Mae Britt and Sammy Davis Jr. 1965



May Britt (born 22 March 1933) is a Swedish actress who had a brief career in the 1950s in Italy and later in the United States. She retired from the screen after she married Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1960.

Maybritt Wilkens, as she was known originally, was discovered by Italian film-makers Carlo Ponti and Mario Soldati in 1951.

She made her movie debut as the leading actress in Jolanda, the Daughter of the Black Corsair (1952). In the following years she worked in some ten Cinecittà productions. She also featured in the epic War and Peace film of 1956.

In the late 1950s, Britt relocated to Hollywood after signing with 20th Century Fox. She starred in a few movies, including The Young Lions with Marlon Brando and Murder, Inc. with Peter Falk, as well as a much-criticized remake of The Blue Angel in the legendary role first created by Marlene Dietrich in 1930.

She met Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1959. They began dating, and, after a brief engagement, were married on November 13, 1960. Their wedding caused controversy. A rumor or myth, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy told Frank Sinatra to tell Davis not to marry May until after the 1960 Presidential Election. At that time interracial marriage was forbidden by law in 31 U.S. states, and only in 1967 were those laws (by then down to 17 states) ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to the wedding, Britt converted to Judaism. The couple was married by Rabbi William Kramer.

Once married, Britt left the movies. She and Davis had one child, a daughter, Tracey, born July 5, 1961, and adopted two sons: Mark Sidney Davis, born in 1960 and adopted June 4, 1963, and Jeff, named after actor Jeff Chandler, and born in 1963.

They divorced in 1968 after Davis reportedly had an affair with dancer Lola Falana.


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