Sammy Davis Jr. began taking pictures before he became famous, and continued to do so throughout his career, capturing the Rat Pack at its zenith and pals like Tony Curtis, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe in unguarded moments during the heights of their shared fame. This collection, at once intimate and glossy, focuses on the heady period of the 1960s before Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, two civil rights giants he made the scene with, were shot. Biographer Burt Boyar, a long time pal, enriches the photos with stories from Davis’ life. He doesn’t shy away from his friend’s struggles with racism, ties to the mob and struggles to overcome resistance to interracial romance. According to Boyar, Davis never went anywhere without a camera. Judging by this collection — which captures everything from the March on Washington and whites-only waiting rooms to a backstage moment with Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe — Boyar wasn’t far off.

Photo By Sammy Davis, Jr.

Reviewed at Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, Nov. 21, 2019.