Tracey Davis, the daughter of Sammy Davis Jr. and actress May Britt, died on Nov. 2 in Franklin, Tennessee, at the age of 59 following a short illness, her ex-husband Guy Garner confirmed to the Associated Press Tuesday. The mother of four was known best professionally for writing about her life with her father, including the 1996 book Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father and her 2014 follow-up, Sammy Davis Jr.: A Personal Journey With My Father.
"She loved and adored her kids more than anything," Garner told the AP. "Needless to say, they are all shocked and devastated by the loss of their mother, as are Tracey’s mother, May Britt Ringquist and her brothers, Mark and Jeff."
Just a month before Davis's death, Lena Waithe announced she would be co-producing a film adaptation of Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father for MGM, which would follow the legendary musician's attempt to pull off "biggest showbiz reunion in history" by first mending the relationships he had "broken along the way to stardom." The story of the Rat Pack superstar will be told through "impressionistic flashbacks" as it touches on everything from his childhood as a musical prodigy to his life as a superstar, as well as his fight against racism and battles with his "personal demons" later in life.
"I am thrilled to know my father’s life, both private and public, will be brought to the big screen with this team of storytellers. He and my mother May Britt took on the world, choosing love and compassion over hatred and bigotry, and I am a product of that decision," Davis said in a statement alongside the announcement, as per Variety. "My father was an extraordinary man, who experienced tremendous joys and fought tough battles throughout his years coming up in the industry. His was not an easy road, but, like he did in all aspects of his life, he gave it everything he had. We plan to do the same with this film."
Waithe added in a statement that Davis Jr. was one of the "most impactful and influential figures" in American history. "As Black culture continues to define popular culture, Sammy’s immense mark is undeniable. His story as a generational talent trying to make his way as a father, husband, and a Black man in America is one I have long wanted to help tell. I’m honored to be a part of this great team bringing such an important story to our community," Waithe continued.