Sammy Davis Jr biopic in limbo over rights battle
In his lifetime, Sammy Davis Jr. created a lot of controversy, including his mixed marriage to May Britt in the turbulent sixties. Upon his death, it was revealed that the chain smoker was deeply in debt, so much so that his widow had to sell nearly everything in the estate and go to work herself to pay off the vast amount of monies owed to creditors.
Yet, Sammy was a highly respected entertainer, a multi-talented man whose start in show business was as a young child in Vaudeville. Ultimately, he became one of the most successful singers of his day, in addition to being regarded as a talented actor. He appeared in numerous theatrical films and TV shows over the years. He was also part of the noted Rat Pack, the Hollywood group led by Frank Sinatra that included Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford until Lawford's association with John Kennedy failed to get Sinatra what he wanted. Sammy was a fast draw and loved to do westerns, had a glass eye due to a car wreck, was a friend of Elvis Presley's, was a workaholic, reportedly once had a contract out on his life, and even when his life was ebbing due to throat cancer surprised everyone when he got up and tap danced at a tribute in his honor.
His life is one that movies are made for. In fact, there are two two studios now battling it out for the right to make the story of Sammy's life. Rick Appling has filed a lawsuit for a whopping $35 million against Byron Allen Productions claiming that he, Appling, owns the rights to Sammy's story. The defendant, however, claims he bought the rights from the estate and has the go ahead to make the movie.
Whoever wins the lawsuit, the story of Sammy Davis Jr. is bound to be an interesting one, with plenty of romance and drama. Hopefully, they'll get it right.