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1940s / Memories of Danny Kaye
Danny was born David Daniel Kaminsky in Brooklyn in 1913, the son of an immigrant Russian tailor. After dropping out of high school he worked for a radio station and later as a comedian in the Catskills. After his solo success in the Catskills, he joined the dancing act of Harvey and Young in 1933. On opening night he lost his balance and the audience broke into a roar of laughter. He would later incorporate this into his act. Enjoying growing popularity in 1939, Danny won over the Broadway crowd that same year with his show-stopping comic singing in "Lady in the Dark," in which he rattled off the names of more than fifty polysyllabic Russian composers in 39 seconds in a song called "Tchaikovsky." Throughout the early 1940's he performed night club acts, on Broadway, and to support the troops overseas during WWII. Though he appeared in his first film in 1937, it wasnít until almost 10 years later that his film career hit its stride. Throughout his career he starred in seventeen movies, including THE KID FROM BROADWAY (1946), THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (1947), THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (1949), HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (1952), and the incomparable THE COURT JESTER (1956). In one of his final performances, he proved the versatility of his talent and earned rave reviews for his impassioned portrayal of a Holocaust survivor in the 1981 television movie SKOKIE. In 1987 Danny died of a heart attack in Los Angeles. An amazing actor, singer, dancer, comic, and all-around entertainer, he was a Renaissance man off the stage as well as on, where he was a celebrated chef, a baseball team owner, and an airplane pilot, flying everything from Piper Cubs to Boeing 747ís. His deep and continued commitment to the betterment of the people of the world was an inspiration, and his intelligent humor created a style all his own that made him one of the most beloved entertainers of his time. In a clip from the 1952 film "Hans Christian Andersen", Danny shows off his incredible style with "Inchworm.