EXPLORE THE EXTRAORDINARY AND
GROUNDBREAKING LIFE OF ONE OF THE NOTORIOUS RAT PACK MEMBERS IN
SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME”
Features Interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis,
Whoopi Goldberg, and more
to View a Preview of the Program
Available on DVD February 17 and Digital February 20
Arlington, Va. – January XX, 2019 – PBS Distribution announces the release of the new AMERICAN MASTERS program, “SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME” on DVD and digital February 17. This is the first major film documentary to examine the performer’s vast career and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America. Sammy Davis, Jr. had the kind of career that was indisputably legendary, vast in scope and scale. And yet, his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was a veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions and worked tirelessly to stay relevant, even as he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America. Davis was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to that of another persecuted minority. In Duke Ellington’s words, he was “beyond category.”
Featuring interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis' vast personal collection and footage of his electric performances, this film explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory highlighted the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.
“SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME” will be available on DVD (SRP $24.99) and digitally February 19, 2019. The program has a run time of 100 minutes.
Other programs available from PBS Distribution include, “AMERICAN MASTERS: MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE,” “AMERICAN MASTERS: AUGUST WILSON: THE GROUND ON WHICH I STAND,” and “AMERICAN MASTERS: NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU.”
“AMERICAN MASTERS – SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME” is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC’s American Masters for WNET in coproduction with ZDF in collaboration with ARTE. Directed by Sam Pollard. Produced by Sally Rosenthal and Michael Kantor. Edited by Steven Wechsler. Written by Laurence Maslon. Michael Kantor is executive producer.
Major support for “AMERICAN MASTERS – SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME” is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support for this film is provided by The Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Seton Melvin, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, and Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment.
About American Masters
American Masters explores the lives and creative journeys of America’s most enduring artistic and cultural giants. Now in its 33rd season on PBS, the series has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 13 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, American Masters offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources and more. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel.
Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional support is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, Rhoda Herrick, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s and and operator of , the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.
About PBS Distribution
is a leading distributor of public media content around the world, reaching audiences through multiple platforms and formats including direct-to-consumer subscription video-on-demand (DTC-SVOD), transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) licensing, and physical products on DVD and Blu-ray. In addition, the company operates two Prime Video channels - PBS MASTERPIECE and PBS KIDS, as well as a theatrical releasing division, and educational, non-theatrical, inflight and international licensing businesses.
PBS Distribution offers consumers and educators over 4,000 programming hours of the highest quality factual, scripted and children’s programming, including films from producer Ken Burns, hit dramas from MASTERPIECE, entertaining and educational children’s series and award-winning documentaries from NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and many independent producers. For over 20 years, the company has extended the reach of programming beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system, stations and producers.
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AMERICAN MASTERS: SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME
Street Date: February 17, 2019
Genre: History : Biography
Run Time: 100 minutes on 1 disc
SRP: DVD, $24.99
Format: DVD, Digital