Loray White and Sammy Davis Jr. had a contract marriage in 1958 that only lasted for a year. Davis Jr. was allegedly asked to marry a black woman to end his unaccepted interracial relationship with white movie star Kim Novak. White and her supposed husband never lived together which made the marriage end in no time. The marriage was dissolved in April 1959 when Loray was only 24. While it was the first marriage for Davis, it was the second for her.
Besides her marriage with Sammy, she worked at several places as a dancer, writer, and producer. She’s also known to be a doting mother to her only daughter, Deborah DeHart White.
Loray White and Sammy Davis Jr’s Sham Marriage
It all began in the 1950s when the American singer cum actor fell in love with his fellow actress Kim Novak and they started dating. However, at that time, interracial relationships were frowned upon. A notable person that was against the relationship, was Harry Cohn, the president of Columbia Pictures, which Kim was signed under.
Later on, rumors about their wedding broke that several sources claimed Cohn became so furious that allegedly threatened Davis. The person that was contracted to hurt the singer offered him another option, which was to marry a woman of color within two days.
Sammy Davis stumbled on his phonebook which he had Loray White’s contact while he was bride hunting. Davis and White dated in the past when she was a broadway dancer so it was reportedly quite easier for him to ask her to marry him on such short notice.
Reports say Loray was happy with the arrangement that she agreed to marry Davis for an undisclosed fee.
The marriage was sealed on January 10, 1958, in the Emerald Room of the Las Vegas plush sand Hotel. At that time, Davis was 32 white White was 23. With wedding and engagement ring reportedly amounting to about $5,000, the newlyweds moved into a $75-a-day presidential suite in Sands Hotel.
Apparently, during the wedding ceremony, the Cracking Up singer got so drunk that he attempted to strangle Loray White. Shortly after that incident, Davis’s assistant Silber managed to stop the singer from shooting himself.
According to Vanity Fair, White went on a shopping spree after she became Mrs. Sammy Davis Jr. A photograph of her with like 20 new pairs of shoes later surfaced in several magazines that many thought she had gone crazy with money.
While enjoying the new title, Loray stayed all alone in a big rented house in Hollywood Hills. Reports say the dancer used to call Davis’s assistant to complain to him that her new husband was still running after Kim. Apparently, the alleged fake marriage was only for Davis’s sake, not hers. The former would allegedly pay Loray $25,000 to divorce him.
The marriage lasted for only a year. The former Broadway dancer filed for a divorce on grounds of mental cruelty. She also requested that she resume using her professional name. Sammy Davis Jr. did not contest the divorce rather he even agreed to pay her $10,000 in cash and also to pay $17,000 for accumulated bills. At the time of the divorce, Davis was 33 while Loray was 24.
Ironically, following the divorce, Davis went on to marry Swedish-born actress May-Britt. The union generated several racial controversies that it lasted for barely six years. After May-Britt, Sammy Davis dated and married Altovise Gore in 1970. She remained his wife until his death in May 1990.
What Happened to Loray White after the Marriage Ended
Known for appearing in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 hit, The Ten Commandments, Loray White continued her work as an actress, singer, and dancer after her marriage ended. She was also a performer at the Silver Slipper. Also, Loray White was a member of the black bourgeoisie.
From 1970 to 1981, Sammy Davis Jr’s ex-wife worked as an entertainer writer at Los Angeles Community News. Also, she started her own PR company, LBW & Associates Public Relations in 1980.
Loray White was also the director and producer of LBW production “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Los Angeles” from 1981 to 2005. In 1999, she worked with the Columbia Broadcasting System news department.
5 Quick Facts about the Former Broadway Dancer
- Loray Betty White was born on November 27, 1934, to Harold White Mills and Joyce Mae Mills in Houston, Texas. She is currently 88 years old.
- She attended Sawyer Business School in 1970 and also the University of California in 1991.
- Her daughter, Deborah R. DeHart White, was born during her first marriage and was six years old when she married Davis in 1958.
- Loray White has been listed as an influential director, producer, vocalist, actress, and writer.
- Some of her awards include Recipient certified of honor, American Red Cross, 1984, and the Community Volunteers of America award, 1994.