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Stephen Schochet




Sammy Davis Jr. Found Religion

by Stephen Schochet


In 1954, Sammy Davis Junior converted his religion to Judaism, which led to him being the subject of several anecdotes. One time he boarded a bus in the deep, segregated south. "Git to the back of the bus", said the rude driver." But I'm Jewish", protested the entertainer. "Then get off."

Another time Sammy was filming the musica Porgy And Bess (1959) when he announced he would not work on Yom Kippur. When the news reached Porgy's frugal producer Sam Goldwyn, he immediately called his idle performer who was costing him $30,000. "Sammy, is it true? You refuse to work on the holiday?"

"Yes it's true Sam."

There was a tense pause then Goldwyn said," Bless You."

While he hosted 1971 Oscars Sammy remarked," Tonight, the academy honors both my peoples with Fiddler On The Roof and Shaft."

There was one occasion when Sammy Davis Junior questioned his conversion. He and Frank Sinatra reluctantly agreed to perform at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas; shaing the stage with the old MGM Lion in between them. They were assured it would be safe, the lion would be handled by a trainer with a choke chain. In the middle of the number, the famous beast looked at Sammy and licked its lips. The animal hunched back like it was going to leap, and the 110 pound frightened entertainer made the Sign of the Cross. Luckily nothing happened. Later after the show they were having drinks in the lobby and Sinatra said nervously," Boy, I thought that cat was going to come after you there-- Hey Smokey, didn't you turn Jewish? Why did you make the Sign of the Cross when the cat came at ya?"

"Well Babe, I didn't think I would have time to make the Star of David!"



Stephen Schochet is the author of the upcoming book

Hollywood Stories: Short Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies. He is also the author of two acclaimed audiobooks

Tales of Hollywood: Hear the Origins of Hollywood!


Fascinating Walt Disney: Hear How Walt Disney's Dreams Came True!

These entertaining gift items are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, 1-800-431-1579 or wherever books are sold.

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