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Danny Kaye

Danny Kaye was an American actor and comedian. Born in Brooklyn as red-haired David Daniel Kaminski, Kaye became one of the world's best-known comedians. In 1941 he appeared in the Broadway show, Lady in the Dark and performed the famous number Tchaikovsky, in which he sung the names of a whole string of Russian composers at breakneck speed seemingly without taking a breath. He starred in many films such as Hans Christian Andersen (1942), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), The Inspector General (1949), White Christmas (1954), Knock on Wood (1954), and The Court Jester (1956). He also hosted a variety hour on CBS, The Danny Kaye Show, from 1963 to 1967.

In many of his movies as well as on stage he proved to be an able actor, singer, dancer and comedian, often having his comedic talents showcased by special material written by his wife, Sylvia Fine Kaye. He showed quite a different and serious side as Ambassador for UNICEF, and in one of his few dramatic roles in the memorable TV-movie Skokie, in which he played a Holocaust survivor. Before he died in 1987 he also showed he could conduct an orchestra during a comical, but technically sound series of concerts organised for Unicef fundraising.

He starred in several movies with actress Virginia Mayo in the 1940's.

Joan Plowright, widow of the actor Laurence Olivier, claimed that Olivier had a long homosexual relationship with Kaye while Olivier was still married to his second wife, Vivien Leigh.

Kaye starred in two biopics, Hans Christian Andersen about the Danish story-teller, and The Five Pennies (1959), about jazz pioneer Red Nichols.

Kaye made his film debut in a very rare short comedy called Money On Your Life.

He also starred in The Paladin of the Lost Hour, an episode of the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone.

He received two Academy awards, an honorary award in 1955 and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1982.

Danny Kaye is interred in the Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.

Danny Kaye Facts

Birth NameDavid Daniel Kaminski
OccupationActor, Comedian
BirthdayJanuary 18, 1913
BirthplaceBrooklyn, New York, USA
Date of deathMarch 3, 1987 (age 74)
Height5' 11" (1m80)  How tall is Danny Kaye compared to you?
Awards1983 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Life Achievement Award
1959 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (for Me and the Colonel)
1955 Academy Awards: Honorary Award
1952 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (for On the Riviera)

Selected Filmography

Doctor's Orders
The Inspector General
Brother's Keeper
White Christmas
The Court Jester
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Original TV Classic
Hans Christian Andersen
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