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Here you will find a list of Danny Kaye biographical books, along with my recommendations.
I would also like to thank those fans who have offered their comments and reviews!
If you would like to add your review to the site, feel free to send me an email.

Danny Kaye: King of Jesters
by David Koenig
Released: November 1, 2012

Review Coming Soon

The Danny Kaye Story
[Singer, Kurt. The Danny Kaye Story. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1958.]

[Click Thumbnail for a larger view of the cover]

(Unfortunately there are no pictures in this book, except what you see on the cover.)

Kurt Singer's biography of Danny Kaye is the book to read! Published in 1958, it is a rare book to find, but if you are a serious fan and desperate for a warm, respectful, truthful-yet-admiring biography of this wonderful entertainer, I strongly encourage you to seek out a copy. Check places such as Amazon or Ebay. Singer's book was written with the consent and help of Danny and Sylvia. In fact, on the Acknowledgements page it says, “Danny Kaye…the modest guy who feels he is too young to write his own biography and will be too young until he is 'an old and doddering fool.'" This book is full of quotes from Danny and Sylvia, and gives wonderful insight into who Danny Kaye was without digging up all the dirt and rumors that are so common in Hollywood. This book is a must-have for any Danny Kaye fan! Another version was also printed entitled The Danny Kaye Saga. According to fellow fans, it is quite similar but has a bit more to offer.

Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye
[Gottfried, Martin. Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.]

[Click Thumbnail for a larger view of the cover]
(This book does contain several pages worth of pictures.)

If you're looking for a darker book geared more towards the dirt and rumors of Hollywood, then you ought to enjoy Gottfried's book. From a purely literary standpoint, it is a well-written biographical book; it's not as if one is reading a tabloid. He does cover the basic skeletal facts of Danny's life. However, the more one reads this book, the more one notices the silent innuendos by the author. Though Gottfried seems to dismiss the claims that Danny was homosexual or bisexual--pointing out that there is no clear-cut evidence for it, he focuses too much on Danny's sexual life, sometimes too forcefully and at inappropriate moments. He blatantly tries to press his point that Danny was sexually ambiguous. And the way he writes about Danny's wife, Sylvia, makes it seem that she was quite an awful person and not worth knowing. Granted we all have our faults, and Sylvia certainly had plenty, Gottfried could at least have tried to find something positive to say about this woman...and her husband. Unfortunately, most of the book has a negative feel as if the author has no admiration or respect for Danny at all. The reader is left wondering why the author chose to write about Danny to begin with. By the end, one is left feeling depressed. There is certainly no aspect of respect in this book at all. Aside from all this, the author does not list sources, aside from the list of people he included on the Acknowledgements page. Occasionally, a newspaper or magazine is named, however, there are no footnotes to explain where Gottfried received his information. (While The Danny Kaye Story does not have any footnotes or sources as such, Singer's book was written with the express assistance of Danny and Sylvia.) Unfortunately, this book is much easier to find than Singer's book, since it was published in 1994. As a result, it is this book that most sites rely on for biographical information on Danny. As you will notice, this site relies heavily on articles and Singer's book.

The conclusion...

If you're the type that is looking for some juicy dirt, consider investing your money into Nobody's Fool by Gottfried. On the other hand, if you're longing for a warm yet truthful and insightful look at Danny Kaye without the overtones of sex, begin the journey of tracking down The Danny Kaye Story by Kurt Singer. I promise you, it will be well worth your time and money!

Fellow Fan Comments and Reviews

From Liz: Gottfried’s book is looking to make scandal where there is none. Unfortunately, since it is the most current and because of the insinuations, it garners attention…in other words, the author wanted to sell books. However, he chose to lean toward unfounded information and at a time and place where Danny could not defend himself. (However, I think if Danny were here, he would have probably wisely ignored the book.)

The Secret Life of Danny Kaye
[Freedland, Michael. The Secret Life of Danny Kaye. 1985.]

I have not read Michael Freedland's book nor have I found many reviews on it. Here is the review you'll find on Amazon:

From Library Journal
In this latest of Freedland's Hollywood biographies, he takes the stand that Kaye has wasted his talent and never lived up to the undisputed genius shown in such films as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and in his postwar performances at London's Palladium, which made him an entertainment legend in England. Freedland emphasizes the negative side of Kaye's personality, with quote after quote from co-workers giving examples of his coldness and moodiness, or his compulsion to be center stage. Freedland's hyperbolic writing style gets in the way of his subject; he tries too hard to be clever and only succeeds in making his prose repetitive and boring. Whatever his problems, Kaye deserves better than this. Marcia L. Perry, Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, Mass. Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From this review, it sounds quite similar to Martin Gottfried's book...not worth reading. If you have read this book and would like to share your review, email me and I'll post it here.

Fellow Fan Comments and Reviews

From Liz: Freedland does not have as much as an agenda to make Danny look bad, but he spits things out without back up. More of here say. Freedland looks like he “borrowed” a lot from [Kurt] Singer, but still has to get his two cents in without any real meat. Basic facts are there.

Fine and Danny

In the early '90s, it was stated in newspaper articles that Sylvia Fine was writing a book about her life with Danny entitled "Fine and Danny." Sylvia passed away in 1991, and as of yet, I have not been able to determine if this book was ever published. It would have been an interesting read, I'm sure.

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