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March 7, 2023

Sammy Davis Jr. Dancing on a Hollywood Rooftop, 1947

Photographed by Phil Stern, who recalled: “I had an assignment to photograph Davis to show his multiple talents. We didn’t have a rehearsal studio with a blank wall to make the shots readable. So we found a building on Hollywood Boulevard that had a low roof edge – we could use the sky as our background. The pictures used in this sequence are five out of maybe three hundred. My technical knowledge of dance was zero; I had to go by instinct. Davis was great. Finally we had the shots, and as we were packing up, he looked at me as if he wanted to do some more. ‘What’s the matter?’ I said. ‘Are you crazy?’ ‘No,’ he said. ‘I love to dance!’”

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