Lena Waithe to Produce Sammy Davis Jr. Biopic at MGM

Sammy Davis Jr. is getting the biopic treatment and Lena Waithe has been enlisted to produce it.

The untitled movie is based on the 1996 biography “Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father,” written by his daughter, Tracey Davis and Dolores A. Barclay.

David Matthews joined the team to pen the script.


Sammy had an illustrious career that started when he was just a child. But he performed at Ciro’s in West Hollywood after the 1951 Academy Awards and the rest was history.

He went on to star in Ocean 11 alongside Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford, hosted The Sammy Davis Jr. Show on television, and had the number one song, “The Candy Man.” His was criticized for endorsing President Richard Nixon in 1972.

He passed away due to complications from throat cancer in his Beverly Hills home in 1990 at the age of 64. “I am thrilled to know my father’s life, both private and public, will be brought to the big screen with this team of storytellers,” Tracey Davis said. “He and my mother May Britt took on the world, choosing love and compassion over hatred and bigotry, and I am a product of that decision. My father was an extraordinary man, who experienced tremendous joys and fought tough battles throughout his years coming up in the industry. His was not an easy road, but, like he did in all aspects of his life, he gave it everything he had. We plan to do the same with this film.”

Lena Waithe, who has earned her place in Black Hollywood for her work in Queen and Slim, The Chi, Master of None, and The 40-Year-Old Version.

“Sammy Davis Jr. was one of the most impactful and influential figures in America,” Waithe said. “As Black culture continues to define popular culture, Sammy’s immense mark is undeniable. His story as a generational talent trying to make his way as a father, husband, and a Black man in America is one I have long wanted to help tell. I’m honored to be a part of this great team bringing such an important story to our community.”