Some years ago, I interviewed Burt Boyar, gentleman (and I mean that in the true sense of the word), author, biographer and longtime friend of the late Sammy Davis Jr. Burt knew Sammy better than anyone, as he and his wife Jane Boyar were close friends with the entertainer.
Burt and Jane edited Sammy’s bio “Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr.”, and co-wrote with Sammy “Why Me? The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story”. Not many know that Sammy was an avid photographer, so much so that his friends were accustomed to seeing the ubiquitous black box in his hands wherever they went.
Years after Sammy’s passing, Burt rescued the vast collection of prints and negatives deteriorating in a warehouse. He sorted through and compiled them into a gorgeous coffee table book (Photo by Sammy Davis Jr.) filled with insider candids of the Rat Pack “unplugged” (and sometimes hung over), and unique “behind the scenes” snaps of glamorous movie star pals who orbited within their circle.
One day Sammy was feeling kinda low, so Burt tried his best to lift his spirits with a little song and dance send-up. Sammy grabbed the camera, and the rest is photographic history. Seen in the photo below, Burt’s beloved Jane, his late wife and writing collaborator. To learn more about the trio’s friendship, read my profile piece about Burt and Sammy at Big Hollywood.
Among Burt’s friends is former first lady Nancy Reagan. Burt kindly assisted ThirdWaveDave and me last year, personally delivering a collection of well wishes written by many of YOU to the former First Lady which marked the late President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary.
Dearest Burt, gentleman and friend, we wish you a birthday filled with dear friends, fine wine, and the best that life can offer!