Kirkus Star


Email this review


Sammy Swings!! And there's just no other way to put it. S.D., the performer's performer, currently the Golden Boy of Broadway, at the end of a long forty years, has written an equally long autobiography. But those who want to be up on insmanship, know all about Sinatra, the clan and those parties etc., will be disappointed. There are no scintillating details but there is one whale of a story. Sammy started dancing to fame at the age of three, as the third member of the Will Mastin Trio's flashact. Will and his father taught young ""Poppa"" every fancy step of the way and the ""born mugger"" was as quick to learn as he was fast on his toes. Education, (they played ""fool the school"") family life (no mother) etc. were practically non-existent. The real world was the world of vaudeville and its zany inhabitants. Famous names and places zip by like flashcards. Sammy, long protected by Will, father, friends and cushioned behind warm curtain calls, rushes unsuspecting into the shattering world of prejudice when at sixteen, he joins the army: ""I couldn't believe I was going to spend the rest of my life fighting with people who hate me when they don't even know me."" His life was unbelievable and two broken noses later he emerged with fists clenched: ""My talent was the weapon, the power, the way for me to fight."" The years brought fame, fortune and frustration...from ""Charlie Nice"" Sammy turned into ""Charlie"" Star,"" a ""never ending source of embarrassment,"" a black ""Charlie Prejudice"" ...""who'd paid tribute to hatred with every breath of my life."" After an attempted suicide, his conversion to Judaism saved him and his career. His accident, much-publicized run-ins with Ava Gardner and Kim Novak, Bogart's group, Sinatra and company, put-up first marriage, happy second marriage are all included. Major events and celebrities crowd each other off the page. A candid chronicle of Show Business and a disconcerting history of prejudice, this is a Must Read. Sammy, that black, Jewish, bandy-legged, one-eyed genius has done it.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1965
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux