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Editorial Reviews

In a compelling audio presentation, narrator Peter Jay Fernandez recounts the life of Sammy Davis, Jr., in a direct and engaging manner. While making each character distinctive, Fernandez's style persuades the listener to become deeply involved in this heartbreaking story. Investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck recounts the tragic life of Davis and how, after his death, his legacy was revived by a former federal prosecutor. The quality of the audio presentation equals the intensity of the story itself.

Publisher's Summary

Sammy Davis Jr. lived a storied life. Adored by millions over a six-decade-long career, he was considered an entertainment icon and a national treasure. But despite lifetime earnings that topped $50 million, Sammy died in 1990 near bankruptcy. His estate was declared insolvent, and there was no possibility of it ever using Sammy's name or likeness again. It was as if Sammy had never existed.

Years later his wife, Altovise, a once-vivacious woman and heir to one of the greatest entertainment legacies of the 20th century, was living in poverty, and with nowhere else to go, she turned to a former federal prosecutor, Albert "Sonny" Murray, to make one last attempt to resolve Sammy's debts, restore his estate, and revive his legacy. For seven years Sonny probed Sammy's life to understand how someone of great notoriety and wealth could have lost everything, and in the process he came to understand Sammy as a man whose complexity makes for a riveting work of celebrity biography as cultural history.

Matt Birkbeck's serious work of investigative journalism unveils the extraordinary story of an international celebrity at the center of a confluence of entertainment, politics, and organized crime, and shows how even Sammy's outsized talent couldn't save him from himself.

©2008 Matt Birkbeck; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
  • Joey
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 09-10-09

Best Book on Audible

All audible books should strive to achieve what this one does! Love the arrangement with the music! Get an inside look at a Hollywood Legend! I have listened to this book about 30 times and can't wait to hear it again. He had another lover in the same house with his wife! Loved white women and marched for civil rights! He idolized Frank Sinatra and in time Frank would come to idolize him. Must read for all.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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This man was a stone fool...

This is an example of wanting to be accepted by the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

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  • Alison St Pierre
  • 09-18-12

The story of Sammy's bank accounts.

Great book for a mathematician or an accountant, (if they fancy a "busman's holiday").

Some interesting insights into his domestic arrangements but the detailed passages are too focussed on his financial affairs. Disappointing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful