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Rev. Jesse Jackson Reflects on the Life of Altovise Gore Davis

March 16, 2009

Please find below a statement from Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition regarding the death of Altovise Gore Davis, dancer, actress and the widow of Sammy Davis Jr.

Altovise Gore Davis, the wife of Sammy Davis Jr., was a beloved family friend of nearly forty years. Unbeknownst to far too many, she was an artist of brilliance and accomplishment in her own right. As a renowned dancer and actress, she was a pioneer. Along with Lola Falana, Mercedes Ellington and Paula Kelly, Altovise blazed new trails for African-American artists on the Broadway and London theatrical stage. Indeed, it was in that context that she and Sammy met and married.

I performed their wedding ceremony and they remained partnered for 20 years. A faithful wife, Altovise supported him in times of success and challenge. For the rest of her life, she was a woman and wife, who fought desperately to keep Sammy Davis Jr.'s legacy as the "World's Greatest Entertainer", acknowledged and alive. The love that Sammy gave to the world, through his unmatched artistic gifts, she returned to him through her unmatched devotion to him and their son Manny. She was a dear and valued friend, and I pray that she is at peace. God bless you, Altovise.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization devoted to protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366. To arrange an interview with Rev. Jackson, please call the numbers listed above. -30-