Danny Kaye - Rotten Tomatoes

Danny Kaye

Highest Rated:   100% Wonder Man (1945)
Lowest Rated:   20% The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969)
Birthday:  
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

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
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
80% 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
89% 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
No Score Yet 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

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Performer
  • Appearing
  • 2013
  • 2006
No Score Yet The Twilight Zone
1985-1989
  • Actor
  • 1985
No Score Yet Live From Lincoln Center
2000
  • Performer

Quotes from Danny Kaye's Characters