Lee Daniels is working on bringing viewers the final season of “Empire” and his other television show “Star” is no more. He still knows how to garner interest for television and so does Tom Hanks. The two executives will be working on bringing the life of black entertainment pioneer, Sammy Davis Jr., to the screen.
According to Deadline, Daniels has wanted to take on a Sammy Davis Jr. project for quite some time and plans to deliver a biopic miniseries.
The main source for the project will be Wil Haygood’s 2003 book In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr. for inspiration. Deadline also reports that there have been multiple attempts to get a Davis project in the works but nothing has quite developed.
It’s still in the early stages, but Daniels will have the task of recreating the troubling times that Davis rose to fame. It occurred during a time of heavy segregation and ethnic division. His inclusion in the Rat Pack—comprised of Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop—shifted his celebrity and he later starred in films like Sergeants 3 and Oceans 11.
Sammy Davis Jr. was a child prodigy who ran in Hollywood circles when it was very rare to see an African American with such grace and pull. He was a forefather for the entertainers we have today in urban entertainment such as Marin Lawrence.
He was also a big draw for television shows such as “All In The Family”, “The Jeffersons”, and “The Cosby Show”. The writers and production teams would always paint him in the highest regard. He was also beloved by the likes of child stars of his day such as Michael Jackson.
His relationships with white actresses also created controversies in his personal life and career. After he and Kim Novak became an item, Columbia Pictures’s co-founder, president, and production director Harry Cohn threatened to kill Davis. In order to save his own life, he reportedly married a black woman as a cover.
There was a special tribute back in the early 1990’s where Sammy Davis Jr. spoke about the classic song “Mr. Bojangles”. The essence of the song was very epic as it illustrated the life of an entertainer with its trials and tribulations.