Home Celebrity Exclusive: “Butler” Director Lee Daniels Circling Sammy Davis Jr. Film for HBO

Exclusive: Will he have to call it “Lee Daniels’ Sammy Davis Jr”? Let’s hope not. But the word I’m hearing is that Lee Daniels is circling a project about Sammy Davis Jr. at HBO. Recently there’s been some talk about Tommy Davidson of “In Living Color” fame playing Davis, but nothing had come together. The Sammy story is rife with rights issues including who is the estate, who isn’t, which books are optioned, who owns what. Davis had the most extraordinary life, including the Rat Pack days of course, his early career, his controversial marriage to May Britt. Daniels is hot hot hot right now with “The Butler.” This has Emmy Awards written all over it. PS Whoever plays Sammy will have to top Don Cheadle’s great performance several seasons ago in “The Rat Pack.” And no, versatile though he is, Al Pacino is not up for this!

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
2 replies to this post
  1. this would be a great story to portray. to see how Davis did it and survived during very trying times and to sing along side amongst the greats of that time period and not be seen as a person of color when he got on stage. his performances silenced any color ragers, at least until it was over

  2. Everybody should read the great book, Deconstructing Sammy Davis Jr.” which is about the attorney who did a forensic accounting of Sammy’s estate and where the money went. It also focuses a great deal on Altovise his widow and she does not come off too good.

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