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Deconstructing Sammy: Music, Money, Madness, and the Mob
Sammy Davis, Jr. lived a storied life. Adored by millions over a six-decade career, he was considered an entertainment icon and a national treasure. But despite lifetime earnings that topped $50 million, Sammy died in 1990 near bankruptcy. His estate was declared insolvent, and his home and possessions were later sold at auction. Because of the debt,...
Sammy Davis, Jr. lived a storied life. Adored by millions over a six-decade career, he was considered an entertainment icon and a national treasure. But despite lifetime earnings that topped $50 million, Sammy died in 1990 near bankruptcy. His estate was declared insolvent, and his home and possessions were later sold at auction. Because of the debt, particularly more than $7 million owed to the IRS, there was no possibility ever using Sammy's name or likeness again. It was as if Sammy never existed. Years later his widow Altovise lived on the grounds of the Hillside Inn in Pennsylvania- the oldest black-owned resort in the nation.This once vivacious woman and heir to one of the greatest entertainment legacies of the 20th Century lived in poverty and was abandoned by Hollywood. With nowhere else to go, she turned to the Hillside's co-owner and a former federal prosecutor, Albert "Sonny" Murray, to make one last attempt to resolve Sammy's debts and clear his name. For seven years Sonny probed Sammy's life, digging deeper and deeper to understand how someone of great notoriety, wealth and celebrity could have lost everything. What he eventually discovered shook him to the core.
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