1986 portrait by Allan Warren
On May 16, 1990 I cried for someone I had never met. It was the one and only time I ever cried over a celebrity. You've had stories about growing up on the fringes of entertainment and how there are rarely stars in my eyes over stars other than being grateful for the joy they bring. There was one exception. He had been part of my consciousness from before the dawn of rock and roll with variety shows featuring "My Daddy, My Uncle and Me"; the earliest hit songs such as "Hey There"; as a member of the Rat Pack and the ring a ding ding of the Vegas years. Most of all he was my birthday present. Every year at least once a year, come hell or high water, sometime in the Spring my seat was planted in an Orchestra Seat to see Sammy Davis, Jr. live. With my unending admiration for the very few geniuses of unbelievable gifts that we get to see in life, I adored this man I never knew or met except under an "Up In One" and whose talent I still miss more than two decades later.
He appeared in more than 35 movies: dramas, comedies, and musicals between 1933 and 1990. He was nominated for three Grammy's and posthumously was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2001 with induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. He was nominated for five Emmy's and won once for And now I'm tearing up a bit again.
Thank goodness for the videos that make it possible for Sammy to come back and dance.