Lee Daniels and his Lee Daniels Entertainment have teamed with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone to develop a miniseries about dancer-singer-actor-musician Sammy Davis Jr.
The project, titled Sammy, is still in preliminary stages, but I hear the producers are circling the 2003 book In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr. by Will Haygood.
There have been multiple attempts at a Sammy Davis, Jr. biopic, most recently a project set at Paramount Pictures last year with producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Lionel Richie, and Mike Menchel as well as Davis’ estate.
Sammy Davis Jr. was an entertainment legend, often billed as the greatest in the world. He was a singer, musician, dancer, actor, comedian, and activist. Born in Harlem, he began his career in vaudeville with his father, Sammy Davis Sr., and the Will Mastin Trio. After starting out in Broadway stage shows, Davis’ fame grew exploded when he became the lone black member of the Rat Pack, alongside Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. With Sinatra and Martin, he starred in movies like Ocean’s 11 and Robin And The Seven Hoods. At a time when Las Vegas hotels were segregated, Sinatra forced business owners to lift the ban for Davis, essentially desegregating the city. Davis’ affair with Kim Novak brought him death threats, as interracial marriage was prohibited in 30 U.S. states at the time. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965, lost an eye in a car crash in 1955, and was a prolific photographer. He even had a number one hit in 1972 with “Candyman.”