Danny Kaye

Danny Kaye

Highest Rated: 100% Wonder Man (1945)

Lowest Rated: 20% The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969)

Birthday: Jan 18, 1911

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Inimitable, multi-talented entertainer Danny Kaye first gained fame on Broadway by upstaging the great Gertrude Lawrence in Lady in the Dark in 1941 with an unforgettable rendition of the "Tchaikovsky," in which he rapidly fired off the names of 54 Russian composers in 38 seconds. Born David Daniel Kaminski, a garment worker's son in Brooklyn, New York, Kaye left school at age 13 to work as a mischievous busboy in the popular "borscht belt" resorts of the Catskill Mountains. While endeavoring to break into vaudeville and nightclub acts as a singer and dancer, Kaye also occasionally worked as a soda jerk and an insurance salesman. In 1939, he made his Broadway debut in Straw Hat Revue with Imogene Coca. Following the run of Lady in the Dark, he began making a series of educational films during the '30s. In 1943, he signed a movie contract with producer Sam Goldwyn, and became a star when he appeared in Up in Arms (1944). A talented mimic, physical comedian, singer and dancer, he was unlike any performer who had come before him. Kaye specialized in playing multiple roles or personalities in such films as Wonder Man (1945), The Kid From Brooklyn (1946), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), The Inspector General (1949), and On the Riviera (1951). Probably his best films are The Court Jester (1956), which contains the unforgettable "pellet with the poison's in the vestle with the pestle" routine, based on similar but less effective bits in earlier films, and White Christmas (1954). His wife, composer-lyricist Sylvia Fine, wrote most of his best gags and patter numbers throughout his career. Though tremendously popular during the mid-'40s through the '50s -- most particularly in Great Britain, where played to record-breaking crowds in the Palladium in 1948 and 1949 (he even made personal visits to Buckingham Palace) -- his bright star began to wane in the late 1950s when he began spending most of his time working for UNICEF, and traveling the world-over to entertain impoverished children. In the early to mid-'60s, he starred in The Danny Kaye Show, a comedy-variety television series for which he won an Emmy in 1964. He also found time to conduct symphony orchestras and appear in Two by Two on Broadway. In 1955, Kaye was awarded an honorary Oscar; the Motion Picture Academy also awarded him the Jean Hersholt Award in 1982 for his selfless work with UNICEF.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet White Christmas 60th Anniversary Actor 2014
No Score Yet The Best of Danny Kaye - The Television Years Actor 1993
No Score Yet 25 Years of Entertainment: Hollywood Highs Actor 1990
No Score Yet Skokie Max Feldman 1981
No Score Yet Pinocchio Gepetto 1976
No Score Yet Here Comes Peter Cottontail Seymour S. Sassafrass 1971
20% The Madwoman of Chaillot The Ragpicker 1969
No Score Yet The Man from the Diners' Club Ernie Klenk 1963
No Score Yet On the Double Pfc. Ernie Williams 1961
No Score Yet The Five Pennies Executive Producer 'Red' Nichols 1959
No Score Yet Me and the Colonel S.L. Jacobowsky 1958
No Score Yet Merry Andrew Andrew Larabee 1958
No Score Yet The All-Star Christmas Show (Bing Crosby - Bing Crosby's White Christmas USO All Star Show) Actor 1958
96% The Court Jester Hubert Hawkins 1956
No Score Yet Knock on Wood Jerry Morgan / Papa Morgan / Clarence 1954
77% White Christmas Phil Davis 1954
83% Hans Christian Andersen Hans Christian Andersen 1952
No Score Yet On the Riviera Jack Martin / Henri Duran 1951
No Score Yet It's a Great Feeling Himself 1949
90% The Inspector General Georgi 1949
50% A Song Is Born Professor Hobart Frisbee 1948
83% The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Walter Mitty 1947
60% The Kid From Brooklyn Burleigh Sullivan 1946
100% Wonder Man Buzzy Bellew, Edwin Dingle 1945
80% Up in Arms Danny Weems 1944
No Score Yet Getting an Eyeful Actor 1938
No Score Yet Moon Over Manhattan Actor 1935
No Score Yet Chasing Those Depression Blues Actor 1935


No Score Yet Great Performances
Appearing Performer 2013
No Score Yet The Cosby Show
Dr. Burns 1986
No Score Yet The Twilight Zone
100% The Muppet Show
Guest 1978
No Score Yet Live From Lincoln Center


Phil Davis says: When what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten, what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting, whatever it is you've got left.

Bob Wallace says: When I figure out what that means I'll come up with a crushing reply.

Hawkins says: The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle. The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.