Sammy Davis Jr, the man whose talent and lifestyle rocked the world, has been married three times. Check out the women who once called him husband, including Swedish actress May Britt. The latter changed his life.
Sammy Davis Jr. was the embodiment of talent. He was good at singing, could perform on stage effortlessly, was a skilled actor, vaudevillist, dancer and comedian.
He found his way from an early age and began to share his multiple talents with his audience while he was on tour with his uncle and father.
The famous artist bowed out at the age of 64 in 1990, but not without leaving a legacy. Many remember Sammy as the black man with military talent, whose confidence and self-belief outweighed racism.
But like many artists, his private affairs have become inseparable from his professional life. Yet few people know the details of this iconic man’s life.
Before delving into the rarely published information worth knowing about the legendary Sammy Davis Jr, it would be clearer to have some basic knowledge of why he was so famous.
WHO WAS SAMMY DAVIS JR. ?
Sammy was an exceptional man. Although he never received a formal education due to his regular trips with members of his group, including his father and uncle, he learned from private tutors.
He enlisted in the military, where he experienced many racial prejudices, but then found solace in the spectacle. It didn’t break his mind; on the contrary, it made him want to work even harder.
The actor also had an accident that cost him an eye, and while many would have thought it would slow him down, it was just a break in Sammy Davis Jr.’s journey. He actually continued to hang out. albums, to play in shows and movies.
THE RUMOR OF A LINK AND ITS DANGERS
In the 1950s, Sammy Davis Jr.’s name began to become a household name. As a young man, he performed with a group of older men, family members, called the “Will Mastin Trio”, even after his accident.
Sammy was recognized by people of his race who felt he resonated with their struggles and represented them on a larger platform. On the other hand, he was loved by some big names in the middle, like Kim Novak.
His presentation style was indeed remarkable, so it was no surprise that he caught Kim Novak’s eye. However, she was a remarkable actress, white and ready to reach the stars.
The lady noticed Sammy at a nightclub, spoke to him briefly, and then they met at a party. In no time at all, the gossip mills were circulating stories about a possible affair between the duo.
Back then, race relations were taboo and could affect their careers. In 1957, almost half of the US states banned this type of marriage and many Americans hated it, only about 4% of the population approved of such a relationship.
That’s not all. At the time, the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of public schools following the integration of Central High School in Arkansas City, leaving an atmosphere of racial tension.
So now was not the best time for such news to come out, as the company mostly disapproved of it. When the news broke, Sammy reached out to Novak to apologize for putting her in such an awkward position with the studios.
The actress put it aside, adding that she is not in the industry, and then invited her friend over for a nice meal. Eventually, these two ended up becoming lovers.
Their affair was an idea carefully laid out. They acted with discretion, hiding their relationship, dates and dating from the media.
That hasn’t stopped the media from making up stories about them and even printing a possible marriage that never took place. These rumors don’t take long to affect them, as senior studio officials order Sammy to give up Novak and marry a black woman on pain of losing his limbs.
DETAILS ON HER FIRST MARRIAGE
Fear of cabals prompted Sammy to think about a strategy: he married his former lover, Loray White. White was a black singer and had had a few dates with the artist; she accepted the marriage after receiving a tidy sum of 10,000 to 25,000 dollars.
She played along during the wedding, but the unhappy and devastated groom gorged himself on alcohol and attempted to strangle the new bride as they drove to their hotel for an alleged honeymoon.
A few months later, the duo were unable to continue acting and news of their divorce broke. These two had a very short marriage!
ALL ABOUT HER SECOND MARRIAGE
A few years after her failed marriage, Sammy notices a woman having lunch with her friend. Her surroundings and beauty were captivating, and he wasted no time in getting to know this young beauty.
It was May Britt, a 26-year-old Swedish actress, and she found endearing traits in the actor. They began a romance which resulted in an engagement announcement.
Europeans don’t find their relationship problematic and wonder why the whole world is doing it. News of their engagement cut into Britt’s contract at the time, as the studios felt it was inappropriate for her to be with a black man.
This relationship changed the life of Sammy, who began to receive death threats, which led him to hire armed guards around the clock. The couple were afraid of being seen in public, and when were coming out, they had a weapon to protect themselves.
Britt was originally from Sweden. She first appeared in the limelight as a young adult, and before performing on screen, she worked as a photographer’s assistant in Stockholm. Her physique saw her become a Hollywood star after two casting officials deemed her worthy to appear on television.
She performed in numerous works before landing a contract with 20th Century Fox in “Blue Angel”. After her marriage to Sammy, she quit acting to focus on her life as a mother.
THE WOMAN WHO STAYED UNTIL HER DEATH
Like the first, Sammy’s second marriage failed in 1968, after lasting eight years, giving birth to three children. Two years later, lil married again.
This time it was with Altovise Davis, who died after battling a stroke in 2009. She also devoted herself to acting and singing.
After their marriage, the couple adopted a son named Manny Davis. Sammy died at age 64, leaving his widow and child to pay off some tax debts and manage his wealth.
This situation resulted in two lawsuits against former associates, with Altovise claiming they cheated on her into signing part of the estate.
Altovise is of the same race as Sammy, and their union hardly attracts attention. They stayed together until death parted them, but fans agree that Sammy was a go-getter who didn’t care about the tabloids!