Samuel George Davis Jr. was an American singer, dancer, actor, vaudevillian and comedian whom critic Randy Blaser called "the greatest entertainer ever to grace a stage in these United States."
At age three, Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father Sammy Davis Sr. and the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally, and his film career began in 1933. After military service, Davis returned to the trio and became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at Ciro's after the 1951 Academy Awards. With the trio, he became a recording artist. In 1954, at the age of 29, he lost his left eye in a car accident. Several years later, he converted to Judaism, finding commonalities between the oppression experienced by African-American and Jewish communities.
After a starring role on Broadway in Mr. Wonderful with Chita Rivera, he returned to the stage in 1964 in a musical adaptation of Clifford Odets' Golden Boy opposite Paula Wayne. Davis was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance and the show was said to have featured the first interracial kiss on Broadway. In 1960, he appeared in the Rat Pack film Ocean's 11.