I’ve Gotta Be Me – Sammy Davis Jr.

Explore the entertainer’s vast talent and journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America.

  • Fred Vigeant
Watch I’ve Gotta Be Me on American Masters Friday, September 24 at 9pm on WITF. You can stream WITF TV live on our website and through the PBS Video app on Roku, Apple TV and iPhone and Android smartphones. The program is also available on-demand through the PBS Video app.

 

Sammy Davis, Jr. had an indisputably legendary career that was vast in scope and scale. His life was also complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory.

A veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions, he worked tirelessly to stay relevant, even as he frequently found himself caught between the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America. In addition, Davis was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, tying his identity to that of another persecuted minority.

Featuring exclusive interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, as well as never-before-seen photos from Davis’ vast personal collection and rare footage from his performances in television, film and concert, American Masters – Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory paralleled the major flashpoints of American society, from the Great Depression through the 1980s.

Enjoy this rebroadcast from 2019 of I’ve Gotta Be Me on American Masters Friday September 24 at 9pm on WITF.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Programs

Cranford returns