Film, Documentary and TV Series Planned About Rat-Packer Sammy Davis, Jr. | Playbill

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News Film, Documentary and TV Series Planned About Rat-Packer Sammy Davis, Jr. Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios, according to, has acquired global rights to "Deconstructing Sammy," Matt Birkbeck's biography of the late entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr.

The company has plans for a feature film, a documentary and a scripted television series. The latter will focus on Davis' life during the 1960s-80s. All three projects will be developed simultaneously; filming for the motion picture is currently scheduled to begin in the second quarter of the new year.

Birkbeck's 2008 biography, according to Deadline, "tells the story of Davis' small beginnings in Harlem to his struggles with racism and his rise as one of the members of the iconic Rat Pack, his controversial relationship with white actress Kim Novak and then subsequent marriage to Swedish actress May Britt, and his death from cancer, while hangers on basically looted his house while on his deathbed."

"I personally knew and worked with Sammy Davis, Jr.," Allen told the online industry source. "Sammy hired me to open for him at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas when I was a 19-year-old stand-up comedian, and that’s where my fascination with his incredible story began."

In July 2012 reported that producers Arlie Cone and Steven Hayes were developing a new musical based loosely on the life and career of Davis, Jr., entitled I Will, I Can. The creative team included composer Patrick Williams, who was Oscar-nominated for his score for the 1979 film "Breaking Away," librettist Jules Aaron and lyricist Gail Kantor.

Sammy Davis Jr. (1925-1990) was the vivacious Harlem-born triple threat — singer, dancer, actor — seen in nightclubs, on Broadway (Mr. Wonderful and Golden Boy), in films ("Robin and the 7 Hoods," "Sweet Charity," "Ocean's Eleven," "Tap") and heard on recordings. Some of his memorable recordings include "The Candy Man," "Mr. Bojangles," "Gonna Build a Mountain," "I've Gotta Be Me," "Too Close for Comfort," "What Kind of Fool Am I?," among others.

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