Danny Kaye (Real name: David Daniel Kaminsky; January 18, 1911 (Or 1913) March 3, 1987), was a comedian, dancer, singer and actor in The Golden Age of Hollywood. He specialized in physical comedy, pantomime and rapid-fire delivery of often nonsensical patter.
He was born David Daniel Kaminski on January 18, 1911, in Brooklyn, New York. He started his show business career in vaudeville, branching out later into film, Broadway, radio and television, achieving considerable success in each medium. His variety show on CBS won four Emmys and a Peabody award.
Kaye was also a philanthropist. He became the first ambassador-at-large of UNICEF in the 1950s.
On March 3, 1987, Kaye passed away at the age of 76. The cause of death was heart failure, as well as complications from Hepatitis C, which he had contracted a few weeks before his death.
His films include:
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)
- A Song Is Born (1948)
- The Inspector General (1949)
- Hans Christian Andersen (1952)
- White Christmas (1954)
- The Court Jester (1956)
- The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969)
His career provides examples of:
- Hidden Depths: While he was not a trained fencer, he was so quick and agile, and such a skilled physical mimic, that he proved an excellent improv swordfighter in The Court Jester, so much that he wore out Basil Rathbone, who was still one of Hollywood's greatest fencers at the age of 63, and even the fencing master brought in to double for the man supposedly asked him to take it easy on him! He was an accomplished pilot who flew everything from the Piper Cub to the Boeing 747.
- Improv: Very much part of his act.
- Motor Mouth: He was a grandmaster.
- Patter Song: Motor mouthing to music.
- Slapstick: A staple of his routines.
- Vaudeville: Where he got his start.