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March 12, 2020

Fascinating Photos of ‘Mr. Show Business’ Sammy Davis Jr. From 1960 to 1965

As charismatic and compelling as Sammy Davis Jr. was to earn the nickname “Mr. Show Business,” his life and career were met with many hardships: from traffic accident to racism and addiction. His success as a singer, dancer and film star, however, was not able to prevent him from the suffering of racism. Davis appeared in five films with his fellows of the Rat Pack during the first half of the 1960s: Ocean’s 11 (1960), Pepe (1960), Sergeants 3 (1962), Johnny Cool (1963), and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964). In 1960, Davis married his second wife, the Swedish-born actress May Britt; their marriage resulted in a racially charged controversy, as anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S. still stood in 23 states at the time.

Let’s take a look back at the talented performer through these 32 vintage photographs taken from 1960 to 1965:

Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Dean Martin from The Rat Pack posed on The Summit at Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, February 1960. Photo by Bob Willoughby/Redferns.

Adlai Stevenson poses amiably for Sammy Davis, Jr., as smiling Judy Garland looks on, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, July 1960. Photo by Bettmann.

Sammy Davis Jr., performing at 'Share' benefit for mental health, 1960. Photo by Allan Grant/LIFE.

Sammy Davis Jr. on stage during rehearsals for his high-stakes Broadway debut in 'Golden Boy,' 1960. Photo by Leonard McCombe/LIFE.

Sammy Davis Jr. and Tony Bennett performing on a television show circa 1960. Photo by Archive Photos.
Sammy Davis Jr holding a Pug dog with wife May Britt in England, 1961. Photo by Popperfoto.

Sammy Davis Jr. during rehearsals at the Pigalle nightclub, London, 1961. Photo by Terry O'Neill/Iconic Images.

Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra at the Cedars of Lebanon charity dinner, July 1961. Photo by Bettmann.

Sammy Davis Jr. performs at the Copacabana Club, 1961. Photo by Steve Schapiro/Corbis.

Judy Garland and Sammy Davis Jr. at the Copacabana Club, 1961. Photo by Steve Schapiro/Corbis.

Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Peter Lawford on the set of 'Sergeants 3,' 1962. Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis.

Sammy Davis Jr. plays drums on an episode of the 'Ed Sullivan Show,' January 1963. Photo by CBS Photo Archive.

Sammy Davis Jr. appears in the episode 'Rusty's Birthday' of the CBS sitcom 'The Danny Thomas Show,' 1963. Photo by CBS.

Sammy Davis Jr. in London with his new Rolls Royce, March 1963. Photo by Mirrorpix.

Sammy Davis Jr. outdoors holding an umbrella, April 1963. Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times.

Sammy Davis Jr. in his dressing room during an interview for his BBC television special 'Meet Sammy Davis Jr.', April 1963. Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times.

Sammy Davis Jr. on street holding his camera during his concert at the Olympia in Paris, May 1963. Photo by Jean Tesseyre/Paris Match.

Sammy Davis Jr. in the dressing room combing his hair, 1964. Photo by Leonard McCombe/LIFE.

Sammy Davis Jr. with his family in New York City, 1964. Photo by Leonard McCombe/LIFE.

Sammy Davis Jr. at home with his son Mark, 1964. Photo by Leonard McCombe/LIFE.

Sammy Davis Jr. performing on the BBC television special 'Meet Sammy Davis Jr. Part 2', March 1964. Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times.

Sammy Davis Jr. at the Olympia Concert Hall in Paris, March 1964. Photo by REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Rapho.

Sammy Davis Jr. on stage at the Olympia Concert Hall in Paris, April 1964. Photo by Patrick Bertrand/Paris Match.

Sammy Davis Jr., dressed in a dark blue suit, sits on the windowsill of a red brick building, Boston, Massachusetts, July 1964. Photo by Jerry Schatzberg.

Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. share a moment backstage, January 1965. Photo by John Dominis/LIFE.

Sammy Davis Jr. in concert at the Olympia, Paris, 1965. Photo by Roger Viollet.

Sammy Davis, Jr. gets some boxing pointers from Heavyweight Champion Cassias Clay at the Majestic Theatre following Davis's performance in 'Golden Bay,' 1965. Photo by Bettmann.

Sammy Davis Jnr sings into a microphone and holds a cigarette while performing in the audience of 'The Merv Griffin Show,' circa 1965. Photo by Walter Daran/Hulton Archive.

Portrait of Sammy Davis Jr. as he lies on the floor, on his elbows and laughs as Jean Shrimpton leans on his shoulder, March 1965. Photo by Bert Stern/Condé Nast.

Sammy Davis Jr. turning to smile, walking city streets, sporting brown felt hat & upturned coat collar, 1965. Photo by Joe Schilling/LIFE.

Show host Sammy Davis Jr. joins guests The Supremes, Sonny and Cher and The Lovin' Spoonful performing on the NBC TV music show 'Hullabaloo' in New York, September 1965. Photo by Hullabaloo Archive.

Sammy Davis Jr. performs in concert, circa 1965. Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Archive Photos.




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