Disney’s 20th Television is developing a new limited series about Sammy Davis Jr, with Thomas Westfall and Lee Daniels is writing and executive producing the show.
The series tells the story of Sammy Davis Jr (who will be played by Elijah Kelley), who rose from childhood stardom on the vaudeville stage to become one of the most famous African American entertainers of the 1950s and ’60s (and the only Black member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack). At the same time, he spent most of his career surrounded by controversy and ridicule – over his affairs with white film stars, his 1960 marriage to Swedish actress May Britt, his conversion to Judaism, his closeness to the Kennedys (and later Richard Nixon) and his problems with alcohol and drugs.
The yet untitled eight-episode series is based on Will Haygood’s biography, In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr., and inspired by Alex Haley’s interview of Davis.
According to Deadline, Kimberly Harrison has joined the project as the showrunner. She will also be an executive producer on the show and will direct the first two episodes. Kimberly is also working as a co-showrunner on the upcoming Disney+ drama series, “The Crossover” and has also worked as a co-executive producer on NBC’s “Law & Order: Organized Crime”. She has also worked on “Criminal Minds”, “Star”, and “Deputy”.
Also, executive producing the show is Marc Toberoff and Pam Williams. Will Haygood will also be a producer on the show with Elijah Kelley.
The new Sammy Davis Jr series will be released on Hulu in the United States, and we should expect to see it released as a Star Original on Disney+ around the world and Star+ in Latin America.