Frequently Asked Questions
Why do some members of the family spell the last name differently?
The original family name is spelled Cook. Sam added the 'e' to the end for show business purposes.
I want to write a book and/or screenplay and/or record Sam's music. Can I have the family's permission?
The family no longer owns the rights to any of Sam's music. Therefore, they cannot give or deny consent for such projects.
Why does the family no longer control the rights to Sam's music?
For information regarding this subject and others of a more personal nature, you can purchase "Our Uncle Sam", written by one of Sam's great nephews, at either Amazon or Our Uncle Sam.
Why has there never been a biopic made about Sam?
Supposedly, there's been a movie on and off in development for the past twenty years. Nothing has ever surfaced. Music rights to many of the songs written and performed by Sam Cooke - a key component of any motion picture about his life - would need to be obtained from ABKCO Records.
Where are Sam's siblings and parents?
Sam's surviving siblings are living in the United States. His parents have passed, along with a few siblings.
Where is Sam's wife?
Sam's first wife, Delores Mohawk, died in a car crash in the late 1950s. His second wife, Barbara (Campbell-Cooke) Womack is still alive and lives in the United States.
Where are Sam's kids now?
Sam's surviving children are living in the United States, with the exception of one daughter, Linda Cooke-Womack (Sam's first daughter with Barbara), who lives in Africa. Deceased children include Vincent Lance Cooke who passed on June 17, 1963 when he accidentally drowned in the swimming pool at the family's home. Denise Sommerville of Cleveland, Ohio also passed on several years ago.
Where is the woman who shot Sam?
The information contained in Daniel Wolff's biography is erroneous - Bertha Lee Franklin did not move to Michigan and die eighteen months after the shooting. Rather, she lived the remainder of her life in Los Angeles, where she died in April 1989 at the age of 80.
Where is the woman who accused him of attempted rape?
Lisa Boyer (Crystal Chan Young, Jasmine Jay, Elsie Nakama) was found guilty of second-degree murder for the death of her lover in 1979. She was incarcerated for an indeterminate sentence of two to five years at the California Institution for Women, located in Frontera. No one knows where she is today - it is rumored that she is still in the California prison system.
Does the Hacienda Motel still exist?
The Hacienda Motel was torn down in 1998 and is now a parking lot.
Any new CDs on the way?
When we hear of anything coming out, we'll be sure to post it here as soon as possible.
Can you send me a sound file of an LP via e-mail? Can you send me an MP3? Can you post them so I can download them?
No. This is not legal. Please buy a CD that contains the song. If the song you are looking for has not been reissued, keep an eye out for the album or single that contains the song on eBay.
Do you have a list of videos of Sam for sale?
We do not sell videos personally.
Why does very little footage of Sam exist?
There is no museum or library that houses the complete history of television. ABC, CBS, DuMont, NBC – nobody saved their history. Ten percent of television from the 1960s survives. Five percent of television from the 1950s survives.
In the case of local television programs, many were broadcast live and no recording was made. Sometimes kinescopes – the result of recording television with a specialized film camera – were made. Copies were syndicated around the country, its how many programs survive. These kinescopes would be thrown in the dumpster. Surviving kinescopes suffer from vinegar syndrome. Film would begin to smell like vinegar and unless handled and stored properly, it would become brittle and shatter. Inflation adjusted, the cost to ‘kinescope’ an individual television program cost $2,500. Sam’s appearances survive as kinescopes. The quality of a kinescope can vary.
In 1956, Quadruplex video tape was invented. Inflation adjusted, it cost $2,500 for a thirty-minute reel. Many took advantage of the miracle of video tape; after recording and airing, tape would be erased and re-used with no copies made. No appearances survive in video tape form.
I have footage of Sam and on your page, you state that it is missing. What should I do with it?
Please contact us.