Review by Famed Hollywood Columnist James Bacon
of Sammy Davis, Jr.: Me & My Shadow
I’ve just finished reading the galley proofs of an amazing book on the wild life of Sammy Davis,Jr. I call the book amazing because it was written by an author who knew his subject intimately. The book is called Sammy Davis, Jr.: Me and My Shadow. It’s by Arthur Silber, Jr, the son of Sammy’s agent and himself a guy who worked and traveled with Sammy for decades, and more importantly, he was Sammy’s best friend. Most celebrity books are written by people who have never even met their subjects. They get their material from unfounded rumors in the supermarket tabloids.
The book goes into great detail about Sammy’s sex life. How this great entertainer displayed such energy on stage after partying with four or five beautiful young women before show time, and with many more between shows and all night long, blows my mind. But Silber was there to report it. The girls were divided between showgirls and star lovers (to use a less graphic term than usual). I caught Sammy’s shows at Ciro’s on the Sunset Strip and at the Sands in Las Vegas dozens of times, and no performer ever worked harder onstage. He was the black Superman. Sammy, Silber writes, was the first black man ever to walk through a casino in Las Vegas.
Sammy was also the first to ever deal blackjack in a casino, opening the doors for all African-Americans. He and Lena Horne, also a Sands headliner, were the first African Americans to ever stay in a Vegas Strip hotel where they were performing. Much of the credit for blacks staying at the Sands must go to the late Jack Entratter, the Sands impresario, who got the okay from the Mob owners of the Sands.
Jack was a great guy who was sincerely without any hint of racial prejudice. Silber also goes into great detail about Sammy’s fling with Kim Novak. He mentions something about me in that regard that I didn’t think anybody knew but me. He was right on the button. How he ever found out, I’ll never know