Saturday, January 31, 2004

Sammy Convalesces

"Sinatra ... nursed (Sammy Davis, Jr.) back to health and to performing agfain after the 1954 automobile wreck on the desert highway between Palm Springs and L.A. that cost him his eye.

"I have never seen anyone more caring and generous than Mr. S(inatra) in that crisis. He was the ultimate stand up guy. Despite his hatred for hospitals, he visited Sammy constantly in San Benardino Community Hospital and made sure he had the finest specialists braught in from L.A. to treat him. On a psychic level, he used his own comeback as the example that gave Sammy the strength to return to performing, bucking him up ever day and making one-eye jokes that somehow took the curse off Sammy's disability. Mr. S also used all his power to arrange Sammy's famous comeback engagement at Ciro's on the Sunset Strip, and making sure that every big name in Hollywood was there on opening night to cheer Sammy on.

"Meanwhile he had installed Sammy in the Palm Springs house to recouperate and prepare for his fateful return engagement. Mr. S had me stay at the house to be at Sammy's service for the three weeks he was there, cooking whatever he dreamed of, rounding up the broads he dreamed of. I'd help him light his endless cigarettes until he could practice enough with his left eye to get his field of vision straight. Sometimes, when he'd end up lighting the tip of his nose instead of the cigarette, he'd break down crying in frustration that he'd never get it back again. 'Shit, Sam,' I'd console him.'You get to see more out of your left eye than a thousand guys see outta two. You're gonna make it. Don't waste that good eye on fucking tears." And he'd stop, and try again, and soon he was striking up matches like old times."

Mr. S, My Life With Frank Sinatra, by George Jacobs and William Stadiem

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