Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me - Sammy Davis, Jr. Timeline


1925, December 8 Sammy Davis, Jr. is born at Harlem Hospital in New York City to Elvera and Sammy Davis, Sr.
1928/1929 He is sent to live with his father, a traveling entertainer and dancer. He never receives a formal education.
1933 Sammy Davis, Jr. appears in the short film Rufus Jones for President at age seven.
1943 He is drafted to the Army during World War II, eventually serving in an integrated entertainment Special Services unit.
1947 The Will Mastin Trio (Will Mastin, Sammy Davis, Sr., and Sammy Davis, Jr.) opens for Frank Sinatra at the Capitol Theatre in New York City.
1951, March The Will Mastin Trio opens for Janis Paige at Ciro’s; Sammy Davis, Jr. gives a knock-out performance and is embraced by the Hollywood elite.
1952 The Will Mastin Trio performs at the newly integrated Copacabana Club in New York City.
1953, Spring The Will Mastin Trio performs on The Colgate Comedy Hour and Eddie Cantor wipes Sammy Davis, Jr.’s brow.
1954 He signs a record contract with Decca Records.
1954, November 19 Sammy Davis, Jr. is in a car accident in San Bernardino, CA, and loses his left eye.
1955, January He releases his first album, “Starring Sammy Davis, Jr.”
1955, August Sammy Davis, Jr. releases his second album, “Sammy Davis, Jr. Sings Just For Lovers.”
1956 He makes his Broadway debut in Mr. Wonderful with Chita Rivera.
1958 Sammy Davis, Jr. marries Loray White in Los Angeles.
1959 He joins the Rat Pack.
1959, February Anna Lucasta, a film starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Eartha Kitt, is released.
1959, June 24 Porgy and Bess, a film starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Sidney Poitier, is released.
1960, August 10 Ocean’s Eleven, a film starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and the Rat Pack, is released.
1960, November 15 Sammy Davis, Jr. marries May Britt in Los Angeles.
1961 He formally converts to Judaism.
1961, July Tracey Davis is born.
1962, February 10 Sergeants 3, a film starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and the Rat Pack, is released.
1963 Sammy Davis, Jr. and May Britt adopt son Mark.
1963, August 27 March on Washington.
1964, June 24 Robin and the 7 Hoods, a film starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and the Rat Pack, is released.
1964, October 20 First performance of Golden Boy (musical), starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Paula Wayne.
1965 He publishes his autobiography, Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr.
1965 Sammy Davis, Jr. and May Britt adopt son Jeff.
1965, March 25 He marches from Selma to Montgomery.
1966 A Man Called Adam, a film starring Sammy Davis, Jr. is released.
1968 Sammy Davis, Jr. and May Britt divorce.
1968 He receives the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
1969, April 1 Sweet Charity, a film starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Shirley MacLaine, is released.
1970, May 11 Sammy Davis, Jr. marries Altovise Gore at a courthouse in Philadelphia.
1972, February Sammy Davis, Jr. guest stars on All In The Family.
1972, February Sammy Davis, Jr. goes on a USO tour of Vietnam.
1972, June “The Candy Man” hits No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1972, July Sammy Davis, Jr. hugs President Nixon at a Youth Benefit during the Republican National Convention in Miami.
1972, September 27 At PUSH Benefit concert in Chicago. Sammy Davis, Jr. is booed for hugging President Nixon earlier that year.
1973 Sammy Davis, Jr. and Altovise spend the night at the White House in the Lincoln Bedroom.
1978, August 3 Stop the World I Want to Get Off opens in New York City, starring Sammy Davis, Jr.
1980 Sammy Davis, Jr. publishes Sammy Davis, Jr., Hollywood in a Suitcase.
1981, June 19 Cannon Ball Run is released, starring Sammy Davis, Jr.and Burt Reynolds.
1988 Sammy Davis, Jr., Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra go on tour.
1989 Sammy Davis, Jr. and Altovise adopt a son, Manny, who was 11-years-old at the time.
1989 Sammy Davis, Jr. publishes Why Me? The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story.
1989, February 10 Tap, a film starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Gregory Hines, is released.
1989, August Doctors find cancer in Sammy Davis, Jr.’s throat.
1990, February 4 Sammy Davis, Jr. 60th Anniversary Celebration television special airs.
1990, May 16 Sammy Davis, Jr. dies from throat cancer.

Premieres Tuesday, February 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with exclusive bonus performance footage. Available on DVD February 19 via PBS Distribution. Streams Wednesday, February 20 via and PBS apps.