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The Shocking reason SAMMY DAVIS JR.never sang at JFK’S White House!
John F. Kennedy was a leader in civil rights, but he banned black superstar Sammy Davis Jr. from performing at the White House because he wed blonde Swedish actress May Britt!
That’s the shocking revelation of Davis and Britt’s daughter Tracey, 52, in her bombshell new book “Sammy Davis Jr.: A Personal Journey with My Father”.
“Sammy expected to entertain JFK and Jackie at the Inaugural Ball,” says a source. “He was crushed when he was shunned by the new President.”
Britt was the second of Davis’ three wives and the love of his life, says their daughter. The couple had Tracey and adopted two sons during their eight year marriage which ended in 1968. But racial prejudice was rampant in the 1960s.
When Sammy wed May, interracial marriages were prohibited in 31 states.
“The announcement of their wedding date inspired death threats and forced Sammy to hire a 24-hour guard,” says a source.
With Rat Pack honcho Frank Sinatra in charge of the inaugural entertainment, Sammy expected to perform for the President.
But a week after the 1960 election, the singer-dancer, who was often called the world’s greatest entertainer, wed Britt over Sinatra’s objections.
“Best pal Frank Sinatra asked Sammy to hold off on the marriage because he was afraid of the white backlash against John F. Kennedy,” says the source.
It would have been considered political suicide back then if voters thought JFK endorsed interracial marriage.
So Sammy lost his chance to entertain the Kennedys.
Ironically, he would later be invited to the White House by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
Still Sammy insisted Sinatra was “never a racist kind of guy. He cared about everybody being equal.”
Sammy, who died of throat cancer at age 64 in 1990, always credited the “My Way” singer for boosting his career.
“When Frank said, ‘This guy’s great,’ they all paid attention,” said Sammy. Sinatra’s famed Rat Pack of pals was headed by Dean Martin and Sammy. The three of them often headlined Las Vegas together and Sammy co-starred with Sinatra in the 1960 “Ocean’s Eleven” flick.
The book also recalls how Sammy was the target of prejudice and beatings by white soldiers when he joined the Army at age 17. He escaped the violence when he was transferred to the Special Services unit to entertain the troops.
“My talent was the weapon, the power, the way for me to fight,” Davis once said. “It was the one way I might hope to affect a man’s thinking. From then on, deep in my heart, soul and spirit, I knew I had to be a star.”