I’m supposed to be a master of oratory and yet cannot cast a spell over audiences like you do.
—Winston Churchill to Danny Kaye after a London Palladium performance, 1949
Danny Kaye Onstage
Of all the aspects of Danny Kaye’s career, his live performances were among the most revered. Audiences filled the largest performance venues around the world to witness his unique style of entertainment.
Danny Kaye in Film
From 1944 to 1962, Danny Kaye maintained a steady career in the film industry making blockbuster Hollywood movies. His wife, Sylvia Fine, was an integral part of these productions as she wrote the music and lyrics for a majority of his pictures.
Radio, Television, and Recordings
Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine worked tirelessly in nearly every corner of show business. After a successful Broadway run at the beginning of Kaye’s film career, the duo moved into other realms, including radio, recordings, and television.
Sylvia Fine: The Woman Behind the Curtain
Sylvia Fine was the consummate show-business professional. She managed, organized, and produced much of Danny Kaye’s engagements while having a vibrant career of her own. In the later part of her life, she dedicated much of her time to researching the history of musical theater in America. This work eventually led to the production of a 1979 PBS special titled Musical Comedy Tonight.
Once Kaye’s career took off, he began what would become his lifelong passion of philanthropy. In the 1940s, Kaye performed regularly for war bond sales and worked through the 1960s for the USO. In 1954, Kaye became the first Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF, a position he held for the remainder of his life. In the same year, Kaye began conducting major symphony orchestras in pension benefit concerts—an unusual career for someone who could not read music.