One of the stranger revelations in my 2008 book "Deconstructing Sammy" was the relationship between Sammy Davis, Jr., his wife Altovise and Donald Rumsfeld. I mention this because Rumsfeld recently released his own memoir, and every time I see his photo I still can't, to this day, understand their relationship. Clean cut, American flag waving Rummy, the sex, drugs, mob owned yet super cool Sammy and his beautiful but pathetic and tragic wife Altovise.
I first heard about the connection during my initial interviews for the book in 2006. As the story goes Sammy was long gone and Altovise was living in poverty in Pennsylvania fielding calls from “the President's guy."
"Donald Rumsfeld," I repeated incredulously after first hearing his name, "calling here, in Pennsylvania?"
It didn't make sense at the time, but I learned later about Sammy's ties to the Nixon White House, his introduction to Rummy, and how the two maintained a long lasting friendship.
Then came Rummy's dinner with Altovise following Sammy's death, and his calls to Pennsylvania in the 1990s.
Of course, everyone has asked if Sammy ever shared Altovise sexually with Rumsfeld, something Sammy did with his other pals.
While Sammy's friends intimated Rumsfeld and Altovise shared more than deep conversation, I really can't say for sure if it went beyond that.
If they weren't intimate, then it didn't make sense, and still doesn't, as to why Rumsfeld would have paid much attention to someone like Altovise, a broken shell of a woman with nothing to really offer aside from her figure (though she knew how to take advantage of her physical gifts).
I don't know if Rumsfeld addresses in his book his relationship with Sammy and Altovise, but I do plan on reading it. I'll let you know.
Matt Birkbeck's Blogspot