Lionel Richie to produce Sammy Davis Jr biopic

Based on a memoir from 1965, the production will involve all of the late singer’s heirs after years of legal disputes

A biopic of the singer Sammy Davis Jr is finally heading to the big screen after years of legal disputes.

According to Deadline, the film will be based on the 1965 memoir Yes I Can: The Story Of Sammy Davis Jr, co-penned by Davis and his wife Jane, as well as the author Burt Boyar. The heirs to his estate will join producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mike Menchel and Lionel Richie. Bonaventura’s credits include the Transformers franchise.

“It’s an honor for me to bring the life of one of my idols and friend to the screen,” Richie said. “I’m so grateful to be working closely with the Davis family on this and couldn’t be happier to be moving forward on this passion project.”

The update follows years of legal issues surrounding a big-screen take on Davis’s life. In 2012, it was alleged that one of his daughters had sold the rights to two different companies and one took the other to court for $35m in response. The suit was ultimately thrown out of court.

In 2013, it was reported that Lee Daniels would be directing a biopic for HBO. After that fell through, a film, TV series and documentary were all announced in 2015, yet none came to fruition.

Davis’s life saw him perform in the army during the second world war, become part of the Rat Pack in the 1950s alongside Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, record a number of successful blues albums, lose his left eye in a car crash and convert to Judaism. While headlining in Vegas with his fellow Rat Pack members, he was also forced to stay and prepare offsite because of racial segregation.

Guardian film

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