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Sammy Davis Jr's Home Was Looted!

By Billy Ingram

Sammy Davis Jr's houes in Beverly HillsSammy Davis Jr's home was looted as he lay dying according to author Matt Birkbeck who's biography of the Las Vegas legend, Deconstructing Sammy, is one of the finest books ever written about an entertainer.

Diagnosed with throat cancer in August of 1989, Sammy Davis Jr. was heavily (and perpetually) in debt and unable to work.

"Right before that," Birkbeck explains, "He'd been in the middle of a tour with Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli called 'The Ultimate Event' tour. And the tour was designed to, at least publicly, help get Sammy Davis Jr. out of debt. In reality, it was nothing more than, you know, let's say a business effort on the part of Frank Sinatra and his people, to where he got the lion's share of the proceeds, Sammy got a basic contract rate to perform and he wasn't necessarily making the money he thought he would. He was hoping that the proceeds from the tour would be used to cancel out his debt and then he can move on from that."

By the time of his terminal cancer diagnosis, Sammy was in terrible financial shape, with the IRS closing in. "Sammy had a large entourage that stayed with him for years," Birkbeck says. "And he also had people coming in and out of his home for years, this was the home he had in Beverly Hills for 20 years, that he bought in the early-1970s. And over the course of his life in his home in Beverly Hills he had politicians, he had athletes come, other celebrities. You name it, people had been there. He also had a slew of mobsters that would come in and out.

"Once everyone realized that Sammy was going to die, when the cancer diagnosis was terminal, things started disappearing from his home. Everyone was taking it, they were looting it, from his manager, Shelly Rhodes, to his office staff, and even his wife Altovise. Altovise saw other people taking stuff so she started taking stuff, shipping stuff overseas, she's taking jewelry, she's taking cash, she's taking money. And even after he died and before he was buried she took his glass eye." That famous glass eye was given to an attorney friend of the family.

The home was looted of paintings, gold chains, and show business memorabilia including a pair of shoes gifted to him by Marylin Monroe. A tragic end to one of the greatest performers who ever lived. Sammy Davis, Jr. had made $50 million during his career with (and without) The Rat Pack but died impoverished and heavily in debt to the IRS.

Frank Sinatra, who canceled the remainder of a weeklong concert series at Radio City Music Hall after learning of Davis' death on May 16, 1990, said: "A heaven with his magic gives me warmth. Sam was the best friend a man could have. He was a class act and I will miss him forever." Liza Minelli stated, "He was the entertainer we all strived to live up to. I never saw anyone give so much."

Jerry Lewis wept as he spoke, "I lost a brother. The whole world is a lot less now than when we had him."

The interview with Matt Birkbeck :

Sammy Davis Jr.'s Daughter Chronicles
the Entertainment Legend's Life In her 2014 Book:


 

 

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