Sammy Davis Sr., a vaudeville dancer whose career spanned 40 years and launched his popular entertainer son into show business, died Saturday at his home in California, a family spokesman said. He was 87.
The senior Davis will be eulogized by Sammy Davis Jr., on hiatus from his nationwide "Rat Pack" tour with Frank Sinatra, at services Monday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, said funeral home spokesman Dick Fisher.Davis, the grandson of slaves who was born in 1900 in Wilmington, N.C., died at his Beverly Hills home of natural causes, said Arnold Lipsman, a family spokesman.
Davis began his career before World War I in New York City where he won a series of dance contests.
When his son was born in 1925, Davis was a dancer in Will Mastin's Holiday of Dixieland vaudeville revue. His wife, Elvira, was a chorus girl.
Sammy Jr. first toddled onto a stage in Columbus, Ohio, when he was 18 months old. His surprise walk-on fouled up his parent's dance number but brought down the house.
The youngster soon joined Mastin's family revue and by the time he was 4, was performing with his father on the Orpheum Circuit.