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Danny Kaye

Danny Kaye

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The Inspector General DVD This comical tale of mistaken identity and bureaucratic buffoonery stars Danny... more info $6.98was $6.98 Buy Now

On The Double DVD "On the Double" (1961) features Danny Kaye in a hilarious World War II comedy.... more info $24.95was $24.95 Buy Now

Knock On Wood DVD Physical comedian extraordinaire Danny Kaye can't control his dummy in "Knock on... more info $24.95was $24.95 Buy Now

White Christmas: 2-Disc Holiday Edition... "White Christmas" (1954) is a 2-disc holiday collection, starring the... more info $29.98was $29.98 Buy Now

Merry Andrew DVD Archaeologist Andrew Larabee tunnels below an English meadow, seeking a rare... more info $19.99was $19.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: David Daniel Kaminsky Died: March 3, 1987
Born: January 18, 1913 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, singer, comedian, conductor, dancer, pilot, insurance clerk, busboy, soda jerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Gifted, energetic and immensely charismatic comedic entertainer who honed his skills as a rapid-fire patter singer, a comedian and a master of fractured foreign accents and mimicry on the "Borscht Belt" circuit of Catskill resorts and in vaudeville, before moving to Broadway and films in the early 1940s. With clever songs and special material tailored to showcase his comedic gifts and light sweet voice written by Sylvia Fine (whom he married in 1940) and the backing of Samuel Goldwyn with whom he signed in 1943, Kaye starred in a series of evergreen comedies with music, often playing befuddled innocents who act with surprising heroism and ultimately get the girl. Among his most beloved classic films are "Wonder Man" (1945) "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1947), "The Inspector General" (1949), "Hans Christian Andersen" (1952) and "The Court Jester" (1956).

Gifted, energetic and immensely charismatic comedic entertainer who honed his skills as a rapid-fire patter singer, a comedian and a master of fractured foreign accents and mimicry on the "Borscht Belt" circuit of Catskill resorts and in vaudeville, before moving to Broadway and films in the early 1940s. With clever songs and special material tailored to showcase his comedic gifts and light sweet voice written by Sylvia Fine (whom he married in 1940) and the backing of Samuel Goldwyn with whom he signed in 1943, Kaye starred in a series of evergreen comedies with music, often playing befuddled innocents who act with surprising heroism and ultimately get the girl. Among his most beloved classic films are "Wonder Man" (1945) "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1947), "The Inspector General" (1949), "Hans Christian Andersen" (1952) and "The Court Jester" (1956).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Entertaining the Troops (1989) Himself
2.
 Skokie (1981) Max Feldman
3.
 The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) The Ragpicker
4.
 The Man From the Diners' Club (1963) Ernie Klenk
5.
 On the Double (1961) Pfc. Ernest Williams/Gen. Sir Lawrence Mackenzie-Smith
6.
 The Five Pennies (1959) Ernest Loring "Red" Nichols
7.
 Merry Andrew (1958) Andrew Larabee
8.
 Me and the Colonel (1958) S. [Samuel] L. Jacobowsky
9.
 The Court Jester (1956) Hubert Hawkins
10.
 Knock on Wood (1954) Jerry Morgan
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as a performing busboy at Catskill summer camps; worked as a soda jerk between engagements
:
Travelled to the Orient with A.B. Marcus Show
:
Toured with Abe Lyman's Band
1937:
Short film debut, "Dime a Dance" (two-reel short; produced by small independent film company, Educational Pictures)
1938:
Starred in "Getting an Eyeful" and "Cupid Takes a Holiday", short subjects for Educational Pictures; three shorts were later compiled into film titled, "The Danny Kaye Story/Birth of a Star" (1944)
1938:
Performed in cabaret show at the Dorchester in London
:
Stage debut in a vaudeville revue that toured US and Asia, "La Vie Paris"
1939:
New York stage debut, "Left of Broadway"
1939:
Broadway debut in "The Straw Hat Revue", comprised of skit material from summer camp in Pennsylvania that he, Sylvia Fine, Max Liebman and Imogene Coca had worked in
1941:
Gained first major notice for his high-speed novelty number, "Tchaikovsky" in the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin Broadway musical, "Lady in the Dark"
1941:
Starred in the Cole Porter musical "Let's Face It" on Broadway
1941:
Headlined a vaudeville revue at the Palace Theater in NY
1941:
Rejected MGM contract at $3,000 per week
1943:
Signed contract with Samuel Goldwyn who insisted he lighten his hair to blond; Sylvia Fine also signed by Goldwyn to write special material for husband
1944:
Feature film debut in "Up in Arms"
1945:
Premiere of "The Danny Kaye Show" on CBS radio
1948:
First performed at the London Palladium
1952:
Formed Dena Productions with Sylvia Fine
1953:
Signed with MGM to film a musical version of "Huckleberry Finn" co-starring Gene Kelly; film postponed, then project abandoned
1963:
Starred on "The Danny Kaye Show" on TV
1966:
Toured Vietnam war fronts with the USO
1969:
Played character part of ragpicker in final film, "The Madwoman of Chaillot"
:
Returned to Broadway as Noah in the Richard Rodgers-Martin Charnin musical "Two By Two"
1981:
TV movie debut, "Skokie"
1986:
Made guest appearance playing a dentist on "The Bill Cosby Show"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Thomas Jefferson High School: Dallas , Texas -
P S 149: Brooklyn , New York -

Notes

"I was a wife-made man."--Danny Kaye (quoted in "Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion", 9th edition, 1988).

Original last name alternately spelled Kominiski and Kominsky in various sources.

Donald Spoto in "Enchantment: The Life of Laurence Olivier" (1992) alleges that Olivier had a passionate 10-year affair with Danny Kaye and had written about it for his autobiography but Olivier's wife Joan Plowright ordered the reference deleted.

He received the UNICEF'S first award for Distinguished Service from the United Nation's Children's Fund.

UNICEF'S ambassador-at-large for 34 years.

Given the Scopus Laureate in 1977.

He received a honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Colgate University.

Honorary member of the American College of Surgeons.

Honorary member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He was awarded the Wateler Peace Prize from the Carnegie Foundation in 1981.

Made Chevalier in the Legion of Honor by French government 1986)

Received the Knight's Cross of the First Class of the Order of Danneborg by the Danish Government.

He was co-owner of the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Sylvia Fine. Composer, lyricist. Married 1940 until Kaye's death in 1987; died October 28, 1991 of emphysema at age 78.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Jacob Kaminsky. Tailor. Worked in NY garment center.
mother:
Clara Kaminsky. Died when Kaye was 14.
brother:
Mac Kaminsky.
brother:
Lawrence Kaminsky. Died 1969.
daughter:
Dena Kaye. Travel writer. Born 1946.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Danny Kaye Story"
"Fine and Danny" Alfred A. Knopf

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