Lionel Richie Is Producing a Sammy Davis Jr. Biopic - Davis' Family/Estate Involved
Photo Credit: Sammy Davis Jr.
Film

Lionel Richie Is Producing a Sammy Davis Jr. Biopic - Davis' Family/Estate Involved

Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr.

In late 2015, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, Inc. announced its acquisition of the global media rights to “Deconstructing Sammy,” Matt Birkbeck’s critically-acclaimed biography of legendary entertainer, Sammy Davis, Jr.

Entertainment Studios said it would produce the Davis story as a motion picture, a scripted television series, and a documentary. The scripted television series will look at the world of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s from the point of view of Sammy Davis, Jr.



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“I personally knew and worked with Sammy Davis, Jr.,” said Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios. “Sammy hired me to open for him at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas when I was a 19-year-old standup comedian, and that’s where my fascination with his incredible story began. ‘Deconstructing Sammy’ is an amazing work of literature. It is the perfect foundation for a movie, a scripted television series, and a documentary about this legendary global icon.”

Production was set to begin in the second quarter of 2016, but there haven’t been any updates since the initial announcement, so the status of the film or TV series aren’t known at this time.

Announced today, there’s another Sammy Davis Jr. project in the works – this one has the approval of the Sammy Davis Jr. estate. The project, a feature film that will be based on Davis’ 1965 memoir “Yes I Can: The Story Of Sammy Davis, Jr.,” is being led by Lionel Richie, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mike Menchel.

Lionel Richie has this to say about the project: “It’s an honor for me to bring the life of one of my idols and friends to the screen. I’m so grateful to be working closely with the Davis family on this and couldn’t be happier to be moving forward on this passion project.”

“Sammy’s life story is an unparalleled tale of what can be achieved with unbridled perseverance and talent,” adds di Bonaventura. “It is at its essence a uniquely American story of one man’s ability to use his talents to reach the pinnacle of his profession.”



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Davis’ children – 4 sons and a daughter — are all involved in the making of the film, with his estate administrator (and son Manny) speaking for the family, stating: “I am happy to tell the whole entire world that my family and I look forward to working with everyone to educate audiences of all ages about our father’s incredible American adventure.

No ETA on the project; no casting news at this time either.

Whether this Davis Jr.-backed project supersedes Byron Allen’s isn’t known. But we might have competing films.

Davis died in 1990.

Deadline was first to report the Lionel Richie/Lorenzo di Bonaventura film.

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