November 19, 1954 - Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr. (1925-1990)On November 19, 1954, Sammy Davis Jr., was returning to Los Angeles from Las Vegas when he crashed into a car that was backing up into his lane.

The accident occurred near the intersection of Cajon Boulevard (Route 66) and Kendall Drive.  Davis and his valet were rushed to San Bernardino County Hospital and later to Community Hospital, on 4th and Arrowhead.

That evening, the well-known eye surgeon Frederick Hull operated on Sammy's eye.  Dr. Hull had to remove Davis' left eye and install a prosthetic socket in its place. Later a glass eye was installed.

Sammy was released on November 28, promising to return to do a benefit show when the new community hospital was built.  Sammy then spent the next couple of weeks at Frank Sinatra's house in Palm Springs.  

On November 15, 1958, Sammy returned to San Bernardino for his benefit show.  The 7,500 seat Swing Auditorium at the National Orange Show was sold out.  

Sammy opened the show and later Judy Garland sang several of her hit songs.  Many of Hollywood's most famous stars were in attendance for this performance.  

In the 1960s Davis was a leading member of the famous Rat Pack, consisting of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

Sammy Davis Jr. become a superstar and when he passed away, the lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honor.