Danny Kaye's Interesting Facts

1 Goldwyn's wife Francis Howard would often travel to New York city scouting Broadway productions, looking for talent in both the production's acting areas and the creative teams involved in a Broadway production'a staging. Francis' trip (1941) to see the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin-Moss Hart musical "Lady in The Dark" -- she discovered Danny Kaye. Returning to Hollywood, Francis' ability to mint new stars from seemingly nowhere, Francis insisting her Husband, Samuel Goldwyn, put Danny Kaye under contract. After Danny Kaye arrived in Hollywood, several screen tests were made, studied, to determine the best possible path for Danny Kaye's future in Goldwyn's film business. The major problem with Kaye's physical look, besides his nose, was his natural dark-brown hair. Francis, upon seeing Kaye's screen tests, dictated to her husband -- "they had to change his hair color!" Francis was the one who said, "turn Danny into a red headed strawberry blond!" Goldwyn's studio press agent always insisted Danny Kaye's strawberry-blond hair was his natural hair color for publicity reckoning.
2 Danny Kaye held a Commercial Pilot's Certificate with the following ratings: Airplane Single and Multiengine Land & Instrument Airplane. In addition, he held type ratings to act as Pilot-in-Command of two small business class jets: The LR-Jet (Learjet 20 & 30 series)and the IA-Jet.
3 Kaye's daughter Dena has revealed that his birth certificate indicates that he was born in 1911, not 1913 as Kaye had publicly claimed, and that no one in the family knows why he made this alteration to his age.
4 His trademark red hair was his natural color, but he was persuaded to dye it blond because it looked better that way in Technicolor. Studio mogul Samuel Goldwyn Jr. also had asked Danny to get his nose fixed so it would look less Jewish, but he refused.
5 In 1942 Kaye was hospitalized for nervous exhaustion.
6 Kaye made his acting debut playing a watermelon sees in a school play at Brooklyn's P.S. 149.
7 Shirley MacLaine claims she had romance with Danny Kaye in her 2011 memoir, "I'm Over That And Other Confessions.".
8 In an article in Look magazine he related that once while flying over Kansas he correctly diagnosed a pain in his right side as appendicitis. He landed at the nearest airfield and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. He said he was told that a delay of even a half hour might have resulted in the appendix rupturing.
9 Was considered by producer Hal B. Wallis for the lead role in Visit to a Small Planet (1960) at the same time with Alec Guinness and Jerry Lewis, the last one eventually getting the role.
10 Conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra at New York's Carnegie Hall (10th March 1958) with his feet! This being a benefit concert, of course.
11 He awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6125 Hollywood Boulevard; for Motion Pictures at 6563 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Radio at 6101 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
12 He was a liberal Democrat who opposed the Hollywood blacklist.
13 While he was world famous for his comic acting ability, his last film appearance, Skokie (1981), in which he portrayed a Holocaust survivor protesting a planned march by Neo-Nazis, was one of only two dramatic film roles he played - the other was the role of the Ragpicker in the 1969 film The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969), starring Katharine Hepburn. Danny played in two other dramatic movies: The Colonel and Me and The Five Pennies.
14 The stage musical "The Kid from Brooklyn," which chronicled Kaye's life, implied a tempestuous affair with his radio co-star Eve Arden.
15 On April 21,1954, he was appointed UNICEF's Ambassador at Large, and made a 40,000 mile good-will trip, which resulted in the short, Assignment Children.
16 Originally considered for the leading role in "It Should Happen to You" (1954).
17 Biography in "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives," Volume Two, 1986-1990, pp. 472-475. New York: Scribner, 1999.
18 He was a very talented storyteller.
19 Herbert Bonis was his manager for 35 years.
20 Served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
21 His father, Jacob Kaminski; his mother, Clar; and his two older brothers, Mack and Larry, emigrated from Ukraine to the United States in 1910. Jacob had to work two years before he could pay off those steamer tickets. Three years after this journey, their third and last child was born, and the only one born in America: David Daniel, or as his parents called him: Duvidelleh.
22 He was an excellent pilot.
23 He was Bob Hope's and Humphrey Bogart's favorite comedian.
24 He had a passion for Chinese cooking and built a kitchen in his house. For years, he invited people (some of them great celebrities like Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Cary Grant, John Denver, and Itzhak Perlman) and he would show them what his cooking genius was about. Qualified guests, like French chef Paul Bocuse, said they were really amazed by Kaye's cooking ability.
25 In 1953, received a Special Tony Award for heading a variety bill at the Palace Theater.
26 According to daughter Dena Kaye, for the rest of his life, whenever someone would recognize him in public, they would run up to him and recite the "pellet with the poison . . . " speech from The Court Jester (1955).
27 Was named as "King of Brooklyn" at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in 1986
28 Was the first choice of producers to star in the Broadway musical "The Music Man."
29 Star of CBS Radio's "The Danny Kaye Show" (1945-1946).
30 Died of hepatitis and internal bleeding, the result of a transfusion of contaminated blood during bypass heart surgery four years earlier.
31 Toured Australia in the mid-'50s as Cinderella's friend Buttons in a pantomime version of "Cinderella".
32 Interred at Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York, USA.
33 While appearing in the musical "Two By Two" (1970-1971), he tore ligaments and played the role of Noah in a wheelchair since he did not use understudies.
34 One of the original owners of the Seattle Mariners professional baseball team.
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