Danny Kaye

Actor / Singer / Humanitarian

Born: 18 January 1913
Died: 3 March 1987
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Best known as: Song-and-dance star of The Court Jester

Name at birth: David Daniel Kominski

Danny Kaye was one of the most popular entertainers in the United States and England during the 1940s and '50s, thanks largely to a string of successful films that showcased his witty song-and-dance routines. Kaye worked on Broadway, having success in the early '40s with Lady in the Dark. Audiences loved his energy and clever wit and he was a popular stage performer during World War II, frequently working with material written by his wife, lyricist Sylvia Fine. He made more than a dozen popular movies, including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), The Inspector General (1959) and The Court Jester (1956). For years Kaye was a spokesman for the United Nation's Children's Fund, and in 1954 he was awarded a special Oscar for his humanitarian efforts. During the '60s he was on TV, the star of The Danny Kaye Show (1963-67), but his style of entertainment was no longer the rage and his popularity waned. His last performance on screen was for the television movie Skokie (1981).

Extra credit: One of Kaye's more famous routines is from The Court Jester and includes the line "the pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true."

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