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Sylvia Fine

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Also Known As: Sylvia Fine Kaye Died: October 28, 1991
Born: August 29, 1913 Cause of Death: emphysema
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: composer, lyricist, producer, teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Songwriter whose witty, complex lyrics and melodic tunes were often written as special material to showcase the unique talents of her husband, Danny Kaye. (Kaye once admitted, "I am a wife-made man".)Fine wrote the music and/or lyrics for such Kaye vehicles as "Up in Arms" (1944), "Wonder Man" (1945), "The Kid From Brooklyn" (1946) "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1947), "The Inspector General" (1949) and "The Court Jester" (1956), and once estimated that she had created over 100 songs for him during their 40-year collaboration. Her songs ranged from fast-paced, tongue-twisting patter numbers such as "Anatole of Paris" and "Melody in 4-F", to the tender "Lullaby in Ragtime" from "The Five Pennies" (1959), to love songs such as "All About You" from "Knock on Wood" (1954). Fine received Oscar nominations for her songs for "The Moon is Blue" (1953) and "The Five Pennies" and also won an Emmy for the 1975 TV production "Danny Kaye: Look in at the Met".

Songwriter whose witty, complex lyrics and melodic tunes were often written as special material to showcase the unique talents of her husband, Danny Kaye. (Kaye once admitted, "I am a wife-made man".)

Fine wrote the music and/or lyrics for such Kaye vehicles as "Up in Arms" (1944), "Wonder Man" (1945), "The Kid From Brooklyn" (1946) "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1947), "The Inspector General" (1949) and "The Court Jester" (1956), and once estimated that she had created over 100 songs for him during their 40-year collaboration. Her songs ranged from fast-paced, tongue-twisting patter numbers such as "Anatole of Paris" and "Melody in 4-F", to the tender "Lullaby in Ragtime" from "The Five Pennies" (1959), to love songs such as "All About You" from "Knock on Wood" (1954). Fine received Oscar nominations for her songs for "The Moon is Blue" (1953) and "The Five Pennies" and also won an Emmy for the 1975 TV production "Danny Kaye: Look in at the Met".

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
After college helped put on skits at a summer camp in Pennsylvania where fellow entertainers included Imogene Coca, Max Liebman and Danny Kaye; first wrote specialty material for Kaye including a Yiddish version of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado"
1939:
Debut as Broadway composer-lyricist-skit writer when skits written for Pennsylvania summer camp produced on Broadway as "The Straw Hat Revue"
1940:
Debut as a nightclub performer with Danny Kaye at La Martinque in NYC; Fine wrote the music and lyrics and accompanied Kaye on the piano 9date approximate)
1943:
Signed by Samuel Goldwyn to write special material for Kaye
1952:
Formed Dena Productions with Danny Kaye
1959:
Associated producer of "The Five Pennies" (also songwriter)
:
Embarked on separate career as a TV producer and teacher in the 1970s
1971:
First taught a course on musical theater at UCS
1975:
Taught her musical theater course at Yale
1975:
Executive produced award-winning TV special, "Danny Kaye: Look-In at the Met"
1979:
Produced and narrated her musical theater course as a three part PBS special, "Musical Comedy Tonight"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Brooklyn College: Brooklyn , New York -

Notes

"I can't say what Danny Kaye is like in private life. There are too many of them." --Sylvia Fine (quoted in "Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion", 9th edition, 1998)

"I'm Anatole of Paris,

I shiek with chic;

My 'at of ze week

Caused six divorces, three runaway 'orses...

I'm Anatole of Paris, ze 'ats I sell

Make people yell

'Is zat a 'at or a two-room flat?"

--Sylvia Fine's lyric from "Anatole of Paris"

Fine was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Brooklyn College (1985

She financed the restoration of the Hunter College Playhouse (1990)

Fine also endowed the Sylvia Fine Chair in Musical Theater at Brooklyn College in 1991.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Danny Kaye. Actor, singer, comedian. Married on January 3, 1940; born on January 18, 1913; died on March 3, 1987.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Samuel Fine.
mother:
Bessie Fine.
sister:
Rhoda Gamson.
daughter:
Dena Kaye. Magazine and TV journalist. Born in 1946.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Fine and Danny" Alfred A. Knopf

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