Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Jack Entratter, and Frank Sinatra at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in Jack Entratter’s private projection room for the screening of rushes from their film Ocean’s Eleven, c. 1960. Photo by Bob Willoughby
Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop performing in The Copa Room at The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, c. 1960
Frank Sinatra and Shirley Rhodes at Sammy Davis Jr.’s wedding to May Britt, November 13th, 1960. Photo by Bernie Abramson
Frank, Dean and Sammy onstage, c. 1963
When I lost my eye in a car accident, the first place I went—because I had no place to go except the hotel room I was living in then—was to Palm Springs, to Frank. You can have a tendency, at a time like that, for self-pity: ‘Oh, what am I going to do?’ He cut it off by making me laugh. The jokes started when I was in the hospital and they continue today: An eye chart with an inscription: "To Smokey. Practice. Practice." (He calls me Smokey because I smoke so much.) A gift: half a pair of binoculars, with the other half sawed off for Jilly Rizzo, whose bad eye is on the opposite side. The card: "You guys should get together." The only thing Sinatra ever said of a serious nature was, “Don’t worry about nothing”—and that’s the umbrella.
I had lost my equilibrium. He took me to the golf course and made me try to hit the ball. We would sit and he’d say, “What did they teach you in the hospital? Did they give you this thing with pouring water?” And we’d go in the kitchen and he’d make me pour water in a glass. That kind of sensitivity is rare, rare.
Another thing he does is anticipate for you. Meaning that by the time you get around to thinking about it, and go to say, “Frank, there’s something I—” he says, “I’ve taken care of that.” And he knows exactly what you’re talking about because that’s the kind of investment he puts into a friendship.
-Sammy Davis, Jr. on his friendship with Frank Sinatra
Performing in Las Vegas, c. 1965.
Frank Sinatra & Sammy Davis, Jr., 1967
Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra on stage, 1963