Sammy Davis Jr. lay near death from the ravages of throat cancer in his Hollywood Hills home Friday, according to close personal friends.
"We're going to lose him," said entertainer Jerry Lewis, who visited the 64-year-old Davis three weeks ago and has been in daily contact with Davis's family."It's a matter of days or perhaps hours," Lewis said in an interview.
Since his release from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles six weeks ago, Davis's condition has worsened steadily, confining him to his bed, said another friend who asked not to be identified.
The pencil-thin song-and-dance man, whose career spanned vaudeville, Broadway, movies and TV, has wasted away to 60 or 70 pounds and sleeps most of the time. His wife, Altovise, remains close to his bedside.
"It's very, very sad," said Susan Reynolds, the entertainer's publicist. "Sammy is a terribly sick man. We don't know what more can be done."
Earlier this week Davis's daughter, Tracy, brought her 3-week-old daughter to see her terminally ill grandfather, which brought a smile to his face, friends of the entertainer reported.
Such other friends as Frank Sinatra and actor Roger Moore also have visited their stricken friend.
Actress Shirley MacLaine, a longtime friend and the only female member of the early 1960s clan that included Davis, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, visited Davis Tuesday.
Lewis said he wept after seeing Davis, who worked on the comedian's national multiple sclerosis telethon last year.
"You see, Sammy did the telethon last September knowing what his prognosis was. He knew he had cancer but he was on the air for 24 hours with the New York section of the show. But he didn't tell me about his condition. He didn't want to upset me."