Sammy Davis Jr. Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Earnings

Sammy Davis Jr. Net Worth 

Sammy Davis Jr. had an estimated net worth of $5 million at death. Sammy Davis Jr. was a highly popular actor, comedian, singer and dancer. He was also part of the Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, with whom he starred in several films. He earned most of his income from his music and movies. 

Sammy Davis Jr. overcame racism to become an entertainment legend, working as a successful comedian, actor, dancer, and singer. Davis was known as part of the Rat Pack, alongside Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, for films such as Ocean’s 11 and Sergeants 3 as well as his partying ways. His refusal to perform in any clubs that practiced racial segregation led to the integration of several venues in Miami Beach and Las Vegas as his fame grew. Davis, a Tony Award nominee, was also associated with popular recordings such as “I’ve Gotta Be Me” and the No. 1 hit “The Candy Man.” On May 16, 1990, he died of throat cancer.

To calculate the net worth of Sammy Davis Jr., subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Sammy Davis Jr.
Net Worth: $5 Million
Monthly Salary: $70 Thousand
Annual Income: $1 Million
Source of Wealth: Singer, Dancer, Actor, Musician, Entertainer

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Childhood on the Road

Samuel George Davis Jr. was born on December 8, 1925, in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, and was raised by his paternal grandmother at first. Davis’s parents divorced when he was three, and he moved in with his father, who worked as an entertainer in a dance troupe. Davis was brought along on tour with his father and adopted uncle, and after learning to tap, the three began performing together. They were eventually known as the Will Mastin Trio.

Davis never received a formal education as a result of the group’s itinerant lifestyle, though his father did occasionally hire tutors while they were on the road. During their 1930s travels, the young Davis not only became an accomplished dancer, but also a skilled singer, multi-instrumentalist, and comedian, and he quickly became the show’s star. During this time, Davis also made his film debut, dancing in the 1933 short Rufus Jones for President.

Davis’s career was cut short in 1943, at the height of World War II, when he was drafted into the Army. During his service, he was subjected to horrifying racial prejudice that his father had previously shielded him from. White soldiers constantly harassed and physically abused him, with his fellow servicemen breaking his nose. But Davis eventually found refuge in an entertainment regiment, where he discovered that performing gave him a sense of safety and a desire to win the love of even the most hateful audience member.

Rising Star

Davis returned to show business after the war. He continued to perform as the star of the Will Mastin Trio and also struck out on his own, singing in nightclubs and recording records. His career took off in 1947, when the trio opened for Frank Sinatra (with whom Davis would remain a lifelong friend and collaborator) at New York’s Capitol Theatre. A tour with Mickey Rooney followed, as did a performance that caught Decca Records’ attention, and Davis was signed to a recording contract in 1954.

Davis was seriously injured in a car accident later that year while driving to Los Angeles for a soundtrack recording. He lost an eye in the accident and would need to wear a glass eye for the rest of his life. His recuperation also allowed him to reflect deeply. He converted to Judaism shortly after, seeing similarities in the oppression of African American and Jewish communities.

Davis’ rise was unaffected by his injury. In 1955, his first two albums, Starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Sammy Davis Jr. Sings Just for Lovers, were released to critical acclaim and commercial success, leading to headlining performances in Las Vegas and New York, as well as appearances in films and television shows such as Anna Lucasta (1958, with Eartha Kitt), Porgy and Bess (1959, with Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier), and The Frank Sinatra Show (1959, with Dorothy (1958). Davis also made his Broadway debut around this time, co-starring in the 1956 hit musical Mr. Wonderful with members of his family and another legendary dancer, Chita Rivera.

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The Rat Pack and Beyond

By 1960, Davis was already a star. But he was also a member of the legendary Rat Pack, which included Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, the hard-partying superstars of the Las Vegas and Los Angeles nightclub scene. Davis appeared with members of the Rat Pack in the films Ocean’s 11 (1960), Sergeants 3 (1962) and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964). Davis also appeared in films outside the pack, including A Man Called Adam (1966), in which he starred opposite Louis Armstrong. He was also memorable in Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity (1969, with Shirley MacLaine), in which Davis appeared as the charismatic, singing, strutting guru Big Daddy.

The iconic artist also released a slew of albums on the Decca and Reprise labels. (Davis was the first artist signed to the latter label, which was founded by Sinatra.) Davis was nominated for a Grammy for Record of the Year for the song “What Kind of Fool Am I,” which also reached the Top 20 on the Billboard pop chart. Davis also consistently received accolades for his stage performances, as evidenced by his Tony Award-nominated performance in the 1964 musical Golden Boy.

In 1966, the entertainer hosted his own short-lived variety series, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Years later, he again hosted the syndicated talk show Sammy and Company from 1975-77.

Social Activism

Despite what appeared to be a carefree playboy lifestyle, Davis was driven by a lifetime of racial prejudice to use his celebrity for political purposes. During the 1960s, he became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, taking part in the 1963 March on Washington and refusing to perform at racially segregated nightclubs, for which he is credited with assisting in the integration of Las Vegas and Miami Beach. Davis also defied prevailing bigotry by marrying Swedish actress May Britt at a time when interracial marriages were illegal in 31 states. (In fact, President John F. Kennedy requested that the couple not attend his inauguration in order to avoid upsetting white Southerners.)

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To the End

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Davis maintained his prolific output. He continued his musical career, releasing albums well into the late 1970s and scoring his first #1 chart hit with “Candy Man” in 1972. Davis appeared in films such as The Cannonball Run (1981), starring Burt Reynolds and Roger Moore, and Tap (1989), starring Gregory Hines. He appeared on numerous television shows, including The Tonight Show, The Carol Burnett Show, All in the Family, and The Jeffersons, as well as the soap operas General Hospital and One Life to Live. And Davis returned to Broadway in the summer of 1978 in Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, though some critics were put off by what they saw as hammed up performances.

While his career continued, with Davis embarking on a lauded tour with Sinatra and Liza Minnelli in the late ’80s, his health began to deteriorate. Davis was a heavy smoker, and doctors discovered a tumor in his throat in 1989. In the fall of that year, he gave his final performance at Lake Tahoe’s Harrah’s casino.

Davis underwent radiation therapy shortly after. The disease appeared to be in remission at the time, but it was later discovered to have returned. Sammy Davis Jr. died on May 16, 1990, at the age of 64, at his home in Beverly Hills, California. Prior to his death, he was honored by a diverse group of his peers during a February television tribute.

Personal Life and Biographies

Davis was seriously involved with bombshell actress Kim Novak in the 1950s, but their relationship was fraught with controversy due to the racial climate of the time. Davis married three times, first to singer Loray White and then to Britt in 1960, with whom he had a biological daughter and two adopted sons. By the end of the decade, the couple had divorced, and Davis remarried in 1970 to dancer Altovise Gore, who remained with him until his death. They also adopted another son.

Davis struggled with addictions for much of his life, succumbing to alcohol and drug abuse after his divorce from Britt and having a major gambling problem that ate up millions of dollars, despite the harshness of his early years.

Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis Jr., his well-known autobiography, was published in 1965, followed by Why Me? in 1980. Sammy, another autobiography, was published posthumously in 2000, and In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr., a comprehensive biography by Wil Haygood, was published in 2003.

Further Reading

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