“Daughter of Danny Kaye Has Role in Pop’s Picture”

Schenectady Gazette – Dec. 8, 1958

By: Joe Finnigan (UPI Hollywood Correspondent)

These three screencaps are from The Five Pennies. Though there is no definite answer on this, I believe the girl in the checkered dress is Danny's daughter, Dena. As you'll read from this article, she had a brief appearance, including one line, which the above girl did have. ("Oh, one of those.")

HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 7 (UPI) – Danny Kaye’s little girl, Dena, is in pop’s next picture and the comedian says “she couldn’t be more delighted,” but not because of any yen for show business.

The 11-year-old girl liked the idea of getting out of school while working on “The Five Pennies,” Kaye’s latest for Paramount.

“All little girls go to school from 9 to 3,” Kaye explained. “but she only went from 9 to 12 when she was on the set.”

“And she has only one line which will make her self-supporting for a couple of months,” the popular laugh-getter revealed.

Despite the fact dad is one of the world’s top comedians, the little girl hasn’t evidenced any desire for a stage career.

“She doesn’t really seem to think it’s worth while,” Danny laughed.

“Dena never knew what I did until she was about five years old,” Danny recalled. “She thought I went to a garage every morning.”

Wearing a sarong for his role as Red Nichols, whose life story is told in “Pennies,” Kaye chewed on a piece of pineapple as he prepared for another take of the picture.

Danny had the bright red and white sarong on for a scene in which he’s part of a quartet singing a Hawaiian song that somehow or other gets mixed up with tempo and lyrics from the old standard “Indiana.”

Similar mixups occur when Danny sings tunes dressed as an Eskimo, Cossack and Royal Canadian Mounted policeman.

Each time “Indiana” gets confused with the local tunes, poor Kaye ends up out of a job.

“From the feeling I get while making this picture,” Danny commented, “it should be a success.”

“It has a great many elements, a moving story, music and comedy. Red Nichols had a very interesting life.”

“It’s as different from ‘Me and the Colonel’ as that one was from the ‘Court Jester,’” he added.

“That’s the fun of making movies, you go from one to another in a wide span of characterization.”

“Mind you,” he cautioned, “I still don’t enjoy movies as much as I do working on the stage.”

Danny’s last picture, “Me and the Colonel,” is regarded by some as a film that could win Kaye an academy award but the comedian was a little concerned over its attendance figures.

“When I made the picture it was with the calculated risk that it wouldn’t make people break the theater down, it has no sex or violence,” he said.

“I’m not disappointed in ‘Colonel’ but I just wish more people would see it,” he remarked “and from what I understand that’s what’s beginning to happen.”

- Home -