Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Have Yourself a Sammy, Jr. Xmas

I've had a stomachache lately, so a pal sent me this:


Mavis Martini said...

Sammy Claus forever! I just bought "Deconstructing Sammy" and I need a happy moment. There.

William Daniels said...

Bill from UCafe:

I will certainly make a banner and link and see if I can encourage a couple others to do the same. If I can get a donation in I would love to be a part. Can be hard from me form China as, for some reason, my bank so far is not allowing me to create a Pay Pal account with my American account, which really has little in it, but it is nice to have an active US account. Let me see what I can to be a part of the process. I certainly believe in what you are doing.


Keith said...

I love this. I had seen it on another blog or so. It's been making the rounds. I posted it myself on my Dino Lounge blog. It's really cool. Plus I really dig Sammy.

Donna Lethal said...

Note: Bill's commenting on the Willie Best pledge drive, not Sammy!

Mavis Martini said...

I was wondering what I was missing. Well, Sammy did need cash at the end...Poor Altovise!

Tarno said...

Great video...I just read Deconstructing Sammy and I'm shocked at how twisted Sammy's life was behind the scenes. And Donald Rumsfeld, WUWT?
Great book. Couldn't put it down.
Here's the NY Times review.

Music, Money, Madness, and the Mob.
By Matt Birkbeck.
Amistad/HarperCollins, $25.95.

“Deconstructing Sammy” was written by an investigative journalist, and it shows: Birkbeck has killer leads, gripping kickers and sensational descriptions. This cinematic book reads more like a detective story than a traditional “life of.” It revolves around Sonny Murray, a federal prosecutor and the son of the founders of the Hillside Inn, a famous black-owned hotel in the Poconos. Murray takes it upon himself to get Sammy Davis Jr.’s alcoholic widow, Altovise, sober, and to solve the mystery of the star’s enormous I.R.S. debt: $7 ­million-plus. How, Murray wonders, could a man with boundless talent, who worked almost every day of his life and grossed more than $50 million, die owing so much money? In the course of his rigorous and emotional investigation, Murray learns that Davis became an entertainer because he believed that “by entertaining, he could make all the hurt feelings go away.” He had plenty of those, having been subjected to horrible prejudice and racial violence in the Army. He turned to Judaism after losing his eye in a car accident: “He believed Jews and blacks suffered similarly, and he found comfort in the Torah and its teachings.” With less success, he later turned to cocaine, Satanism and orgies. In the end, Murray cracks the case and saves the widow — sort of. He discovers Davis was so eager to please that he trusted some truly awful people, and no one who had his best interests at heart. As he lay dying in 1990, Birkbeck says, his supposed friends were looting his home. Davis led a rich life — performing as part of the Rat Pack, marching with Martin Luther King, winning a Kennedy Center Honor — but because of the mishandling of his affairs, his legacy has suffered. The book has a stark moral: for a performer without business acumen or good management, all the talent in the world can’t guarantee immortality.

Ada Calhoun is the editor in chief of, a blogger for AOL News and a frequent contributor to the Book Review.

Donna Lethal said...

Ooh, I haven't read that one. I've read his autobios. Must put it on the list!