Sammy Davis Jr.

external image Sammy%20Davis%20Jr.jpg

The Legend's Biography

December 8, 1925
African-American singer, dancer, and actor is born in New York, New York
Parents split and only lives with dad; Becomes member of Will Mastin Trio (with Will Mastin and dad)—does “flash dancing”
Becomes star of the trio—meets “Bojangles” Robinson, Frank Sinatra, and Big Band leaders
Stars in two movies: Rufus Jones for President and Seasoned Greetings
World War II
Serves in the “Entertainment Unit”—faced with racial prejudices for the first time
Returns from WWII and rejoins the trio—gradually finds other business (movies/singing solo)
First singing contract—title scene of Just for Lovers
Near-death of car accident in a desert in CA—loses left eye (gets a glass one later) and becomes Jewish
Marries interracially- Swedish woman named Mai Britt—frowned upon
Becomes “certified” superstar of movies/songs*, joining the Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra and other jazzy singers; takes part in Black Power/other liberal movements
Experiences liver and kidney damage—spends beginning of the 70s in hospital
Realizing how short life is, begins to rush his career and take part in more Broadway plays, movies, albums, re-occurring roles in TV Shows (General Hospital, One Life to Live, Love of Life, Tattletales, Family Fued, Cardshark)
September 1989
Diagnosed with throat cancer—under control until March
February 4th, 1990
Two and a half-hour television tribute—26 entertainers
March 1990
Cancerous tumor returns and is incurable—Sinatra visits: “softball size tumor giving of a horrible odor”
May 16th, 1990
Dies, due to the cancer, at his home in Los Angeles
*Famous Songs, Movies, Plays, and Awards:,_Jr.

Throat Cancer

~Excessive reproduction of cells in the pharynx (hollow tube from the nose-esophagus), nasopharynx (part of pharynx behind the nose),
oropharynx (middle part of the pharynx), hypopharynx (bottom part of the pharynx), or larynx ("voice-box" or vocal cords)
~2 Types: Laryngeal or Pharyngeal
external image stages-of-throat-cancer.jpg
  • Caused By:
    • Long-term heartburn
    • Tobacco/Alcohol
    • Overweight
    • Little consumption of fruits and vegetables
    • Older Age
    • Gender (men are 3x more likely)
  • Symptoms:
    • Painful lump in throat/Swelling of neck
    • Red/Whiteness of the mouth
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Long/Recurring cough and coughing up blood
    • Hoarseness/Change of voice
    • Bad breath
    • Pain in ear
  • Surgery: partial/entire removal of throat
  • Chemotherapy/Radiation: focused damage upon the cancerous cells
  • Speech and Language Pathologists: to overcome swallowing problems
  • Dietitians: to help patient acquire necessary supplements
  • Affects 6% of men and 2% of women
  • Affects about 10,000 people in the U.S each year

Average Incident Rates from 2004-2007
All Races
6.0 per 100,000 men
1.3 per 100,000 women
6.0 per 100,000 men
1.3 per 100,000 women
9.8 per 100,000 men
1.9 per 100,000 women
Asian/Pacific Islander
2.2 per 100,000 men
0.3 per 100,000 women
American Indian/Alaska Native
2.8 per 100,000 men

4.2 per 100,000 men
0.6 per 100,000 women
  • Death Rates in 2007
    • Under 20 years old (y.o)= 0%
    • 20-34 y.o= .1%
    • 35-44 y.o= 1.7%
    • 45-54 y.o= 11.7%
    • 55-64 y.o= 25.2%
    • 65-74 y.o= 28.9%
    • 75-84 y.o= 23.8%
    • 85+ y.o= 8.6%

Sammy's Fight With Cancer

When Sammy Davis Jr. was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1989, he had the choice to either have it removed or leave it as such. He chose to leave it, and eventually, as 1989 carried on, his throat was getting larger and more cancerous to the point where his doctors decided that it was necessary that Davis has surgery upon his throat. After surgery, his cancer began to settle down until March of 1990. That was when it had returned, just more powerful. His cancer was powerful enough to withstand the radiation and chemotherapy that was provided. His doctors decided to release Davis because there was nothing else they could do. Finally, on May 16th of that year, Sammy Davis Jr. passed away.
Throughout his lifetime, Sammy Davis Jr. was being exposed to more risk factors that made him susceptible to the cancer. One major factor was that his movie/play career involved a lot of drinking and smoking. Davis also drank and smoked outside of his job anyway. Additionally, his singing career could have also put him at risk for throat cancer because of the constant strain and weakening the immunity in his throat for the past sixty years of his career. Upon his death, Sammy Davis Jr's family and friends opened up the Sammy Davis Junior Foundation. Although it has nothing to do with his cancer, it was established to preserve the legacy of Davis and help future young artists.(

Content Bibliography
The American Cancer Society. N.p., 14 June 2010. Web. 5 May 2011. <
“Sammy Davis Jr.” Find a Death. N.p., Feb. 2005. Web. 5 May 2011.
“Sammy Davis, Jr.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Apr. 2011. Web. 5 May 2011.
“Sammy Davis Jr. Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Advameg, 2011. Web. 5 May
2011. <‌Co-Da/‌Davis-Jr-Sammy.html>.
Sammy Davis Jr’s 60th Celebration. ABC. 4 Feb. 1990. YouTube. Web. 5 May 2011.
“Throat Cancer.” Cancer Treatment Centers of America. N.p., 31 Aug. 2007. Web. 5 May 2011.
“Throat Cancer.” National Cancer Institute. N.p., 2010. Web. 5 May 2011.