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Meeting Sammy Davis Jr. With Pantyhose On My Head

By Leslie Riddle

Throughout their 90-year history, the world-famous Rockettes have shared the stage—and unforgettable adventures—with many other world-famous personalities. They have appeared at such iconic events as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Super Bowl and on TV shows like America’s Got Talent and Night of 100 Stars. The Rockettes are taking a moment to reflect on their favorite stardust memories.

The Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop) pose for a photo in August 1960. [Photo Credit: Popperfoto | Getty Images]

The Rat Pack—Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop—pose for a photo in August 1960. (Photo Credit: Popperfoto | Getty Images)

In 1984, I went to Las Vegas to work the show “Burlesque Scandals” at the Sahara.

Sammy Davis Jr., an iconic entertainer who was one of the founding members of the Rat Pack with fellow superstars Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, dropped by backstage to say hello to comedian and headliner Jack Carter.

If you’re familiar with tips and tricks of show business, then you’ll know that when you’re wearing a headdress, putting a pair of flesh-colored pantyhose on your head to hold all your hair down is a must (plus, it gives the bobby pins something to attach to!).


Former Rockette Leslie backstage with Sammy Davis Jr. (Photo Credit: Leslie Riddle)

I was just about to put on my feather headdress for the next number when I turned around and saw Jack and Sammy staring at me. While we were having a conversation in the doorway backstage, the duo just couldn’t get over the fact that I had pantyhose on my head … so of course I made Sammy take a picture!

He was one of the sweetest men I have ever met and loved that I was a tap dancer. Of course he laughed when he saw the stockings on my head, but he explained that he was used to seeing women with with hose on their head—especially those who wore wigs!

So yes, I have a fabulous picture of me and Sammy Davis Jr. with pantyhose on my head. Classic.

Leslie Riddle was a Rockette from 1983 to 1989. She currently resides in New York, NY.