Samuel George Davis, Jr., better known as Sammy Davis, Jr. (December 8, 1925 ? May 16, 1990) was an American entertainer. He was a dancer, singer, multi-instrumentalist (playing vibraphone, trumpet, and drums), impressionist, comedian, convert to Judaism, and Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor. He was a member of the 1960s Rat Pack, which was led by his old friend Frank Sinatra, and included fellow performers Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
Davis, Jr. was born in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York to Elvera Sanchez, a dancer, and Sammy Davis, Sr., an African-American entertainer. The couple were both dancers in vaudeville. As an infant, he was raised by his paternal grandmother. When he was three years old, his parents split up. His father, not wanting to lose custody of his son, took him on tour. During his lifetime Sammy Davis, Jr. stated that his mother was Puerto Rican and born in San Juan . However, in his 2003 biography In Black and White, author Wil Haygood writes that Elvera Sanchez was not born in Puerto Rico, but instead in New York City, the daughter of Cuban Americans Marco Sanchez and Luisa Aguiar. Haygood, who conducted over 250 interviews for his biography , states that the reason Davis claimed he was Puerto Rican stemmed from fear that anti-Cuban backlash resulting from the Cuban Missile Crisis would hurt his record sales.