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Burt Boyar Author

About Burt Boyar

Jane and Burt Boyar were married in 1954. He was a Broadway columnist and wrote articles for magazines, Esquire, TV Guide, New York, etc. They worked together but only when they began writing their first book, Sammy Davis, Jr.’s autobiography YES I CAN did Jane finally agree to be credited as a co-author.

They were considered a bit eccentric: they did not dance with other people, they would not be seated apart at dinner parties, their dining room table had only four chairs to avoid cross-conversations. When they lived in a house on the beach in Marbella, Spain for 28 years they continued working together, ran on the beach every day, played tennis together twice daily, and fought like tigers but never about the work. When one of them didn’t like something the other had written it was obvious to both that it was not good. They were so “as one” that they finished each other’s sentences. Their close friend, Sammy Davis, Jr. once told Burt, “When I want your opinion about something I’ll ask Jane.”

Inseparable during their 44 year marriage they never spent a night apart until Jane unexpectedly died in her sleep in 1997.

We are sad to lose our beloved friend Burt. Rest in peace. To view his obituary please click here.




Biographical Sketch

On November 30, 1927, Burton Anselm Boyar was born in New York City to Benjamin and Lillian Boyar. Since Ben Boyar was employed as the general manager of Max Gordon, who was one of Broadway’s most successful producers, Burt acquired an early appreciation for the theater and its mechanics. At the age of 12, Boyar was permitted to work as a radio actor and provided the vocals for characters on comedic dramas, comic book-based programs and commercials. Simultaneously, he was attending the renowned Professional Children’s School, an institution primarily geared towards those pursuing careers in the performing arts. Although Boyar did not graduate from high school or attend college, he was incredibly adept in English composition.

After his radio stint, Burt Boyar eventually found a niche to showcase his grammatical adroitness at a New York publicity firm where he wrote gossip news and other column features. Following months of successful commentarial work, he and a colleague soon began their own publicity business which would come to represent several restaurants around the city of Manhattan, the Carlyle Hotel and Hotel El Rancho Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was during that time that Boyar met a drama student from Finch College, a local women’s baccalaureate school, and took her out on their first date on Halloween 1953. Eight months later, on June 26, 1954, he married Jane Feinstein and they would remain together for the next 44 years until her untimely death in 1997 at the age of 64 from heart failure. It is no exaggeration to say that Boyar and his late wife were best friends whose love did not permit them, by his own account, to spend even one night apart.

Beau Broadway was Burt Boyar’s solo journalism venture that became nationally syndicated via the Annenberg and Newhouse newspaper publishers. It was a daily column which presented interviews, criticisms and musings pertaining to the acclaimed New York theater. When he had contacted Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1957 in pursuit of a brief dialog session for another feature story, his inquiry was met with an invitation to dinner. That single evening meal multiplied into nightly discussions and the blossoming of a friendship that would last for the rest of the entertainer’s life. During one of their encounters, Burt Boyar agreed to write Sammy Davis, Jr.’s life story and, as a result, requested a year of absence from his Broadway column. Ultimately, however, he found that a year was not sufficient time to gather enough material for the autobiography so he chose to retire from his position. In the end, it would take six years to complete Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis, Jr., an immediate bestseller which, at one point, even became a contender for the internationally coveted Pulitzer Prize.

Over the following decades, the collaboration between Burt and Jane Boyar generated several notable publications, half of which pertained to the life of their close friend Sammy Davis, Jr.. Their 1989 work Why Me? was a formidable followup to the 1965 Yes I Can and eloquently expounded on the highlights and pitfalls of the entertainer’s career. Sammy: An Autobiography, which was published in 2000, continued the Davis saga in its presentation of additional thought-provoking material not found in the preceding two volumes. Finally, in 2007, Burt Boyar spearheaded the release of Photo by Sammy Davis, Jr, a compilation of striking black-and-white photographs taken by the legendary performer himself. Although the book includes artistic depictions of relatives and strangers, much of the content portrays his equally larger-than-life contemporaries, such as Robert Kennedy, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Marilyn Monroe.

There are four Boyar books which are not related to their iconic friend: World Class, H.L. and Lyda: Growing up in the H.L. Hunt and Lyda Bunker Hunt Family, as told by their eldest daughter, Hitler Stopped by Franco, and Invisible Scars. The 1975 fiction piece, World Class, whose plot is situated in the arena of competitive tennis, required Boyar and his wife to travel the world in order to follow the tours of Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, who are both legends of the sport. Their two years of meticulous observation would serve as the inspiration which enabled them to offer a realistic portrait of the athlete par excellence. H.L. and Lyda is the memoir of Margaret Hunt Hill, the daughter of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt and his wife Lyda. In this 1994 read, Hill documents the rise of H.L. Hunt’s oil empire and the unflinching support bestowed upon him by his wife Lyda in addition to chronicling such family unpleasantries as her father’s infidelity and her brother’s mental illness. Two world dictators are the central focus of Burt Boyar’s 2001 self-published historical account Hitler Stopped by Franco which takes on the guise of a compelling novel. Within its pages a captivating narrative unfolds which illustrates Francisco Franco’s safeguarding thousands of Jews from Nazi concentration camps, Adolf Hitler’s futile quest for Gibraltar and the martial chess match they engage in during the latter's attempt to invade Spain. Finally, Invisible Scars, Jane and Burt's recently (2012) published novel chronicling the adulterous affair between a wealthy American woman and an affluent married Spaniard during the post Spanish Civil War era of the 1930s.

During the period that the Boyars were writing Hitler Stopped by Franco, they were living in the Andalusian city of Marbella. They initially came to the beach-laden Spanish paradise in 1969 to spend time with friends over the Christmas holiday. However, what began as a brief winsome visit turned into a 28-year residency. By happenstance, the small house which they were renting belonged to the daughter of General Francisco Franco and, after making her acquaintance, they eventually became trusted friends of the family. It was this chance encounter that served as the catalyst for the creation of Hitler Stopped by Franco. And it wasn’t until the year 1997, when Jane Boyar unexpectedly passed away, that Burt decided to leave Spain and return home to the United States. However, instead of going back to New York, the city of his youth, he decided to adopt Los Angeles, CA as his new domicile because of its climatic similarities to his beloved Marbella. To this day, the acclaimed author still resides in the winding two-mile strip of L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard, locally referred to as the Wilshire Corridor, the Golden Mile and the Millionaire’s Mile.

Contact Info


47 Highland Park Village, Suite 200 Dallas Texas 75205



  • Invisible Scars

    She is a gorgeous, wealthy Texan who suffers a tragic loss of her child. Her name is America Harvey. She buries her grief by hard work, becoming a jet pilot, building a courrier service airline. Then, attending her best friend's wedding in Spain she meets the most glamorous man in the world. Purchase on Amazon KindleFind on goodreads

  • Blessed

    An amazing life. As a New Yorker brought up in the world of Broadway theater, the author, Burt Boyar, became a child radio actor earning $1000 a week in the late 1930’s, early 40’s, playing Archie on Archie Andrews, Billy Batson on Captain Marvel, Dexter Franklin on Corliss Archer, etc.Purchase on Amazon KindleFind on goodreads

  • Hitler Stopped By Franco

    Hitler planned to defeat England by closing the Mediterranean to British shipping, forcing England to supply herself via the long, U-boat infested Atlantic highway. Crucial to Hitlers strategy was the use of Spanish soil to take Gibraltar, at the mouth of the Mediterranean. Purchase on Amazon KindleFind on goodreads

  • Why Me? The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story

    You name it and it sounds as if Sammy Davis Jr. has done it. In this sprawling, revealing, lively second autobiography stories of money, sex, violence, drugs, booze, fame, luxury and extravagance spill out relentlessly. Purchase on AmazonFind on goodreads

  • World Class

    Meet the ten best tennis players in the world, a group of ruthless competitors who probe one another's weaknesses on the court but are loyal comrades off it - a band of brothers who know how to work, to live and how to enjoy life. Purchase on Amazon KindleFind on goodreads



World Class

Classic coming-of-age novel
I've read this book over and over (in fact I'm traveling and in the midst of Wimbledon I'm desperate to read it again). A wonderful story that illuminates the history of pro tennis -- but you don't have to care about tennis in the least because it's the characters that are so absorbing. I'm still waiting for my "Christopher." What's stuck with me -- and, apparently, with other people who have reviewed this somewhat obscure novel -- is the defining morals and character of the "people" in the book. They are incredibly real to me. They remind -- or teach -- the reader that honor is attainable, graceful, worth reaching for even at great personal sacrifice. A great, great novel. It's obscurity, I guess, is due to the tennis theme...but even if I didn't like tennis I'd love this book. - Carolyn Spencer Brown

Proffessional Tennis/ Life
One of the great fiction sport books, with characters that you wish you could meet. Inspiring and memorable in every way. It's a terrible shame that this great book is out of print. - Brett Allen

My favourite
If you had to ask me what the 2nd best book was I have ever read, I'd be at a loss for choices. But the best book I have ever read is easy, it is this one. Honor, integrity, nobility, hard work and fighting with your last breath to be the best, the very best, is what this book encompass. The underlying theme is love, love for life, love for friends, love for tennis and love for family and love for the special person in your life. I have read this book more times than I can remember and I still enjoy it and will read it again. Many times. I have taken so much from it and am a better man for having had this in my life. :) I recommend this book to any and everyone. An absolute must read. Enjoy. - Hennie

Life inspiring, generation bridging, optimism.
There is one tune that you could hear over and over. There may be a film you can see again and again. This is the book you will read and reread. A little blunt and dated, still you will not put it down in the middle and you will be reading it again soon. It is a book about tennis that those who abhore sport will love. It is a book about love that detesters of mushy love-stories will return to with pleasure. It dexcribes ideas, ideals, values and dreams. Characters create a strong sense of desire to identify with them. For more than 20 years this has remained the book that has influenced my values most and the only book I have read more than twice. Read it.. you will not read it only once.

World Class
This is world class writing about much more than the World Class sport of tennis. This is about being the best at whatever you choose to do with your life and doing it in such a way as to attract like-minded people about you. You will laugh, cry and love with the characters portrayed. I first bought this book back in the late 70's and have re-read it so many times that it's falling apart. It was out of print for a number of years and I'm so pleased to see it available once again. Buy it; It will lift your spirit and have you wanting to be World Class at whatever you do. - TomOTR

World Class Sports Fiction?
I first read in paperback form as a young teenager and fell in love with the story and its characters. I read it over and over and over...... well, you get the picture! I read it so many times that the pages began falling out. I wanted, and I guess you can say, I needed, to read the story again, after many years had passed, so I began to search for it. The problem was, the only thing I rememberd about it was the title, I couldn't remember the author. The cover and all other identifying pages were long gone. Anyways, this is the best fictional adaption of the tennis world as it were from the beginning. Starting with the amateurs (junior tennis, Davis Cup, Fed Cup, etc) and ending with the professionals and the era of the first open Wimbledon. I beleive it was intended to give people, who had no idea of the goings on behind the scenes in the tennis world, some insight into the day to day life of the World Class tennis player. It has a little bit of everything in it. Drama, action, love, violence, etc.. It might even have a hint of truth and realism hidden in it. It reads very smoothly and its characters are easily believable and shrouded in realism. If read only for the excitement it generates by being a sports novel, it would be well worth the time and energy needed to obtain it. I will continue reading it over and over again until I am no longer able to read!!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!! - S. Guinn

This is great storytelling
This is one of those books that I seem to come back to every three or four years. The story stays fresh, it means something, it has character. I can only say that the life lessons contained in this book, while fiction, come from composites of real tennis professionals that the Boyar's traveled with and observed. You see Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Ashe, et al. ingrained in the characters. It is a plesure to read again and again. It would make a wonderful mini-series, for a movie would not capture the full flavor of this novel. I cannot praise this book more, it has touched me in a way that few books have. This along with Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying", and Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" & "Sweet Thursday", are books that I return to over and over. All three either teach me something new in the re-reading or remind me of something forgotten through the troubles of the world. I thank the Boyar's for a truely remarkable book, and for being such a wonderful part of my life. - P. Davis

The best of every kind
I read a lot, but I am still to come across a book that kept me as gloriously absorbed as this. You don't have to be a tennis buff to love this book, all you have to do is have a heart. It taught and showed me things that no living person has been able to do. Not reading this book is something that no person should do. A must read for everyone. Made me a much more broad minded and well rounded person. A rare gem! - Isuru Gunasekera

A truly wonderful read
I first read this book almost 18 years ago as a teenager. I can honestly say, that this one book, more than any other, taught me about life and it's little miracles. Gloriously written, with it's heart absolutely in the right place. I was able to procure a weatherbeaten copy of this book from a library that was discarding used books, and I still read the book today. Especially, when I need a little reminder or pick me up that things can always get better. - Abhijeet Gupta

1 of my all time favorite books, inspriational,entertaining
Great story about the world of tennis, but more about people working towards a dream and what they are willing to do to acheive it. A wonderful story about honor, courage, humor, love and freindship. Highly recommended. I read it every time I feel down. - A customer

Yes I Can

When he was good
This autobiography tells the story of Sammy Davis Jr. up until the sixties. It tells the now legendary story of his starting out as a four - year with the Will Mastin trio. It tells of a long - climb through many obstacles to get to the top of the show- business world. It tells of his contending with prejudice and discrimination especially during his time in the Army. And it also reveals his courage in confronting this, and in standing up for his own people. It does not tell the much sadder last part of Sammy Davis Jr. 's story when he seemed to sink into drug and alcoholic addiction, and deteriorated morally as well as in health terms. It does not tell the story of the six- pack a day smoker's final cancer. It reveals the earlier more optimistic Sammy Davis Jr. He was usually referred to in his glory days as the greatest all- around entertainer show- business ever had. And in truth he was a terrific dancer, a quite good but not great singer, and just a remarkably energetic entertainer. He had humor about himself and about the world, about his one eye, about his being a black Jew. One interesting part of this book tells about his friendship with Jeff Chandler an actor who was Jewish and who died young. And how that influenced on Davis's own decision to convert to Judaism. Davis was a person who you radiated not only great energy but a great hunger to be approved of and loved. He received tremendous applause on stage but perhaps that did not fully satisfy his need. Raised without formal schooling, and always on the road he too had a restlessness about him as if he were never at home in the place he stood. There was something to my mind tremendously moving about this part of his stage identity. He needed the applause so much the urge of the spectator was to see him get the applause. His private life was no great picnic and included three divorces. His daughter by the actress May Britt who apparently was a very decent person and a good mother, has written a memoir about her often absent father. His friends Sinatra, Dean Martin , the Rat Pack are all with the exception of Shirley MacLaine now gone. In a way in his struggle to get to the top, his fighting against prejudice his 'making it' he exemplifies the American dream. But in the prejudice he suffered, and in the downfall of his latter years he also seems to exemplify an American tragedy. He was enormously likeable and gave millions of people pleasure with his on- stage antics. Thanks Sammy you truly were a star. This book tells in detail the story of his early and best years. It may be too long but it does have much valuable material for anyone who takes an interest in his life. - Shalom Freedman

THE Guide for self-help and motivation!
To HELL with TD Jakes, Ilyana Van Zant, and all those other so-called self-help quickbuck gurus. You want inspiration? READ THIS BOOK! When I was 14 and going to a hellish jr. high school and dealing with bullies and home problems, I checked this out of the local lie-berry and I felt that if the "Candy Man" could go through TENFOLD the hell I was going through and still become the King of his field by believing in what God had given him, then DAMMIT, so could I! I have managed to overcome most of my childhood difficulties, thanx largely to this book and Louis Armstrong's music for getting me thru those tough times! Read this and you'll see what I mean. - Andre M.

Sammy Davis, Jr. is One Cool Cat!
We all know him as the guy who sang "The Candyman," and the black guy in the Rat Pack, but there is so much more to this beloved entertainer than meets the eye (no pun intended). This book thoughtfully recounts the unbringing of Sammy as a child star in vaudeville, and his rise as a top performer throughout the world. In a time when race was an issue in clubs and in Vegas, Sammy persevered and overcame these obstacles to become one of the most beloved and popular entertainers ever! I originally read "Yes, I Can!" when it first came out as a youngster. He was inspiring to me in my life struggles then, even though I wasn't black or a man or in show business. It was his positive outlook that stuck with me. Sammy Davis, Jr. is just the coolest cat! I recommend this book highly. - A Customer

The first time I saw the book I looked at the volume of the book, which is about 700 pages, I thought, "I am never going to read this." But I bought the book and discovered it was easy reading and most of all it was very enjoyable. I finished reading the entire book in about two days. I really enjoyed its rich history and the peculiar way Sammy describes his way to success. I must tell you I cried a few times and couldn't help but to feel a part of Sammy's world. I would recommend this book to anyone who has had a dream in life and thought of it as impossible, Sammy would definitely make you believe that you can accomplish anything in this world. Yes I can is a winner in my eyes. If you have any questions as to how his life changed in the years after this book was published do not forget to read his daughter's, Tracy Davis, biography about her famous father named "Sammy Davis Jr., My Father" Finally, I especially recommend this book for anyone who is planning to write his/her own autobiography because you will learn a great deal just by reading it. - jtrinidad

Mr. Entertainment: a nearly complete story
An Excellent story, well written, well told, and fairly accurate to boot. Much is better retold in his second autobiography "Why Me?". If you're a avid fan - get both, otherwise... consider getting the coffee table book "Photo" along with "Why Me?" both by and about Sammy Davis Jr. - TaxiDrivin' Daddy

The Worlds Greatest Entertainer
The most appropriatelly named book I have read. An inspiring and yet heartbreaking account of a remarkable mans life. I encourage ANYONE to read this book. It will give you a whole new outlook on Sammy Davis Jr., and life as well! - A Customer

A Great Celebrity Bio
The great Sammy Davis Jr. could sing, dance, act, do imitations and tell jokes. He also tells a captivating story about poverty, race in america, his unlikely fascination with Judaism, and the pitfalls of fame and fortune. This is definately one the best celbrity biographies I've ever read: extremely well written. - Joe Anthony

A Must Read!
I first read this book when I was 12 years old and was in awe of how someone could achieve so much after so many trials. As an adult, I have searched for years for a copy because of how much it moved me. I can still remember the pictures and some of the facts even after 26 years. - A Customer

Great book
I read this when it first came out. It is still a great read after all these years. Powerful stuff. - moovbuf

From Hell to Heaven
I read this book when I was in High School in the late 60's and it left an impression on me I will never forget. I lived during the 60's and I remember the civil unrest, I live in the north so I never witnessed the hate and segregation the blacks had to endure. But when I read this book it taught me lessons I have carried with me for a lifetime. This was a one of the best books I have ever read even to this day. It is a must read for anyone, but especially for those to young to remember what it was like then. - moosemane

One of the most candid, engrossing and important autobiographies of our time. - Maurice Dolbier, Book Editor New York Herald Tribune.

One of the really great autobiographies ever written. - Brother Judd

He was, in short, a star, a durable fixture in the firmament of American life - New York Times


The Memoir of an Amazing Man
"Blessed" is the memoir of a truly remarkable person. Burt Boyar has led an enviable life. After serendipitously becoming close friends with Sammy Davis, Jr., Burt abandoned a successful career as a Broadway columnist to form a three-way collaboration with his wife, Jane, and the ground-breaking entertainer, the fruit of which was the autobiography of Sammy Davis, Jr. Horror stories of five years of toil and more years of editorial battles sent chills through this writer's veins, but eventually, the result was a bestseller, "Yes, I Can". Then a nine-month sojourn in the south of Spain to research a new book led the Boyars into the bizarre coincidence of having the daughter of the fascist dictator, Franco, for their landlady. Spain captured their hearts, as it does to so many, and nine months turned into twenty-eight years, the product of which was a novel about Franco putting a stop to Hitler's designs on Spain and Gibraltar. The source of the material for "Hitler Stopped by Franco" came from the extraordinary access that the Boyars had with the Franco family--talk about luck! As an afterward, "Blessed" ends with a posthumous letter to Sammy in heaven wherein Burt details the frustrations he is experiencing in his attempt to turn "Yes, I Can" into a major motion picture. Again my blood ran cold. Memoirs seldom grab my interest, but "Blessed" tells a great story. I had the enormous good fortune to meet Burt when he graciously received my wife and me in his West LA home. Rarely have I had the opportunity to meet a person so full of wit and charm. He shared anecdotes from his amazing life with us for a fascinating hour, at the end of which it wasn't Burt who rushed us to the door, like fools, we had to be elsewhere. "Blessed" brims with joy, frustration, a little sadness, humility, warmth and all of the heavy hitters of the post-war era. I got to meet Burt in the flesh. Now, I invite everyone to meet him in "Blessed" - Scott Skipper

Contact Info


47 Highland Park Village, Suite 200 Dallas Texas 75205