"Sammy Davis Jr. was at the height of his stardom in 1961 when he and close friend Frank Sinatra campaigned to elect President John F. Kennedy, but after Davis married Swedish actress May Britt, Kennedy refused to let him perform at his inauguration, Davis’ daughter claims in a new book.
... not even Sinatra's friendship could get Davis into Kennedy's inauguration. When Davis married the glamorous blonde Swedish actress, Britt, in 1960, it not only made headlines, it inspired death threats and demonstrations and forced Davis to hire 24-hour armed guards. Though Davis had campaigned tirelessly, alongside Sinatra, to get Kennedy elected, his daughter wrote that after his interracial marriage, which at the time was forbidden by law in 31 states, her father's name was dropped from the list of entertainers at the president's inaugural party hosted by Sinatra.
When, in 1960, he married Swedish actress May Britt, there were bomb threats where he performed and picketing by the American Nazi party. It was around this time that Frank Sinatra’s enthusiasm for John F. Kennedy led Davis to support his presidential bid, bringing in many black votes. But on the night of JFK’s inaugural party, Davis’ invitation was abruptly canceled, leaving him bitterly hurt. Kennedy didn’t want to alienate his Southern constituency by inviting the mixed-race couple. Worst of all, his great friend Sinatra did nothing to defend him. This dismaying incident really puts Davis' support for Nixon in a different light, as well as his supposed integration into the Rat Pack.
Davis was a supporter and activist within the civil rights movement and supported John F. Kennedy’s presidential bid with many appearances on the campaign trail. But when Davis married the white Swedish actress Britt May in the same year, 1960, the Kennedys started viewing him as a political liability. Even at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Davis was booed by Southern delegates. Days before John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, the new president withdrew Davis’ invitation to the celebration, which Davis’ close friend Sinatra was producing.