Sammy Davis Sr., a vaudeville dancer who launched the long show business career of his popular entertainer son, died Saturday at his Beverly Hills home, a mortuary official said. He was 87.
The senior Davis will be eulogized by Sammy Davis Jr. at services Monday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, said funeral home spokesman Dick Fisher. The cause of death was not immediately known.
When his son was born in 1925, Davis was a dancer in Will Mastin's Holiday of Dixieland vaudeville revue. His wife, Elvina, was a chorus girl.
Sammy Davis Jr. first toddled onto a stage in Columbus, Ohio, when he was 18 months old. His surprise walk-on fouled up his parent's dance number, but brought down the house.
The youngster soon joined the Mastin's family revue, and by the time he was 4 was performing with his father on the Orpheum Circuit.
After World War II, "The Will Mastin Trio"--Davis, his son and Mastin--became a box-office draw in nightclubs in Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas and also appeared on the Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason and Eddie Cantor television shows, with the younger Davis emerging as the star.
In addition to his son, Davis is survived by two daughters, Ramona James of New York City; Suzette Davis of Portland, Ore.; six grandchildren and a great-grandchild.