May Britt (born Maybritt Wilkens in LidingĂ¶, Sweden on March 22, 1933), had a brief career as movie actress in the 1950s, in Italy first and in the USA afterwards. She retired from the screen after she married Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1960.
May Britt was discovered by Italian film-makers Carlo Ponti and Mario Soldati in 1951. Aged 18, she was the assistant to a photographer in Stockholm. The two Italians were in Sweden to make a casting for a young blonde for the title role in Jolanda, the Daughter of the Black Corsair. They came to the studio where she worked for viewing pictures of some models. After meeting her, they offered her the part.
May Britt immediately moved to Rome. As expected, she made her movie debut as the leading actress in Jolanda, the Daughter of the Black Corsair in 1952. In the following years she worked in some ten CinecittĂ productions. She also featured in the War and Peace film of 1956.
In the late 1950s, May Britt relocated to Hollywood after signing with 20th Century Fox. She starred in a few movies, including The Young Lions with Marlon Brando and the criticized remake of The Blue Angel in the role that previously was Marlene Dietrich's.
She met Sammy Davis, Jr., the famous Afro-American singer and actor, in 1959. They soon started dating, and, after a brief engagement, got married on November 13, 1960. Their wedding caused controversy. At that time interracial marriages were forbidden by law in 31 US states out of 50, and only in 1967 were those laws abolished by the US Supreme Court.
Once married, May Britt left the movies for her family. She and Sammy Davis, Jr. had one daughter and adopted two sons. They divorced in 1968 after Davis had an affair with Lola Falana.
After the divorce, May Britt resumed working with some sporadic TV guest appearances, the last in 1988. Since then she has been retired from acting and mainly involved in painting.