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Our friend Burt Boyar has really outdone himself this time. He's already proven himself, with his late wife, a terrific novelist and is a renowned (auto)biographer of Sammy Davis, Jr.. But this exquisite coffee table book of photograph's taken by Sammy Davis is a real triumph of artistic design. Culled from thousands of pictures Mr. Boyar discovered while working on a film version of Yes, I Can, the images here offer a literally candid camera look at how Sammy saw the world around him, a world populated with the biggest stars of the 50s, 60, & 70s.

As the author observes, the camera afforded Sammy a means of putting some distance between himself and the many people who wanted to get close to him, for reasons good and bad, while his often famous subjects felt comfortable around him in a way they didn't around journalists, and so posed in ways that were more natural or playful than in most of the images we've seen before. In the two months we've had the book out on our coffee table it has served as a seemingly irresistible magnet and once folks start thumbing through it they gush about both the beauty of the layout and about the photos, not so much their quality, which is uneven, but the way they capture the stars of yesteryear. Mr. Boyar's accompanying notes and brief essays are, as one would expect from such a fast friend of the subject, informative and honest, but not prurient.

As is the way with such tomes, this book is a tad pricey, but if you check it out in the bookstore you'll definitely want it and if you bring it home you'll not regret it.


Grade: (A+)


See also:

Burt Boyar (3 books reviewed)
Burt Boyar Links:
    -BOOK SITE :
   -OBIT: Jane Boyar: On March 28, 1997, in Marbella, Spain (NY Times, March 29, 1997
   -ESSAY: How I got into show business (Sammy Davis, Jane Boyar, and Burt Boyar, August 1965, Harper's)
    -BOOK SITE : Hitler Stopped by Franco (FSB Associates)
    -BOOK SITE : Sammy : An Autobiography By Sammy Davis Jr. and Jane and Burt Boyar(FSB Associates)
    -PHOTOS: Candid Man: The secret snaps of Sammy Davis Jr. (Vanity Fair, March 2007)
    -PHOTOS: Slide Show (Tavis Smiley Show)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Burt Boyar: : How Sammy Davis Jr. became a Photographer (Shutterbug Magazine Radio)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Burt Boyar (As it Happens, 2007/05/07, CBC radio)
    -PROFILE: Burt & Sammy (Nobhill Gazette)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW : with Burt Boyar, author of World Class (
    -AUDIO AUTHOR INTERVIEW : Burt Boyar (New Homemaker)
    -ARCHIVES: "burt boyar" (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Everything’s Swinging: Sammy Davis Jr.’s First 35 Years: In Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr., the Rat Packer told his incredible life story—from his uneasy friendship with James Dean to the accident that took his left eye. (HADLEY HALL MEARES, JULY 17, 2020, Vanity Fair)
    -REVIEW: of Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. text by Burt Boyar (Deirdre Donahue, USA Today)
    -REVIEW: of Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. (Benjamin Schwartz, The Atlantic)
    -REVIEW: of Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. (Alan Peppard, Dallas Morning News)
    -REVIEW: of Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. (Erin Petrun, CBS News)
    -REVIEW: of Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. (Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
    -REVIEW: of Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. (Diane Garrett, Variety)
    -REVIEW: of Photo by Sammy Davis Jr. (David Elliot, Bend Weekly)
    -ESSAY: Sammy Davis, Jr.’s Conversion Mishegoss: Sammy Davis Jr.’s conversion to Judaism in 1960 was met with skepticism, derision and yes, jokes by the members of the groups he claimed and embraced. (Matthew Wills, March 9, 2022, J-Stor Daily)

Book-related and General Links:

   -ESSAY: Sammy Davis, Jr. Scores a 'Knockout' (Hollywood Beat, 3/22/07)
    -ESSAY: A High Life After Death? The Candy Man Can (PAT H. BROESKE, 6/03/07, NY Times)
    -ARTICLE: Four films for Sammy Davis Jr. (Star News Services, 6/07/07, Kansas City Star)
    -ARTICLE: Which Sammy Davis Jr. Biopic Will Lead the Pack? (Jette Kernion, 6/04/07, Cinematical)
    -ARTICLE: SAMMY DAVIS JR: Readying a Reprise (Karu F. Daniels, 6/05/07, AOL Black Voices)
    -The Official Sammy Davis, Jr. website
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Sammy Davis Jr. (Imdb)
    -Sammy Davis, Jr. (Wikipedia)
    -OBIT: Sammy Davis Jr. Dies at 64; Top Showman Broke Barriers (PETER B. FLINT, 5/7/1990, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: Jerry Lewis Remembers (Frontline)