Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Deviant Life of and Demise of Sammy Davis Jr.

On sale this week is a book so hot it got the headline in Page Six of the NY POST and our offices intimidated by Jessie Jackson. Everyone knows who Sammy Davis Jr. is...but most of us, especially those of us who are younger, know little about his days with the Rat Pack...and more specifically how Sammy earned $50 million in his lifetime and died flat broke...not just any kind of broke, but broke broke. As in you owe the IRS your life. In Deconstructing Sammy journalist Matt Birbeck reveled some of the following bombshells:

Sammy Davis Jr. opted out of life saving throat cancer surgery because he thought it'd ruin his voice and eliminate the only way he could make money.

Following his divorce from Scandanavian actress May Britt in 1968, Sammy was pressued to marry a black woman, Altovise Gore who he pressured into attending wild parties.

When Sammy's good friend and longtime conductor, George Rhodes died, he asked Jesse Jackson to perform the eulogy. Jackson charged $5000 in cash and four first class plane tickets plus two suites at the Four Seasons Hotel. Sammy was so broke he had to ask his security guard to take a cash advance off of his credit card.

Matt appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation so you can hear more about the book here:

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