Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me , airing tonight on PBS’ American Masters series , is the first major documentary to examine the performer’s vast career and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20 th -century America.
The documentary features exclusive interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, as well as never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection, and rare footage from his performances in television, film and concert.
*The performer was drafted after World War II into one of the first integrated units in the Army, where he was brutally beaten and subject to racist slurs from his fellow soldiers.
Yes I Can: The Sammy Davis, Jr. Songbook , willfeature a diverse cast of acting/singing/dancing/choreography talents, including Harriett D. Foy ( Amazing Grace ), Jared Grimes ( After Midnight ) , Max Kumangai (Waitress ), Matthew Saldivar ( Bernhardt/Hamlet ) and Betsy Wolfe ( Falsettos ).
In the 1960s, he conquered Las Vegas with the Rat Pack, but then made the huge decision to abandon that lucrative career for Broadway with the groundbreaking racially charged Golden Boy.
The playlist of his career—which highlighted magnificent songs by the Gershwins, Strouse and Adams, Newley and Bricusse—demonstrates the artistry of a superstar who wielded the American songbook to change the world and his place in it.”
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