Sammy Davis Jr. was born December 8, 1925.
He began his career at the age of 3; performing with his father in vaudeville all across the country. After serving in WWII, he returned to show biz and performed widely in the nightclub scene of the 1940’s and 50’s. In 1960, he appeared in the first Rat Pack film, Ocean’s 11 and in 1966 started his own TV variety show, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show.
His career slowed in the late 60’s, but in 1972 he had a hit record, “The Candy Man,” which revitalized his career and re- established him as one of the supreme entertainers in Las Vegas, earning him the nickname, “Mister Show Business.”
His life came to an end May 16, 1990.
He died of throat cancer.
What Sammy Davis Jr. taught me about leaving a legacy wasn’t so much about what he did during his life, but what he did before his death.
Gregory Hines, in his own right a world class entertainer, came to see his friend and mentor just days before his death.
As Mr. Hines would later tell the story, after spending a brief time together, he said his goodbye and headed to the door, then turned to look back at Sammy for the last time . . .
and that’s when the unexpected happened.
Sammy Davis (who couldn’t speak because of his throat cancer) picked up an imaginary ball and threw it to Gregory Hines. Gregory caught it, tucked it under his arm, gave Sammy a smile and walked out of the room.
What does this story have to do with leaving a legacy? EVERYTHING!
The kind of life we build and the people we pass it on to – will determine the legacy we leave. It’s really that simple. (It’s not necessarily that easy but it really is that simple.)
So how about you?
What kind of life are you building and who are you passing it on to? How you answer that question will determine your legacy. Let’s leave a good one.
Living For A Legacy That Counts
Ken L Roberts
P.S. For some heart-warming entertainment, watch this clip of Gregory Hines paying tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. by first tap dancing for him and then tap dancing with him. It’s worth the watch.