Clip | Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me - Sammy Davis, Jr. on His Greatest Fear

Sammy Davis, Jr. reveals the reasons why the song “Mr. Bojangles” resonated so much with him as an entertainer.

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- He always said that for him the two keys were walking in a room, and walking out.

The rest is gravy.

So had to come in, had to go out.

The rest you know what to do.

I guess when you're a major, major star, a super star, you can't imagine how long it lasts.

It was an irrational feeling, but it was there.

You always fear when you're up at the top that there's a bottom.

♪ I knew a man, Bojangles, and ♪ Mr. Bojangles, it's a story of an old entertainer who drank a lot and wound up in jail.

♪ Worn out shoes ♪ - He's so connected in that performance.

Sammy is singing about that washed-up dancer, but you know through the way that he performs it, he's also singing about himself and the way that he was perceived at the time.

♪ He could jump so high ♪ ♪ Jump so high ♪ - That's my fear, that I'll wind up like Bojangles, the Bojangles in the song, that culmination of different black performers, minstrels that I've known, performers who got hooked on junk, who got wiped out by alcohol, got wiped out by the changing of times.

I've seen them disappear, great dancers, great stylers.

And when I do that number some nights, I said, oh my God, that's me, that's how I'll be when I'm 70 years old.

I'll still be workin', I'll be workin' little joints, and I'll talk about what I used to be, and that'll be the end of it.

♪ That man talked of life ♪ ♪ Laughed, slapped his leg and stepped ♪ - I think it was Frank who said, you were like two characters in the same play.

Your talent is the hero, and your excess is the villain.