Lionel Richie producing Sammy Davis Jr. biopic

Music icon Lionel Richie is producing a biopic about late entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.

The film will be based on memoir Yes I Can: The Story Of Sammy Davis, Jr., which was written by Davis, his wife Jane and Burt Boyar in 1965, reports Deadline.

“It’s an honour for me to bring the life of one of my idols and friends to the screen,” Richie said in a statement. “I’m so grateful to be working closely with the Davis family on this and couldn’t be happier to be moving forward on this passion project.”

The biopic has been in the making for several years and rights to the film were at the centre of a legal battle in 2012. However, the executors of Davis’ estate, including his youngest son Manny, are now on board for the upcoming project.

“I am happy to tell the whole entire world that my family and I look forward to working with everyone to educate audiences of all ages about our father’s incredible American adventure,” he shared.

The movie will also be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mike Menchel. While a screenwriter and director have yet to be attached to the project, they will have plenty of material to work with, considering Davis’ extraordinary career.

Davis’ life saw him perform in the army during WWII, become part of the Rat Pack in the 1950s alongside Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and record a number of successful blues albums. While headlining in Vegas with his fellow Rat Pack members, he was also forced to stay and prepare offsite due to racial segregation.

Davis also nearly died in a car accident in San Bernadino, California in 1954, which cost him his left eye. During his recovery he began studying Judaism and he converted in 1961.

After reuniting with Sinatra and Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli, before he died of throat cancer in 1990.