As part of February’s Black History Month celebration, American Masters presents a two-hour documentary on the complicated life and incredibly versatile talents of Sammy Davis Jr.
WATCH: “Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me”
Explore the entertainer’s complicated upbringing, vast talents (music, dance, comedy and everything in between), the Rat Pack, and his journey to find his own identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America, especially during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
Davis had an indisputably legendary career that was vast in scope and scale. His life was also complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. A veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions, he worked tirelessly to stay relevant, even as he frequently found himself caught between the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America. In addition, Davis was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, tying his identity to that of another persecuted minority.
The film features interviews with Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Lewis, and clips from his TV, film and concert performances dating back to his first performances as a toddler.