Photo of Sammy Davis Jr. Sammy Davis Jr.

Born Dec. 8, 1925, in New York City, Sammy Davis Jr. spent his childhood performing with his father on the vaudeville circuit and made his film debut at age 7 in Rufus Jones for President (1933).

After serving in World War II, he returned to the United States with a deeper desire than ever to be famous, establishing a successful recording career and a relationship with the high-profile Rat Pack, which led to roles in Ocean's Eleven (1960), Sergeants 3 (1962), Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) and Salt and Pepper (1968). Davis made his Broadway debut in 1956 in the semiautobiographical musical "Mr. Wonderful" and earned a Tony nomination in 1964 for his performance in the musical version of Clifford Odets's "Golden Boy."

He returned to the stage in 1978 with a revival of "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off." A longtime cigar smoker, he died May 16, 1990, of throat cancer.

Sammy Davis Jr. in Ocean's Eleven

Ocean's Eleven

1960 NR

Frank Sinatra leads an all-star cast as Danny Ocean, who decides to knock over a few casinos on the Las Vegas Strip with his buddies -- including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford -- in one of the merriest heist movies ever. The summit meeting of Sinatra's "Rat Pack" cronies, this comic caper was filmed on location in Vegas during the daylight-hour downtime between the real-life group's ongoing gig at the Sands Hotel.

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