"She makes Danny laugh. And he makes her laugh."
(from September 29, 1979)

(March 3, 1942)

He never takes a curtain call after a benefit performance without saying, “I’d like to introduce someone without whose help I wouldn’t be here—Sylvia Fine, my wife.”

(June 30, 1943)

"My wife has never lied to me."

(June 30, 1943)

Opening night of Let's Face It, after the audience thundered in applause:

Danny, a modest soul, went back to his dressing room where Sylvia awaited him, and said deprecatingly, "I was awful." "Yeah," echoed Mrs. Kaye, "you sure stank." "That," Danny tells me, "is what I love about my wife. She’s so truthful about my work."

(June 30, 1943)

“My wife comes from Brooklyn, and she lived on the same block as I did for ten years but I didn’t know this until I met her five years ago.”

(October 8, 1944)

"Romance and luck came in 1939. At a rehearsal for a Little Theater revue I met Sylvia Fine, a girl who had grown up right in my own neighborhood. She was writing lyrics and music for 'Straw Hat Revue,' and this show got me to Broadway. She is now Mrs. Danny Kaye, and her songs and lyrics are among those I did in 'Up in Arms' and which I am doing for 'The Wonder Man.'"

(April 29, 1945)

"It’s her words in my mouth that have made me what I am today.”

(July 28, 1946)

When asked if he'd teach his child how to become a star:

“I’m the one who’ll need the teaching. I’ll have to learn how to keep out of his way—or her way—so the poor kid won’t be burdened with being ‘Danny Kaye’s child.’ But then, Sylvia will manage that. She always does. She’s the brains of our family, you know.”

(August 12, 1957)

“Me—I like funny women, but those who still remain women. When I first met Sylvia [...], one of the things that impressed me most was her sense of comedy and how she could be feminine and funny at the same time."

Danny explaining Sylvia's response to her father when he asked her if she knew Danny had worked for him in his dental office:

“‘Yes, Dad,’ said Sylvia shyly, ‘and I think I loved him then.’ I could have just hugged her for that statement.” (From The Danny Kaye Story pg 73, published 1958)

(January 21, 1959)

Speaking about Sylvia's contribution to his success:

“Her songs, her words, her encouragement, her insistence. . . After all, she is the head on my shoulders.”

(February 16, 1960)

“Give Sylvia any subject at all and she’ll give you a rhyme.”

(November 9, 1962)

Speaking to columnist Earl Wilson about why Sylvia isn't going to help with his weekly TV show:

“A gifted, talented girl, but she’s committed to do a Broadway musical,” he said. “Writing for me tends to confine her sphere of creativity.

(November 12, 1962)

An interviewer once said to Kaye, “I gather your wife has been a great help to you.” . . . “That,” Danny said, “is a pale and watered down way of putting it.”

(February 10, 1981)

Speaking about appearing with Sylvia on Musical Comedy Tonight II (1981):

Kaye, predictably unpredictable, spiced his comments with taboo-on-TV terminology. “I wanted to shock her,” he said, “and see how good an editor she is.”

(March 3, 1942)

“When I saw Danny first I didn’t like him one bit—his clothes, his demeanor—but I did recognize an amazing talent and versatility. So I called Max [Liebman] and said, ‘I’ve found a genius. He’s covered with circuit corn and cheap theatrical tricks, but there’s pure gold underneath.’ Max agreed with me when he saw him. We worked together, changed Danny’s clothes and his haircut, consulted about his technique. Gradually Danny came to have more and more faith in my judgment. And he was wonderful—never resented a criticism.”

(April 30, 1944)

“Why, there’s nothing Danny can’t do. He’s a wonderful mimic and a very fine actor. I once complained because he didn’t have a German dialect. So he spent a couple of nights with some German refugees and now he has a whole assortment of German dialects.”

(April 30, 1944)

“He’s funnier in a living room than anywhere else. In fact, I get a lot of credit for writing his material. But the stuff Danny makes up is a lot funnier. That Melody in 4-F number in ‘Up in Arms’ for instance.”

(August 4, 1951)

“Danny’s act will always be spontaneous, because he never rehearses. [...] he just walks through it. He never rehearses facial gestures and those things.”

(August 4, 1951)

Talking to Danny:

"[...] you’re a rebel. I know. I used to play piano for you. I had to have eight ears to know what you were doing.”

"Usually, I play over what I've written for him and sing it once or twice. He sits quietly listening. But if what he hears excites him, he'll get up, start looking over my shoulder and begin to create. These are thrilling moments. I love watching something I've written come alive in him, in his face, in every gesture. I know what I've had in my head, but what he does is something better." (The Danny Kaye Story pg 206, published 1958)

"Danny is completely allergic to anything domestic except cooking. He won't touch a dish, never hangs his things away and doesn't like to eat at definite hours." (The Danny Kaye Story pg 206, published 1958)

"He's usually a very quiet guy--preferring to listen rather than talk--which is often taken by casual onlookers for a sense of superiority. He has a one-track mind, and when he's worried he just can't manage to be effusive. He rarely complains, is always late for dinner and always punctual for rehearsals." (The Danny Kaye Story pg 206, published 1958)

(May 8, 1959)

“Now, we’re similar in many ways. I don’t know who rubbed off what on whom. The only thing is I wish I had Danny’s genius. I don’t.”

(May 8, 1959)

“He has more facets than any man I’ve ever known. He is, in my opinion, a great man. He is both extremely intelligent and extremely intuitive—a combination you rarely see in one person. That is why he’s successful in everything he does. With people. With himself.”

(May 8, 1959)

“He would have been a great surgeon. He has the deft hands. And the intuition and the understanding and the curiosity and the energy. The damn fact of it is Danny Kaye could be anything he wanted to be—he’s that good.”

(June 3, 1959)

“Sometimes I break up writing material for him because I know exactly how he’ll handle it. Danny and I are really a working team. We rely on each other’s judgment. And no matter what our advisers say, in the final analysis it is up to us to decide what he should do. A husband and wife team working together undoubtedly puts some stress on our personal relationship, but there are compensations, too. Our mutual interests are so much the same it keeps us close together.”

(June 3, 1959)

“Danny is the funniest man I’ve ever known, but only when he’s in the mood. He’s an intelligent man of many facets. Once you get him on a subject he’s interested in and knows something about he becomes deadly serious. He’s unpredictable. I know him better than anyone else in the world, but even I don’t know when he will be serious or funny. Sometimes when we’re home alone Danny will go into a routine just to break me up. After all our years together he has to be funny to get a laugh from me, but he always does.”

(Dec. 3, 1967)

“I cooked magnificently until the day we got married. Then Danny took it up, and now Dena has. When those two specialist-types start in on something, I tell you it shrinks the field. Now I have to be content with being the party chef, and thinking up specialties for a crowd after 2 a.m. I keep a refrigerator stocked with things to enhance my reputation as a world champion at short orders. All Danny has to say is ‘Syl, we’re hungry,’ and I’m off.”

(April 25, 1975)

“The most difficult part is to get Danny to look at the material. Usually his first remarks is that the song’s too long. Most great performers—and there are only a few—are at their best when working before an audience, be it two or 2,000. Then he can improvise, which is one of his great talents.”

(September 29, 1979)

“I’m a good cook but from the day Danny started to cook, I stopped. He is a genius cook, he has an ineffable touch. James Bear and Craig Claiborne say he cooks the best Chinese food in the country. I love his Italian food: He makes the best pasta I’ve ever had.”

(October 1, 1979)

"I walked in and saw Danny doing a song called Vultures of Culture," she recalls. "He terrified me. I was very naive and before I had left that day, he made offers of a suggestive nature."

(October 1, 1979)

"Danny says if I were married to a traveling salesman, it would be the same, but I really love him."

(October 1, 1979)

"People said I was the head on his shoulders. He didn't like that, and I didn't. It's hard living in somebody's shadow. Someone will say: 'As Danny Kaye said' and I'll know it's from a number of mine."

(February 10, 1981)

Speaking about Danny's appearance with her on Musical Comedy Tonight II (1981):

“I’ve played the piano for him in the past and worked on his motion pictures, but I never sat in front of an audience and talked with him. I was terrified. He’s so unpredictable. I didn’t know what he would say or do.”

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