Ask Jacky… What’s the Real Story Behind Sam Cooke’s Death?


Ask Jacky

Hey Jacky,

I really love your site!

I was wondering if you have anything else on Sam Cooke death?


Sam Cookedied on December 11, 1964.

There are conflicting accounts regarding the death of Sam Cooke. Los Angeles police however ruled it justifiable homicide. Not unlike today though, Los Angeles PD were known to be overtly racist when investigating crimes against African Americans doing little to no real work in investigation.

Ike Turner was the first person to tell me the real story, which I have since confirmed with other sources including several within the LAPD who all told very similar (although not identical) stories.

On the night of December 11, 1964, Sam had withdrawn a considerable amount of cash, reportedly to buy Christmas presents. At Cooke’s request the manager of the Hacienda Motel in South Central, where he was staying in, Bertha Franklin (who had shot and killed a man six months earlier at the same place), made arrangements with a local prostitute named Elisa Boyer who was 22-years old, to scoop Sam at a local bar and bring him back to his motel. As he and Boyer entered the room Sam was hit from behind and knocked unconscious.

Elisa Boyer took Sam’s money and met Bertha in the motel office.

Sam soon awoke disoriented and without most of his clothes and belongings. Cooke headed towards the motel office and saw through the office window, the prostitute and motel manager counting his money He demanded his stuff be returned and when they didn’t open the door, Cooke banged until the door fell off its hinges. When Cooke regained himself the hotel manager Bertha Franklin shot him and told Boyer to run and call police from a phone booth. Boyer told the police a phony story about a rape and fled the scene.

Sam was dead when the police arrived and, since the whore had stolen his wallet, they had no idea who it was and took it as a routine justified homicide in the ghetto.

The coroner’s inquest should have been a slam-dunk, but not one pertinent question was asked by an investigator, now with a background check made that would have revealed Bertha Franklin’s deadly past. The authorities simply took her made-up story as “gospel”.

Sam’s murder was chalked up as just another unidentified “rapist” killed in Watts. It wasn’t until the following Monday morning that a reporter found out Sam Cooke was signed in to the motel registry as himself and that one of the world’s greatest talents and a true human being was dead, under shady circumstances that might never be covered by the media.



  1. If Sam hadnt of been such a womanizer, whoever wanted him dead wouldn’t have been able to use Elisa to trap him. That’s what happen when you keep messing around with women, you’ll mess around and meet the wrong one who’ll do you end. If he had been a good husband at home with his wife, he might have lived longer. Maybe he should have read his bible more where it said “you reap what you sow.”

  2. Sam could’ve still escaped the mob’s influence had he not been fooled by that hooker… sad to say but Sam’s addiction to lust is what killed him. As for Otis, James Brown allegedly told him to not take that plane (which I heard was originally his but he sold it to Otis?) on that trip the month he died. But Otis was in a rush to do shows to make money. So that pretty much sealed his fate. The confusion of Sam’s story is no one who was there at Sam’s funeral could conclude that Sam was beaten up as Etta James had described in her book but then again she might’ve been telling the truth. Who knows? There’s too many conflicting reports on Sam’s death. I’m not surprised with how they concluded what happened on the so-called “official report”.

  3. Sam cooks wasn’t. The only celebrity at that motel that night, and Sams daughter married bobbys brother becoming his stepdaughter and sister in law. Don’t believe me ask womack. & womack.

  4. It’s a very tragic nd confusing story fell really bad for the fellow nd now where is that bitch called Bertha Franklin is she still alive? I wanna know??

  5. Some real stupid people here, but Don V takes the cake. Let me do the math for you Don… Bertha Franklin was a 55 year old woman in 1964, which was 49 years ago. 55 + 49 = 104. That would be her age today, if still alive. Thus, I’m pretty sure she’s moved on. If not… I’m sure she could still whoop your @$$.

  6. What happen to Elisa Boyer? Did she die in prison or served her time and was released on the second degree murder of Louis Reynolds in 1979?

  7. If you think she really died of a heart attack,I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I like to sell to you.These murdering bastards will kill their own father in order to cover their tracks.

  8. And,I would bet all I have that you are most likely right on the money.The music industry is very treacherous.The ironic part is that after they kill you,they still continue to make money of your dead ass without having to pay you nothing.

    • Yep .. This all goes back to they don’t want a brother having shit.
      This is all a form of slavery.. You couldn’t pay me to sell my soul to Hollywood .

  9. Would it hurt you guys to use spell check! Would it hurt you to proof read before you post your comment?!?!? I have a headache trying to read your comments!! Damn!!

  10. RIP Sam. I don’t believe he was a bad guy, sounds like he was murdered. Someone who sings Cupid so beautifully couldn’t be as bad as they paint him. This was about money. Pretty sad Cooke died for a little money. He was a great singer.

  11. “his wife wasn’t shit” but yet he was the one who caused his own death and wasn’t shit by trying to get some “strange” prostitute while he should have been home with his black wife and family…yeah ok! black people always want to blame the white man for the black man’s demise but they cause it upon themselves…more than often when they’re chasing after his daughters.

    • first of all truth be told his wife was cheating with Bobby womack we always listen to what the media says and believe it, sam cook also was going to fire his manager, the wife and manager was going to lose everything he was the same guy that broke up the bettles and also manage the rolling stones before they fired him ,sam cook died because he would not relinquish his rights they put a mickey in his drink at the club PJ’s he was there for a business meeting not hanging out trying pickup some prostitue it was a setup,sam wife sold all his music right to his manager six month later for one hundred thousand dollars pull up Alan Kline you will see….

      • Hi Jacky

        You are so right. Hi Angela please read the book by BJ (one more river to cross)it’s on amazon please download it and stop making a fool of your self. Human like you makes me (SICK) love white folk. Some whites that are in the media are just down right devils.

    • His wife was screwing his friend who was wearing sams watch and house coat a few days after walking around sams house no she wasnt shit.

  12. I never bought into the story of Sam Cooke’s death. It was just too far-fetched. He would not have to rape any woman. It seems clear that robbery was the motive. He had the misfortune of running into two grifters that ended his life. It sounds like the police did a really shoddy job of investigating his death. Racism may or may not been the cause. As a celebrity you would think they would put a lot more effort into investigating the women’s claims. Just a sad story all the way around.

  13. When are they going to do Sam’s Cooke biopic? Where’s Barbara now, and I wonder how many children did he have in all and where are they now? (I know it’s a loaded question!)

  14. They talked about a biopic movie about Sam for years. But I believe that his image after his death (accused of attempted rape) puts a damper on it. Also getting the rights to his music also plays a big role. Barbara is still alive and resides in the united states. He has fathered 8 biological children, and has 1 stepson, for a total of 9. Two have passed away. Vincent Cooke and Denise Sommerville. His children reside in different states Ohio, California, Chicago, and one of his daughters lives in Africa. His daughter Linda and her children, still are in the music business. Lindas daughters (Sam’s grands) perform in california alot, and can be found on facebook and youtube. His son Keith Bollings, had a hit in the 1970’s with the group Chee chee and peppy, if you youtube that name you can hear their songs. His other children attend their fathers yearly memorials.

  15. I believe that Sam Cooke was set up to be murdered for most of the reasons stated here and I believe that the police was also involved. He was into the Civil Rights movement and this irritated the police because while they were wanting the crowd to shut up about Civil Rights, here was another black man with power who was stirring them up. Whether he would have lived if he wasn’t out with a prostitute is irrelevant, when its your time to go, its your time to go. I do believe that there were others there who beat him and then drug him to the office unconscious. I believe that he came to sooner than expected and was then shot. He was a great and wonderful man and performer. God will deal with all of those involved.

  16. I think Sam Cooke forseen his death earlier in life. Listen to the song I’m So Glad w/ the soul stirrers. Soon one morning, soon one morning you know when death come creeping I my room, oh soon one morning I I I I I I’ll be tried Iknow soon one morning you know death comes creepin in my room now oh my lord oh my lord what shall I do

  17. I never knew Figueroa went through Watts,I haven’t read this whole article, but after seeing that, I know this is just someone speculating.

  18. What a shame, I heard an anouncer on the radio talking about Sam Cooke what a shame he was murdered, & because he was a blackman, it was ok, for the life of me I will never understand racist people, shame on you, I am Australian, born in the West, I have all sorts of friends, if they were rainbows we'd all look in wonder of the beauty, but they are just colors of black to brown to white… Sam's death should have gone to trial & the person thrown in prison… what a waste of pure talent…

  19. I read some of the best points that I have ever read about Sam's death then ever before on these postings! Thanks for the information!

    On thing I am surprised that the one writer posted what happen to Franklin? The Black Silver back that killed Sam or covered up and said that she shot him died 18 months later. The very same people who paid her to tell that BIG LIE, are probably the same people who went to Michigan and killed her as well! She thought just because she left town that she was safe!

    I think they proved her wrong! They said she had plenty of death threats? You know that they were going to kill her and probably set up the death of Ms, Boyer's boyfriend as well.


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