Sammy Davis, Jr. Quotes

  1. I was so opposed to the war in Vietnam that I initially refused President Nixon’s urgings for me to go there.
  2. I hadn’t been in Vegas 20 minutes when I got word that the bookmakers were offering three to one that Frank wouldn’t show for my wedding.
  3. The civil rights movement wasn’t easy for anybody.
  4. Alcohol gives you infinite patience for stupidity.
  5. When Liza Minelli was a child, she used to sit on my lap and call me Uncle Sammy.
  6. Bogart could have been color blind. He got to know a man before he decided if he liked him or not.
  7. I bought a house in the Hollywood Hills and brought my grandmother from Harlem to live in it with me.
  8. May was young and beautiful, we were legally married, but she was caught in the prison of my skin.
  9. During three decades, along all the highways of my youth, Frank had always been there for me.
  10. I didn’t hate being 60 as much as I had 50.
  11. Ten million dollars after I’d become a star I was deeply in debt.
  12. The ultimate mystery is one’s own self.
  13. All I really had was my talent. Without that I wouldn’t be welcome at the White House.
  14. There’s nothing that can match Broadway for stature and dignity.
  15. The success of the Rat Pack or the Clan was due to the camaraderie, the three guys who work together and kid each other and love each other.
  16. Real success is not on the stage, but off the stage as a human being, and how you get along with your fellow man.
  17. Fame comes with its own standard. A guy who twitches his lips is just another guy with a lip twitch – unless he’s Humphrey Bogart.
  18. I go to temple a lot less than I would like because when I do, people still look at me as if they think it’s a publicity stunt.
  19. I wasn’t anything special as a father. But I loved them and they knew it.
  20. With an ocean between you and your European friends, you have to keep them in your heart.
  21. You can be in this business 50 years and still not know anything about it.
  22. I had traveled 10 states and played over 50 cities by the time I was 4.
  23. To appear on the stage drunk, to have them leave there and remember me making drunken mistakes, that was death.
  24. Reality is never as bad as a nightmare, as the mental tortures we inflict on ourselves.
  25. I believed in Bobby Kennedy. Campaigning for him was an attempt to give back something to this country that has given me so much.
  26. What have I got? No looks, no money, no education. Just talent.
  27. Would it be better if I’d married a Negro woman? Would they treat my child any better? Erect fewer barriers?
  28. Though I love the luxury of the Waldorf Towers, room service there doesn’t do soul food.
  29. Marilyn and I were rumored to be an item. We were friends. Nothing more. Marilyn was one of the sweetest creatures that ever lived.
  30. The manic pursuit of success cost me everything I could love: my wife, my three children, some friends I would have liked to grow old with.
  31. Being a star has made it possible for me to get insulted in places where the average Negro could never hope to go and get insulted.
  32. You don’t swing where you sleep.
  33. When you lose a lover it’s like getting a bad haircut. It grows back in time.
  34. I have to be a star like another man has to breathe.
  35. There are certain romances that belong in certain cities, in a certain atmosphere, in a certain time.
  36. I saw that my image was changing or fading. One of the reasons for taking a break from clubs was to be missed-not forgotten.
  37. I’d learned a lot in the Army. I knew that above all things in the world I had to become so big, so strong that people and their hatred could never touch me.
  38. I had more clothes than I had closets, more cars than garage space, but no money.
  39. Being in public with May and the children was too heavy. I was irreversibly tuned in to everyone around us.
  40. A man is not complete until he has seen the baby he has made.
  41. Part of show business is magic. You don’t know how it happens.
  42. Everything Michael Jackson does on stage is exactly right.
  43. We can’t answer King’s assassination with violence. That would be the worst tribute we could pay him.
  44. You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.
  45. The one thing you don’t want is that stale sound when you’ve done a line so much you can’t find a fresh approach to it. Drop it.
  46. Sober up, and you see and hear everything you’d been able to avoid hearing before.
  47. If you want to get known as a singer you hire five sexy chicks and let them fight over you onstage and for the cameras. That’s publicity, man.
  48. My home has always been show business.
  49. I don’t have many easy songs.
  50. There are lines that I know are going to get a belly laugh, but after a few shows I get sick of hearing myself say them so I drop them.

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