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Family, Friends Keep Vigil for Sammy Davis Jr.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. was described by his doctor as both “resting comfortably” and as “dying” Saturday as family and close friends gathered at Davis’ Beverly Hills home while fans and the media lingered outside.

“He’s not seeing any visitors except family members and close friends,” Dr. Irving Posalski said of Davis, who was found to have throat cancer last September.

Posalski, who spoke to the press outside Davis’ home Saturday and in a brief telephone interview with The Times, said he was upset by reports that Davis’ weight had dropped to 60 pounds and that he was lying in a fetal position. Both descriptions are grossly inaccurate, the physician said.

“He’s not 60 pounds, and he’s comfortable with his family at home,” Posalski said.

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The health of the 64-year-old song-and-dance man has declined since he was released from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on March 13 to recuperate at home. He was admitted mid-January for treatment of a gum infection and doctors later found that he had a recurrence of throat cancer. No further chemotherapy was planned.

Since his illness was diagnosed, “Sammy’s been been getting telegrams, flowers, cards and letters from people throughout the world wishing him well,” publicist Susan Reynolds said.

“But it’s a private family matter. . . . We’re trying to give the Davis family as much privacy as possible,” Reynolds said, “and we’re hoping the media will understand that.”

Davis has received several visitors in recent days, including longtime friends Frank and Barbara Sinatra, and actor Roger Moore. Sinatra’s daughter Nancy was among the visitors Saturday.

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Another dimension of Hollywood was evident on the outside. Tour buses that promise glimpses of stars’ homes took an extra long pause. Among the fans waiting outside Davis’ gate, one inspired double takes--a Sammy Davis Jr. look-alike who does a Sammy Davis Jr. show at a West Hollywood nightclub.


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