vaudeville act. During World War II, he served in the U.S. army where he faced strong racial prejudice. Assigned to an integrated entertainment Special Services unit, Davis found his talent helped ease some of the prejudices he experienced. He returned to his family’s dance act after he was discharged.

By 1959, he became a member of the famous Rat Pack along with his friends, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Co-starring in a string of hit films, including Ocean’s 11, Davis’s career skyrocketed. He married Swedish actress May Britt in 1960, during a time when interracial marriages were still forbidden by law in several states. Despite facing racial prejudices throughout his life, Davis found great success on the film and stage. Today, he is regarded as a legend in entertainment history.

Are you a fan of Sammy Davis, Jr.? Explore his family tree on Geni and share how you’re connected!

View Sammy Davis, Jr.’s Geni Profile

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The post Profile of the Day: Sammy Davis, Jr. first appeared on The Geni Blog.


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