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The following information has been compiled from various articles and books. I have tried to list some sources, though some info is repeated plentifully amongst many sources. These pictures are not owned by me. They were captured from the White Christmas Special Feature DVD
Birth Name: David Daniel Kominsky
*His last name has been spelled in various ways. In Martin Gottfried's book, Nobody's Fool (c) 1994, it is spelled "Kaminski" and the author claims that is most likely the most accurate spelling; however, he does not list any sources or how he knows this. In Kurt Singer's book, The Danny Kaye Story (c) 1958, the name is spelled "Kominsky." Many articles list "Kaminksy" or "Kominsky" while even a few spell it "Kominski" or "Kuminsky." For this page, I will be using the spelling found in Kurt Singer's book.
Hair Color: red (sometimes dyed blonde)
Eye Color: blue
Born and Raised In: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Parents: Jacob and Clara Kominsky
Older Brothers: Mac / Mack
Wife: Sylvia Fine (August 29, 1913 -
Daughter: Dena Kaye (born December 17, 1946) (December 18, 1946)
"In six years of breath-
"His popularity and nimble-
"When the announcement broke that Danny Kaye would do a six weeks stretch at London’s Palladium last summer, every available ticket was sold within five days. But that didn’t stop the orders. By the time the show closed, the management spent around $9,000 returning checks and money sent in by people hoping to gain admission. Top price for tickets was $2.60; but the inevitable black market ducats went for as much as $50 each. One party flew all the way from Istanbul to catch Danny’s performance; many streamed over from the continent."
"At the Savoy Hotel where he made his headquarters, a special switchboard hat to be installed to handle an average of 250 daily calls to the actor. His mail added up to 15,000 pieces a week. When he arrived in Glasgow 10,000 people met him at the station. He was escorted to his hotel by 55 bagpipers. At the end of his first press conference, the reporters, who enjoy tearing most actors to bits, sang 'For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.'"
"In London, Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten spent 45 minutes backstage with Danny. A cockney cab driver, complete with accent and waxed mustache, refused to take pay for his services. 'Charge Danny Kaye?' he snorted. 'Not me.'"
From a th birthday."
"Variety theaters, night clubs and fairs were willing to pay fabulous sums for glimpses of Kaye in the flesh. The motion picture companies insisted on his making personal appearances, since attendance skyrocketed as a result." (The Danny Kaye Story pg 169)
Here are some quotes and information from Martin Gottfried's book Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye regarding Danny's popularity and fame
"The Kid From Brooklyn had become a very popular picture. It was only his third movie,
and Danny Kaye was already an American institution. As a matter of fact, from the
In 1948, when Danny performed at the Palladium in London for six weeks, he became an instant star with the British audiences... "He was unable to walk the streets without being mobbed. [...] He could not leave the theater between shows, not even to have dinner" (p. 142). He had to have food brought to him.
Winston Churchill visited him backstage while Danny was performing at the Palladium.
Danny visited with George Bernard Shaw and other British royalty.
In 1952... "Even before the opening at the Palace [according to Martin Gottfried,
the American equivalent of the Palladium] in November-
Danny was always quick at memorization and reeling off words at high speed (). In The Danny Kaye Story, he refers to it as "a fly-
He memorized "Tschaikowsky" in one afternoon. (, The Danny Kaye Story, pg 80)
Sylvia on her husband's memory: "With his quick memory and perfect musical ear, he not only knows a number in no time at all, but is a great help to me. I forget my own lyrics. My own lyrics slip out from under me and I am stuck. Not Danny: he remembers every word, every chord; and after a pardonable husbandly dissertation on my inefficiency, we go on from there." (The Danny Kaye Story pg 85)
Dr. Irving Somach, about Danny’s memory: “I’ve never looked into the matter formally, but some part of a comedian’s brain must be overdeveloped. Comedians see more, hear more and remember more than an average person. In Danny’s case that part of his brain must be the size of a watermelon and as retentive as photographic film.” (The Danny Kaye Story pg 102)
Some sites, when listing famous left-
"In addition to a large and immensely valuable collection of ballplayers who are
Webmistress’ Thoughts: Most of the time, I've seen Danny using his right hand for things such as writing, sword fights, etc. However, if you really watch Danny throughout his movies and television appearances, you'll notice that a lot of time he gestures with his left hand, not his right. Also, it's been known that years ago most children were highly encouraged (and sometimes forced) to use their right hand, despite the tendency to want to use their left. Even into the early 1900s, children were still taught to use their right. In the September 4, 1976 edition of the newspaper, The Bryan Times, there was an article entitled "Lefty's World" in a Public Forum column. Here is a portion from that article:
Gwen, one of Broadway’s most successful stars, first worked with Kaye when she was
assistant choreographer to Jack Cole at Fox. “Danny was making one of his first pictures,
‘On the Riviera,’ and I was his keeper. Everything he danced in that picture, I had
to teach him.” . . . “I think Danny’s a good dancer,” I said. “What’s your opinion?”
. . . “I think he’s a mighty good mimic,” she laughed. “Actually, he refers to himself
as the great faker. Somehow he manages to look more like a ballet dancer than a ballet
dancer.” . . . “What’s he like to work with?” I persisted. . . “He doesn’t mind when
you have to push him around. But when we get on camera with a dance number he manages
to make it look as though he had invented the whole thing. As an actor he has great
respect for other actors. He’s not selfish.”
[From: “Gwen Verdon Pays A Visit To Home Town: Hollywood” in The News and Courier – Feb. 13, 1965]