Sammy Davis Jr. (Getty Images / Harry Langdon)
Sammy Davis Jr., aka "Mr. Show Business," was no ordinary entertainer. In fact, the life he lived was rather extraordinary: he was a triple threat who could sing, dance and act – and did all three, from the age of 3… he was a Rat (in the best possible sense) who palled around with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin… he was a black man married to a white woman at the height of segregation – and the struggle against it… he was a Christian who converted to Judaism after a life-changing experience.
Being a Jew was important to Davis. He proudly wore a Star of David and talked candidly about his faith and conversion. As the story goes, the Christian-born Davis experienced a change of heart after the 1954 car accident that took his left eye, and nearly took his life. While Davis was recovering from his injuries in the hospital, his friend Eddie Cantor talked to him about the similarities between the Jewish and African-American cultures. Davis went on to do his own research, and he was sold, converting to Judaism formally in 1961.
Though he embraced Judaism, Davis became well known for his swingin' renditions of classic Christmas songs. Perhaps it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but we don't care. On the day when Davis would have turned 87, we're celebrating his life – and getting into the spirit of the season – by listening to a few of his greatest holiday hits.
Christmas Time All Over the World
The Christmas Song
Written by Linnea Crowther