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Photo by Sammy Davis, Jr. Hardcover – February 6, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1 edition (February 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061146056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061146053
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 9.5 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. So often photographs tell the story of—or offer insights into—their subjects, but in this collection of photos taken by Sammy Davis Jr., beginning in the early 1950s, the story told is that of the photographer. Boyar, who co-wrote with his wife, Jane, three autobiographies with Davis (Yes I Can; Why Me?; Sammy), now offers these beautiful archival snapshots that Davis took of his friends, family and acquaintances. "Jerry [Lewis] gave me my first important camera, my first 35 millimeter, during the Ciro's period, early '50s," Boyar quotes Davis. "And he hooked me." The photos that follow are rare shots of his father dancing onstage as part of the Will Mastin Trio; fun, candid snapshots as only a close friend can take of Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Nat "King" Cole and Marilyn Monroe; of politicians (and family members) he associated with, like Robert Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr.; and most touching—and rare—are photos of his one-time wife May Britt and their three children, Tracey, Jeff and Mark. Boyar writes that "Sammy's camera often served as a shield" to gain access to places he couldn't because of his color. Again quoting Davis, "Nobody interrupts a man taking a picture to ask... 'What's that nigger doin' here?' " As an entertainer and photographer, Davis was able to enter into many worlds. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Beautiful archival snapshots . . . As an entertainer and photographer, Davis was able to enter into many worlds.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Great coffee table book.
Reader in LA
This book is interesting because it is full of photos taken by Sammy of famous people that he knew well (like Marilyn Monroe).
R. Carter
My son and daughter-in-law recently gifted me with this book for my birthday...and what a GIFT it is!!!
K. Copeland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. Crayne on March 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sammy Davis, Jr. was one of the GREAT entertainer's of the 20th Century (Judy Garland, Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra are also on that list). The photos are a GREAT record of his life and the people he surrounded himself with. Unfortunately, some of the text was poorly researched.

One passage makes reference to his triumphant CIRO'S comeback show after his 1955 car accident and makes mention of the many stars in attendance, including Clark Gable and his wife Carole Lombard. Impossible, as Carole Lombard was killed in a plane crash, January 1942. A similar mistake is made regarding his opening night party to celebrate the Broadway show GOLDEN BOY in 1965. Another list of stars in attendance at the aftershow party makes mention of Marilyn Monore at this party. She may have been there in spirit as she and Sammy were good friends, but as most people know, Marilyn died in August of 1962. These are simple editing/research errors that should have been easily caught.

Inspite of the text errors, this book is HIGHLY recommended to fans of old Hollywood, the Rat Pack and of Sammy himself.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Interplanetary Funksmanship on September 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Few have personified the phrase "self-made man" as did legendary entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990). The world remembers Davis for his varied and extraordinary accomplishments as an actor, singer, musician, dancer, and comedian.

But hardly anyone outside his circle of friends and family has been familiar with his photography--until now. With this hefty book, interspersed with reminisces by longtime friend Burt Boyar (who co-wrote Davis's autobiographies Yes I Can and Why Me?), his old fans and a new generation can revel in hundreds of images that reveal yet another significant facet of Davis's far-reaching talents.

Though Photo lacks the singular thematic focus of books published by such photographer-celebrities as Dennis Hopper and Gerry Spence, that's no drawback for this posthumously published volume. Rather, it pulls the reader into the exciting world of nightclubs, casinos, and Beverly Hills homes in which Davis moved, mostly from the late 1940s through early '70s. A voracious shutterbug, he took his photography seriously: his compositions are strikingly iconic, employing sophisticated use of line and form. Yet, his pictures are mostly snapshots--in the best sense of the word: they capture their subjects spontaneously, and his joie de vivre suffuses his work. Think of it as a highly stylized family album packed with candid portraits of "Rat Pack" pals Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Shirley MacLaine, as well as other famous friends like Nat "King" Cole, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Sidney Poitier, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jerry Lewis, and Bill Cosby.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul DeZan on March 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was absolutely blown away by this amazing, totally unexpected book of Sammy Davis, Jr.'s extremely intimate personal photography (mostly B&W shot with 35mm rangefinder cameras). We don't have stars like Davis' subjects here anymore, not because ours shine less brilliantly but because WE KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT THEM. Paging through this collection is like a combination of time travel and delicious, mouth-watering voyeurism. I love photography books but this tops almost everything I've seen for both pure fun and historical significance. Assuming, of course, that you think of popular culture as significant. I think it must be, since there's precious little else left in this country today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EFIII on June 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I originally picked up this book as a curiosity and found its links to a bygone era utterly fascinating. The subject matter, i.e., rat pack photos were wonderful but the photographic mastery of Davis Jr. is, I think, equally as stunning. A look into Davis Jr.'s remarkable life is given by him in the way, like other great photographers, he insightfully choses to document and communicate with his subjects through the lens. Again, like many great photographers, the images are powerful and soft, crisp and dazzling. More talent revealed from a man who had more in his baby finger than most of us have coursing through our entire bodies.
Bravo. Well done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Drutman on March 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding collection of photos taken personally by Sammy Davis Jr. It is a larger then life recap of not only his personal career but also gives us a glimpse at the personal lives of Sinatra,Martin,Lewis Kennedy,Lawford, Bishop and the whole "Rat Pack" as well as Shirley MClaine and Marilyn Monroe, just to name a few.I would highly recommend it to those individuals that really appreciated the careers and lives of so many of the super stars of that era that touched his life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One of the multi-talented Sammy Davis' interests was photography. Beginning in the mid-1940s, he began snapping shots of fellow show biz entertainers, famous people and other subjects. A decade-and-a-half after Davis' death, his long-time friend Burt Boyar selected several hundred of Davis' b&w and color photographs, added a lengthy biographical narrative and published PHOTO BY SAMMY DAVIS, JR. in 2007.

PHOTO BY SAMMY DAVIS, JR. is a hefty book, maxing out at 338 pages. In one respect, it's a marvelous, nostalgic trip down 'Entertainment Lane.' Snaps of Frank, Dean, Joey Bishop, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Jerry Lewis, Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan, etc. give the reader a rare, behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood, Vegas and Broadway. Seeing so many of those storied performers in their prime is a treat. Other photos show Martin Luther King and assorted people and events connected with the 1960s civil rights movement along with generic shots of various subjects (slums, bums on a street, views from a hotel window, life in the Davis family, etc.).

Photo quality varied. Some shots were right on the mark; others, not so great. Boyar's reminiscences were a definite plus, offering insights into a very complex individual.

Depending on your expectations, PHOTO BY SAMMY DAVIS, JR. should be of interest. While some of the photos aren't that greatest technically, the combination of rare images and affectionate memories will bring the talented Mr. Davis to life once again. Recommended.
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