It looks like a biopic about the life of entertainer Sammy Davis Jr is final happening.
Since Davis’ death in 1990, rumors of a film started to swirl, but after decades of disputes and legal fights, all talks were squashed. Things changed for the better after a court order last spring, and now the Beneficiaries of the estate (his for sons and a daughter) are working together.
One of their first order of duty is a rights deal to make a movie based on Davis’ extraordinary life and show-biz career; Lionel Richie, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Mike Menchel have been summoned to produce it.
“It’s an honor for me to bring the life of one of my idols and friends to the screen,” Richie told Deadline. “I’m so grateful to be working closely with the Davis family on this and couldn’t be happier to be moving forward on this passion project.”
“I am happy to tell the whole entire world that my family and I look forward to working with everyone to educate audiences of all ages about our father’s incredible American adventure,” added his youngest son Manny, the estate administrator.
The project will be based on the 1965 Davis memoir, ‘Yes I Can: The Story Of Sammy Davis, Jr.,’ written by Burt Boyar with Davis and his wife Jane.
Born in Harlem to a pair of vaudeville dancers, he joined the family act and continued to perform in the Army during World War II. He recorded blues albums and in 1956 starred on Broadway in Mr. Wonderful. By the late 1950s, he became a member of the famed Rat Pack alongside Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. A string of movies followed. Davis was almost killed in a 1954 car crash in San Bernardino that cost him his left eye. During his recovery, he began studying Judaism, and he converted in 1961.
A prodigiously talented singer, dancer, and instrumentalist, Davis’ career ran the gamut from Harlem nightclubs to Hollywood. Colleagues and friends included masters of tap dancing, recording stars from Nat King Cole to Michael Jackson, and the top arrangers across several decades. Davis headlined in Las Vegas with and without his Rat Pack pals; at the Frontier, he was forced to room offsite, as black artists weren’t allowed to stay at the hotels, gamble in the casinos, or use the dressing rooms. He later refused to work for companies that segregated.