Tracey Davis, who turned her often painful experience as the child of the entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. into a tale of reconciliation across two memoirs, died on Nov. 2 at her home in central Tennessee. She was 59.
Her ex-husband Guy Garner confirmed the death but said he did not know the cause.
In “Sammy Davis Jr.: My Father,” written with Dolores A. Barclay and published in 1996, Ms. Davis described growing up with a frequently absent father well known for his workaholism and his nightlife exploits; the anger she felt over the years when reflecting on her childhood; and the ability she gained, toward the end of Mr. Davis’s life, to forgive him and reconnect.
Mr. Davis died in 1990 at 64.
“I said things like, ‘Dad, I always loved you, but I didn’t like you that much,’” Ms. Davis told The Los Angeles Times in 2014. “He said, ‘Well, I didn’t like you that much either.’ It turned out the air needed to be cleared.”
Her second book, “Sammy Davis Jr.: A Personal Journey With My Father” — written with Nina Bunche Pierce and published in 2014 — quoted from conversations the two had during that period, when, Ms. Davis wrote, “my father became particularly nostalgic about the past.”
In addition to attaining fame as a singer, dancer and actor, Mr. Davis led a much-scrutinized social life. He belonged to the crew of rakish midcentury celebrities known as the Rat Pack, which included his longtime pal Frank Sinatra, who was the best man at Mr. Davis’s wedding in 1960, when he married Tracey’s mother, the actress May Britt. Mr. Davis was Black and Ms. Britt was white, and their union brought applause from supporters of interracial marriage and bomb threats from others.
MGM announced plans last month to make a movie about Mr. Davis based on Ms. Davis’s first book.
“I am thrilled to know my father’s life, both private and public, will be brought to the big screen with this team of storytellers,” Ms. Davis said in a statement when the deal was announced. “He and my mother, May Britt, took on the world, choosing love and compassion over hatred and bigotry, and I am a product of that decision.”
Tracey Hillevi Davis was born on July 5, 1961, in Los Angeles. She grew up in Nevada in the region around Lake Tahoe, where her mother moved after her parents divorced. She graduated from California State University, Northridge, in the mid-1980s and married Mr. Garner in 1986. They divorced in 2001. Another marriage, to Jim Cotta, also ended in divorce.
Ms. Davis worked in advertising.
In addition to her mother, May Britt Ringquist, she is survived by two brothers, Mark and Jeff Davis; two children from her first marriage, Sam and Montana Garner; and two children from her second marriage, Greer and Chase Cotta.
The New York Times contributed reporting.
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