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Sammy Davis Jr.’s epic life reportedly on its way to becoming a miniseries

Photo: David Redfern (Getty Images)

Old-school Hollywood continues to be a treasure trove for movies and TV projects. On the heels of recent productions like Feud and Fosse/Verdon, Deadline reports that Tom Hanks and Lee Daniels apparently want to get in on the TV biopic action with a miniseries about the life of consummate entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. Says Deadline, “The project, titled Sammy, is still in preliminary stages,” but reportedly “the producers are circling the 2003 book In Black And White: The Life Of Sammy Davis, Jr. by Wil Haygood as source material.” Deadline says that Empire and Star creator Daniels has been pushing for an SDJ project since 2013 at HBO, while Hanks’ Playtone company has previously produced successful mini-series like Band Of Brothers, The Pacific, John Adams, and Olive Kitteridge.

Davis’ life certainly could use chronicling: He was a multi-hyphenate entertainment legend, often billed as the greatest in the world. After starting out in Broadway stage shows, Davis’ fame grew exponentially when he became the lone black member of the Rat Pack, starring alongside pals like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in movies like Ocean’s 11 and Robin And The Seven Hoods. At a time when Las Vegas hotels were segregated, Sinatra forced business owners to lift the ban for Davis, essentially desegregating the city. Davis’ affair with Kim Novak brought him death threats, as interracial marriage was prohibited in 30 U.S. states at the time. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965, lost an eye in a car crash in 1955, and was a prolific photographer. Honestly, we hope a mini-series is enough to contain all the many milestone events of Davis’ life.

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Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.