SO CUTE!!! Celebrities AS CHILDREN/Prodigies- Little Richard, Brenda Lee, Sammy Davis Jr.

19 Sep


Little Richard

made the kind of Rock ‘n’ Roll you think only exists in the movies.

Richard pounds the piano, scats out some vocals, the weak of heart faint, the old women scold, and the only thing the sun-dress-&-white-gloves-wearing, fan-carrying bastions of middle-class Americana can think to say are words like “Well, I never”, and “Land sakes!”.

There was never anything ‘little’ about Little Richard – the hair was huge, the performances were grandiose, and the character was most definitely larger than life.

Little Richard’s music was monumentally important to the early years of rock and roll, but just as important to the future of rock was Richard’s irrepressible personality, the kind of flamboyant rock diva that some would label a menace to society, while others would hail as a living legend.

Born in December 1932, Richard Wayne Penniman was one of 12 children born to Bud and Leva Mae Penniman of Macon. His father sold bootleg liquor and owned a bar called The Tip In Inn, while his mother ran a rapidly growing household.

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Little Richard



Inductee Rockin Roll Hall Of Fame:

Brenda Lee

(vocals; born December 11, 1944)
Known as “Little Miss Dynamite,” Brenda Lee – who stood all of four feet, nine inches tall – was blessed with a powerful voice that belied her size. She could sing rockabilly, country and pop standards with equal conviction, and her versatility as an interpreter has allowed her a career of extraordinary longevity. She is the kicking, countrified upstart of “Jambalaya” and “That’s All You Gotta Do,” the pert, jaunty rocker of “Sweet Nothin’s” and “Let’s Jump the Broomstick,” the heartbroken balladeer of “I’m Sorry” and “Break It to Me Gently,” the sophisticated songstress of “I Just Want to Be Wanted” and “You Can Depend on Me,” and the country storyteller of “Big Four Poster Bed” and “Nobody Wins.” She is also indelibly associated with the holiday season, as her 1958 recording of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” has become a standard that’s heard every year and is ensconced at #4 on the all-time list of popular seasonal records.
Brenda Lee was born Brenda Mae Tarpley in Atlanta, Georgia. Her vocal skills were evident early on, as she won her first talent contest at age five. She performed on a local radio show and at seven became a regular on a Saturday-afternoon TV show. Soon after, she began performing for money, which her family desperately needed after the untimely 1953 death of her father in a construction accident. In 1956, she auditioned for country singer Red Foley and wound up joining the cast of Ozark Jubilee, a Missouri-based country-music TV show. That May, she signed to Decca Records, inaugurating a prolific and hit-filled recording career. Her third single, “One Step at a Time,” was her first to chart, reaching #15 on the country chart and just missing the pop Top Forty by three places. Her major breakthrough, and the biggest hit of her career, was “I’m Sorry,” which inaugurated a string of ballads that did quite well for her in the early ..

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Watch “Jambalaya – Brenda Lee (Avery Winter, 2010)” on YouTube



Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the “greatest living entertainer in the world”.

He was born in Harlem, Manhattan, the son of dancer Elvera Davis (née Sanchez) and vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr.. His father was African-American and his mother was of Puerto Rican ancestry. Davis Jr. was known as someone who could do it all–sing, dance, play instruments, act, do stand-up–and he was known for his self-deprecating humor; he once heard someone complaining about discrimination, and he said, “You got it easy. I’m a short, ugly, one-eyed, black Jew. What do you think it’s like for me?” (he had converted to Judaism).

A short stint in the army opened his eyes to the evils of racism–a slight man, he was often beaten up by bigger white soldiers and given the dirtiest and most dangerous assignments by white officers simply because he was black–and he helped break down racial barriers in show business in the 1950s and 1960s, especially in Las Vegas, where he often performed; when he started there in the early 1950s, he was not allowed to stay in the hotels he played in, as they refused to take blacks as customers. He also stirred up a large amount of controversy in the 1960s by openly dating, and ultimately marrying, blonde, blue-eyed, Swedish-born actress May Britt.

He starred in the Broadway musical “Golden Boy” in the 1960s. Initially a success, internal tensions, production problems and bad reviews–many of them directed at Davis for playing a role originally written for a white man–resulted in its closing fairly quickly. His film and nightclub career were in full swing, however, and he became even more famous as one of the “Rat Pack”, a group of free-wheeling entertainers that included Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.

A chain smoker, Davis died from throat cancer at the age of 64. When he died, he was in debt. To pay for Davis’ funeral, most of his memorabilia was sold off.

Watch “Sammy Davis Jr (7 yrs old) – You Rascal You” on YouTube


13 responses to “SO CUTE!!! Celebrities AS CHILDREN/Prodigies- Little Richard, Brenda Lee, Sammy Davis Jr.

  1. grevisangel73

    September 19, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I’ve been trying to think of other children prodigies. Am drawing a blank.


  2. Bernadette

    September 20, 2016 at 3:07 am

    This was so much fun to read but research must have taken quite a bit of time.


  3. J L Hunt

    September 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Wow, so talented! Adorable :-)


  4. America On Coffee

    September 23, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    I know…huh?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. America On Coffee

    September 23, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Selecting each post is always so fun. So glad you enjoyed Bernadette. Thank you for your feedback.:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. America On Coffee

    September 23, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    :-) ha ha ha….too many to name. Such a huge list!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. grevisangel73

    September 24, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Orson Welles , was but he didn’t have national notoriety until he made his way to Hollywood. Depending on definitions of child prodigy, a lot of child actors could fit in that category, such as Shirley Temple, maybe Tiger Woods, and the kid from Shane, Brandon De Wilde. I have always liked him. He was a child actor and made the transformation into adulthood and was also a musician. He recorded with Gram Parsons.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. America On Coffee

    September 24, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Yes, the definition of child prodigy could be viewed as a momentary gift. If renowned talent develops (into a complimentary talent or different direction) or just ends. Orson Welles and George Clooney developed their innate talent and skills.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. grevisangel73

    September 24, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Orson seemed to lose it after Citizen Kane, and the Magnificent Ambersons, but he regained some momentum with Touch Of Evil and Lady From Shanghai. He had plenty of projects and ideas, but his personality being what it was, he was always going to clash with studio heads. I enjoyed him on the talk shows, he was always an interesting character. I read somewhere that he may have been a suspect in the Black Dahlia murder. I don’t know if there is any truth to that or if he was questioned.
    My father listened to the original War Of The Worlds broadcast live when he was a kid. I have mixed feelings about Clooney. If he didn’t have the Hollywood connection that he did, would he have made it?


  10. America On Coffee

    September 24, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I cannot critique either in any bad light. I enjoyed Orson in “Citizen Kane (Rosebud), and the Stranger” with Loretta Young and Edward G. Robinson. however, I later learned about his “War of the World’s radio broadcast which was interesting. I don’t know anything about Orson prodigy life or intellectual gift(s) as a child. I am assuming he was a gifted child. It appears that acting has always been his forte. I say this because he always appeared so polished, talented, handsome and well-versed. I really enjoy great, nostalgic acting! I suppose many childhood prodigies, with age, just ripen in talent. Clooney was great as a child/ adolescent actor. He was great in “Facts of Life and ER” which he developed into his The Perfect Storm role. Clooney is also extremely handsome. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. grevisangel73

    September 25, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Yes, Welles was spoiled at an early age, his mom died when he was young. His father was an alcholic, and died several years after the mother leaving Orson alone, but from what I remember they had money, so he had a guardian. The mother was into music and Orson was interested in music, art, magic, radio, and theatre, all at a young age. He did do some really bad roles later. I think he lost interest and became discouraged because he wanted to be in control of the productions and not have to deal with studio interference. He was involved in all aspects, from writing to instructing the cameraman on shots that were inventive and ground breaking. His technique with lightting and angle shots, and the script. How the story unfolded. I heard the “War Of The World’s” story so many times. He was quite popular on radio before films. I forgot The Stranger, that was a good one too. I think he directed that, but I can’t remember
    He was very innovative with his film making, and he achieved his peak at a young age, had to live up to that forever after.
    I just loved listening to Orson talk. He had the voice, and a personality that was fascinating, larger than life. He seemed to have a sharp mind on almost every subject, but was apparently very headstrong and hard to work with if he was directing.
    I am not sure how young Clooney was when he started, was he a teenager? I am sure George sitll has a long career ahead of him, and many more projects that can, and will demonstrate his talent in front and behind the camera.


  12. America On Coffee

    September 30, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Very interesting about Orson! Doesn’t seem as though he was not a child prodigy. But, yes he was eloquent and he demontrated a lot of skill and independence in broadcast and film. Clooney, (a semi-child prodigy) obviously made some good moves and choices as a teen and, he is still progressing. I can say that both Clooney and Orson followed their hearts, sooner than later. Thank you grevisangel73, for your most informative feedback. Have a great weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person


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