Danny Kaye

Actor, Singer, Comedian
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 ... Read more »
Born: 01/17/1913 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (33)

Entertaining the Troops 1987 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Cosby Show 1986 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Night of 100 Stars II 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Musical Comedy Tonight 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Disneyland's 25th Anniversary 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bob Hope Special (10/18/78) 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

CBS: On the Air 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Peter Pan 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

The Pied Piper 1971 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Madwoman of Chaillot 1969 (Movie)

The Ragpicker (Actor)

The Danny Kaye Show 1963 - 1967 (TV Show)

Actor

The Man From the Diner's Club 1962 (Movie)

Ernie Klenk (Actor)

On the Double 1961 (Movie)

Pfc Ernest Williams/Gen Sir Lawrence Mackenzie-Smith (Actor)

Me and the Colonel 1958 (Movie)

S L Jacobowsky (Actor)

Merry Andrew 1958 (Movie)

Andrew Larabee (Actor)

The Five Pennies 1958 (Movie)

Loring "Red" Nichols (Actor)

The Court Jester 1956 (Movie)

Hawkins (Actor)

Operation Entertainment 1954 - 1955 (TV Show)

Actor

Knock on Wood 1954 (Movie)

Jerry (Actor)

White Christmas 1954 (Movie)

Phil Davis (Actor)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 1947 (Movie)

Walter Mitty (Actor)

The Kid From Brooklyn 1945 (Movie)

(Actor)

Up in Arms 1943 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Song Is Born (Movie)

Prof. Robert Frisbee (Actor)

Hans Christian Andersen (Movie)

Hans Christian Andersen (Actor)

Here Comes Peter Cottontail (TV Show)

Voice

It's a Great Feeling (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

On the Riviera (Movie)

Henri Duran (Actor)

Pinocchio (TV Show)

Actor

Skokie (TV Show)

Actor

The Inspector General (Movie)

Georgi (Actor)
Producer (1)

The Five Pennies 1958 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

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).

Relationships

Mac Kaminsky

Brother

Sylvia Fine

Wife
married 1940 until Kaye's death in 1987 died October 28, 1991 of emphysema at age 78

Jacob Kaminsky

Father
worked in NY garment center

Clara Kaminsky

Mother
died when Kaye was 14

Lawrence Kaminsky

Brother
died 1969

Dena Kaye

Daughter
born 1946

EDUCATION

Thomas Jefferson High School

Dallas , Texas
quit during senior year at age 13

P S 149

Brooklyn , New York

Milestones

1986

Made guest appearance playing a dentist on "The Bill Cosby Show"

1981

TV movie debut, "Skokie"

1968

Played character part of ragpicker in final film, "The Madwoman of Chaillot"

1966

Toured Vietnam war fronts with the USO

1963

Starred on "The Danny Kaye Show" on TV

1953

Signed with MGM to film a musical version of "Huckleberry Finn" co-starring Gene Kelly; film postponed, then project abandoned

1952

Formed Dena Productions with Sylvia Fine

1948

First performed at the London Palladium

1944

Premiere of "The Danny Kaye Show" on CBS radio

1943

Feature film debut in "Up in Arms"

1942

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

1940

Rejected MGM contract at $3,000 per week

1940

Starred in the Cole Porter musical "Let's Face It" on Broadway

1940

Gained first major notice for his high-speed novelty number, "Tchaikovsky" in the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin Broadway musical, "Lady in the Dark"

1940

Headlined a vaudeville revue at the Palace Theater in NY

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

1938

Performed in cabaret show at the Dorchester in London

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)

1937

Short film debut, "Dime a Dance" (two-reel short; produced by small independent film company, Educational Pictures)

Returned to Broadway as Noah in the Richard Rodgers-Martin Charnin musical "Two By Two"

Toured with Abe Lyman's Band

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

Stage debut in a vaudeville revue that toured US and Asia, "La Vie Paris"

Bonus Trivia

.

"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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES