Second Sammy Davis Jr. Biographical Project Slated

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Sammy Davis Jr. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Given the length of his career and the impact he enjoyed in multiple fields, it was probably inevitable that there would be more than one production devoted to chronicling the life and times of Sammy Davis Jr. This week MGM announced it was going to release a film about Davis, making this the second project devoted to him. 

This one is being inspired by a book that his daughter wrote. Tracey Davis, along with Dolores A. Barclay, penned “Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father,” the volume that’s serving as the foundation for the film. It will cover not only his personal life, but also spotlight his childhood and rise to fame. The book didn’t ignore the racism Davis endured in the entertainment industry during the Jim Crow era, and it pointed out how he used his platform to fight for social justice. “I am thrilled to know my father’s life, both private and public, will be brought to the big screen with this team of storytellers,” Tracey Davis said in a statement. “My father was an extraordinary man, who experienced tremendous joys and fought tough battles throughout his years coming up in the industry. His was not an easy road, but, like he did in all aspects of his life, he gave it everything he had. We plan to do the same with this film.”

Lena Waithe is slated to produce the biopic through her Hillman Grad Productions company alongside Rishi Rajani. Eddie Vaisman and Julia Lebedev from Sight Unseen will also serve as producers. Television and film writer David Matthews will pen the script. Waithe says Davis’ story is a testament to how Black luminaries have shaped popular culture. “Sammy Davis Jr. was one of the most impactful and influential figures in America. As Black culture continues to define popular culture, Sammy’s immense mark is undeniable,” she said. “I’m honored to be a part of this great team bringing such an important story to our community.”

Last year Lee Daniels announced plans to do a Davis project. But the projected miniseries “Sammy” is still in development.