Lee Daniels is now setting his sights on Sammy Davis Jr.
According to Deadline, Daniels’ production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, is working with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s company Playtone to create Sammy, a miniseries based on the life of Davis, one of the pioneers in Black Hollywood. The report states that the miniseries might be based on the 2003 book, In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr. by Wil Haygood.
Davis was a multi-hyphenate performer who broke color barriers in Hollywood, most notably with his friendships with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, as part of the Rat Pack. He also hosted his own network show in 1966, joining the rarified ranks of Black men in television like Nat King Cole, who also hosted his own show in the 1950s before he was canceled due to racism.
Tackling the life of Davis has been a long-term project for Lee, who has wanted to bring his life to the small screen at HBO in 2013, but nothing ever materialized. A film project on Davis was also set up at Paramount Players last year, but there are no updates on that. Also, in December 2011 Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios acquired the rights to Davis’ life story from his daughter Tracey Davis, with plans to develop both a feature film and a stage production.
Recently, Daniels’s TV series, Empire has been the topic of several articles because of the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago, where he was accused of setting up his own hate crime. The charges against him were later dropped. As of late, Daniels has made it clear that Smollett will not be returning to the sixth season of the Fox show.
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