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On the night of December 11, 1964, Sam had withdrawn a considerable amount of cash, reportedly to buy Christmas presents.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. The one thing about Sam Cooke I admired the most, was the main reason I never believed the story concerning his death. He owned himself, fully. No way a black man could pull that off, without much pressure or more power. Nat King Cole was the only other one, I know of, at that point besides Sir Duke.

  2. @Bigger,
    Don’t forget about Ray Charles and Curtis Mayfiled as well. They both owned their publishing companies back then. Ray had the best contract of any musician at the time, including Frank Sinatra.
    As for Sam’s death, there had to have hp been more than the hooker and the hotel manager in on the scheme. Sam had been brutally beaten. His hands were busted up and he had other major injuries. This was explained in the book “Our Uncle Sam” by Erik Greene, Sam’s nephew. Even in the casket, the wounds were evident. Aretha Franklin noted how beat up Sam was.
    Some say it was a mob hit. My question is, why would Sam sign into a nasty low lived downtrodden place like that when he had the wherewithal to go to another motel and get his groove on. I know the times were different and blacks could not lodge everywhere but why The Hacienda, which was on the rough side of town?!
    What pisses me off even more is Allan Klein (Sam’ manager) got all of Sam’s masters and his family is still making millions off e catalog. Makes me wonder if he had something to do wi the death. Also, Sam’s wife wasn’t shit cause she sold her take in Sam’s catalog for $150 stacks. Stupid ho. JUST DAMN!!!

    • Ray never owned his publishing rights. He was laughed at for asking. Curtis may have, but wasn’t that later on, after he left the Impressions?

      • So, Ray didn’t own his publishing? What was Tangerine Publishing? It was Ray’s publishing company named after his Record label Tangerine Records.
        Watch the movie, Ray, read the book, and research online. He was not “Laughed at”. Ray was paid. And Ray definitely owned his masters from the deal he had with ABC-Paramount Records.

        After his Atlantic Records contract had ended, Ray Charles signed with ABC-Paramount Records in November 1959, obtaining a much more liberal contract than other artists had at the time.[21] Following his commercial and pop crossover breakthrough with the complex hit single “What’d I Say” earlier that year, ABC offered Charles a $ 50,000 annual advance, higher royalties than previously offered and eventual ownership of his masters — a very valuable and lucrative deal at the time.[22]

        • They never wanted a man of color having shit. The white record business always wanted to keep their black artists in line & if they got out of line trying to do their own thin, boom! Another mysterious murder. Not to get off topic but there has been a speculation that even Frankie lymon was murdered. He was found dead in a bathroom with only a needle 3 ft away from him. No spoon, no stretch & no fresh track marks. Hes been clean 3 years prior to that night too & the very next day he was going to make what people at that time were calling one of the most anticipated comebacks of 1968. He was set up just like sam cooke & other artists like Eazy E, Tupac Shakur & Biggie smalls & even Michael Jackson. Nothing has changed either.

    • “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.

  3. yes this is what I read on They only excluded parts where he was hit over the head and i believe the part about bertha already being a murderer.. The whore was not black.. I think that also played a big part.. LAPD has been shady for decades.. Rent the movie the changling with angie jolie.. This is based on a true story from the i believe 1930’s or 40’s.. I read the actual story online and there when pics..i read it on the crime library aka crime tv..

  4. Sam was a ladies man. The whore was Eurasian and in 1979 was convicted of killing her then boyfriend. Also that old big black Bert had the nerve to attend Sam’s funeral and tried to sue his estate. It definitely was some other shadiness involved but A$$ can be a man’s downfall. Unfortunately, that was his weakness. But the Killer died 18 months after Sam of a ” heart attack”. Hello, Karma!

    • 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 .

  5. My aunt dated Sam Cooke in the early 60s and she believes that yes, Sam was set-up and murdered because he had a large following and was a civil rights leader. This was obviously threatening to Whitey so yes, he was put down. Sad but true. As well as Otis Redding. A Black in this world with too much money and humanity is a dangerous mix, especially if they are fighting the power and have a large following. beware of the power and be headstrong and intelligent when doing your thing out here. Evil can be outsmarted. That’s the great thing about true liberation.

    • Otis was stupid and flew in a plane that was not sound mechanically. Otis was just beginning to become popular as a crossover artist when he died. However, Otis had his business together. His family lived and still lives well from his residuals.
      Otis was far from a civil rights activist and Sam wasnt either. Keep in mind that “A Change Is Gonna Come” was released after Sam died. Sam had his business together it after his death, Bobby and Sam’s widow ruined the empire Sam built.

      • You must be out of your fucking mind to say that Sam was not a activist. Before the ALI fight Malcolm x and Ali and Sam was follow and video tape and their room bug my the FBI. Why you ass hole ? Not because the FBI like his singing. and Martin also. Sam Cooke was good friends with them and he was helping the black movement with cash and support. Remember the next week are so before his death he was going to clean house. Klein ,Barbara was on their way out of his life. That’s why if you see that photo of Klein handing Sam the keys to the new RR before the Copa concert. Some artist at that time and right now would jump in to that car and be happy .This Man that was call Sam Cooke was to smart for the bull shit. It was more them that big black Bertha and the 2 dollar whore Lisa that play and part in his death. This movie that going to start this years guest who control it. So the bottom line.Boys and Girls. Do your fucking home work !

        • God damn boy! Oh all off up in your feelings about this huh?
          Calm the fuck down you niglet. This shit happened fifty years ago bitch.
          Sam Cooke is still dead and you are still a no spelling, ignorant assed mother fucker.

          • You’ve got quite the way with words considering your anonymity.

            Mr Soul schooled you and the best you can come up with his racial slurs, when you should be thanking him for educating you. You give us crackers a bad name

            • That’s the devil for you, come to a page dedicated to the mysterious death of the most savvey businessman of any era, and spew hate, that should show everyone on here Sam Cooke was set up. It’s 2014 and the powers that be still don’t want you to dig to deep.

  6. The good doctor was. A monkey to he thought he wasent going to have to do any jail time he will be out in less then a year though Watch what I tell ya

  7. On the Mike Jack tip- Have u ever seen the movie “the mechanic” and how they hit the Zen Master while he was taking propafol. Me thinks that’s how they did Mike.

  8. Sam Cooke was a ladies man. The rumor was the Bobby WomCk and Sam’s widow paid for the hit. They were creeping before Sam was killed. Womack envied Sam, took all he had, his wife and his life, then molested his daughter.

  9. Sam Cooke was killed for money. That’s as blunt as I can put it. No one wanted to see a recording artist owning shit. Ask Tommy James of the Shondells. He tried to get his masters back and a few mobsters connected with the industry “scared” him out of it. Hell, ask the family of Bobby Fuller, who always believed Bobby was killed because he was looking to own his music just as he was getting hot.

  10. There is no dought that sam was sat up by some-one who was jealous of him, or some-one who wanted his roalites,like allen klien,bobby womack, the klan,only god knows///? but either way justice will be served one day…. baraba cooke is 75-years old come out with the truth be-fore you meet your maker what kind of woman would marry her husband best friend? and let her daughter be subject to molestation to her husband and also name a son that her and sam had that died in june of 1963 the same name that her and bobby womack son was named is this insane or what this woman is a nut case……. a true nut case.

  11. I agree with you all. It’s so unfortunate that we can only speculate or know what’s the truth but not have it legally confirmed. Sam was so talented and handling his business. Like so many others taken away so soon. Malcom X was another brilliant mind taken out by those who feared him.

  12. Yup whitey did it. Everyone knows what Ike Turner says is gospel. Just ask Tina Turner. No white person gave a shat if a colored had money back then they only cared if the music was good. He got caught dipping his stick where he should not have and got killed during it.

    • ike wrote the first rock n roll song ever.

      too bad he’
      s just known for being a junkie and a womanbeater.

      and yeah tina knows all about her precious white men.

  13. This is The Chi Lites Son

    The Mysterious Death Of Black Legendary Entertainers Is Not A Surprise The Black Icons Like Jackie Wilson And The Chi Lites Co-Founder Creadel Jones Singer Of The Chi Lites Who Die Mysterious Shortly Before The Royalties In Which Where

    Distributed After His Death Was Published In 1994, But Exploitation Still Allowed For His Death In Which Was From The Abuse Of Exploitation That Caused The Chi Lites Creadel Jones To Be Left Homeless And Destitute From Being Exploited From The Chi Lites

    Record Label Brunswick Records In Which Was Mob Ran With Owner Nat Tarnopol. Royalties In Which Was Earned From The Chi Lites Over 100,000 Million Records That Was Sold Through Out Creadel Jones And His Group The Chi Lites Music Carrie Earned Over 1 Billion Dollars Not Including Records Sales After

    His Death In 1994 Until Currently Are Concerts.
    The Reports Of Sam Cooks Death Resulted In A Medical Report That Stated That Sam Cook Was Beaten To Death To The Point His Body Had Appeared To Not Be Able To Be Matched With His Normal Photo Image. The Mafia Was Suspected In Being Involved With His Death.

    Sam Cook Threaten To That Over The Hold Of Black Legendary Entertainers In Which Were Exploited By The Mafia And Jewish White Owned Record Labels In Which Exploited Billions Of Dollars From Black Legendary Entertainers Like The Chi Lites, Jackie Wilson, Sammy Davis Jr, Extra…..

    The Chi Lites Were On Over forty Different Record Label In Which The Chi Lites Original Record Label Licensed Ranging From Warner Brothers, to The Following Capital Records, Epic Records, Sony Records, RCA Records, Crimson Records, Atlantic Records, Brunswick Records, Motown Records, Poly

    Gram Records, Artesia Records, Mercury Records, Time Life Records, Rhino Records, Crimson Records, Island Records, Buck Eye Records, Chi Sound Records, Columbia Records, MCA Records, Universal Music Group, A&M Records, Decca Records, Fox Records, ABC Records, Jive Records, BMI Records, CBS Records, AME Records, Sun Records, Extra…….

    Many Of The Record Refused To Even Publicizes Any Of The Chi Lites Record Sales Are Any Of The Legendary Black Entertainers Records Sales Like Jackie Wilson Even Today The Cover Up Is Still Being Done By Many Of The Black Legendary

    Entertainers Record Labels In Which Sold Black Legendary Entertainers Records And Earned Tens And Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars Combined With All These Legendary Black Entertainers Record Earning Revenues Michael Jackson Alone Earn Over 14 Billion

    Dollars From Just His Records Sales Alone. Just Add His Estimated Records Sales In Which Was Reported 750,000,000 Million Records Sales As Mentioned In
    2009 Following His Death. The Billions Of Dollars Earned From His Concerts Earnings Which In Total Were Over 4 Billion Dollars Many In Which Were Over 150,000,000 To 200,000,000 Million Dollars Ever World Tour From World Tours Thru Out The World.

    Creadel Jones Was Thought Be Allowed To Be Homeless And To Be Murdered By Poverty in which Was Intended To Cause Homelessness And Death .For More On this Subject Go To

  14. Sam was followed to the hotel from the last club that he went to. Elisa was on the take..she knew the Mob Goons..that started the rucuse…it was a hit ..they followed to the hotel, Sam went into the bathroom and came out to the Mob..Elisa left with the money and met Bertha…After they Beat him, they brought him to the office….murdered him and did a bad stage job….

  15. Sam Cooke was murdered for the exact same reason that

    Irv Gotti
    Suge Knight
    Damon Dash

    had FBI cases fictionalized against them when they were in the planning stages of forming their own INDEPENDENT music distribution conglomerate.

  16. 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.”

  17. 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”.

  18. 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.

  19. 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??

  20. 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 @$$.

  21. 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?

  22. 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!!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!)

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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…

  31. 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.