Deconstructing Sammy

  • by Matt Birkbeck
  • Narrated by Peter Jay Fernandez
  • 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Sammy Davis Jr. lived a storied life. Adored by millions over a six-decade-long career, he was considered an entertainment icon and a national treasure. But despite lifetime earnings that topped $50 million, Sammy died in 1990 near bankruptcy. His estate was declared insolvent, and there was no possibility of it ever using Sammy's name or likeness again. It was as if Sammy had never existed. Years later his wife, Altovise, a once-vivacious woman and heir to one of the greatest entertainment legacies of the 20th century, was living in poverty, and with nowhere else to go, she turned to a former federal prosecutor, Albert "Sonny" Murray, to make one last attempt to resolve Sammy's debts, restore his estate, and revive his legacy. For seven years Sonny probed Sammy's life to understand how someone of great notoriety and wealth could have lost everything, and in the process he came to understand Sammy as a man whose complexity makes for a riveting work of celebrity biography as cultural history.Matt Birkbeck's serious work of investigative journalism unveils the extraordinary story of an international celebrity at the center of a confluence of entertainment, politics, and organized crime, and shows how even Sammy's outsized talent couldn't save him from himself.


Audible Editor Reviews

In a compelling audio presentation, narrator Peter Jay Fernandez recounts the life of Sammy Davis, Jr., in a direct and engaging manner. While making each character distinctive, Fernandez's style persuades the listener to become deeply involved in this heartbreaking story. Investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck recounts the tragic life of Davis and how, after his death, his legacy was revived by a former federal prosecutor. The quality of the audio presentation equals the intensity of the story itself.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The story of Sammy's bank accounts.

Great book for a mathematician or an accountant, (if they fancy a "busman's holiday").

Some interesting insights into his domestic arrangements but the detailed passages are too focussed on his financial affairs. Disappointing.
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- Alison St Pierre

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-09-2008
  • Publisher: HarperAudio