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Sammy Davis Jr.: Mr. Show Business

by Linnea Crowther

Sammy Davis Jr. (1925–1990) was a performer all his life, beginning on vaudeville when he was just three years old. As he grew up and grew famous, he wowed us with his multifaceted talent: he could sing, dance, act, and do spot-on impressions—all with ease.

A member of the much-celebrated Rat Pack, Davis was still performing with his friends Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin just a few years before his death from throat cancer on May 16, 1990. Entertaining was in his blood—it’s why he was a Kennedy Center honoree, Emmy Award winner, Tony and Golden Globe nominee, and a recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Today, we’re remembering what made “Mr. Show Business” so special and so magnetic with a few clips showcasing his broad talent. First up, check out his spectacular tap-dancing skills—in between steps, he sings and makes the crowd laugh, too.


When Davis appeared on “What’s My Line?” he nearly stumped the panel with his celebrity impressions.

And then, of course, there’s his classic, “The Candy Man.”

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