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Danny Kaye: Fast-Talking Funny Man

by Legacy Staff

Danny Kaye was as generous as he was funny…

Danny Kaye, born Jan. 18, 1911 – 100 years ago today – was certainly well known and much loved as an actor and comedian…

The fast-talking funny man deserved every accolade he got for his work on stage and screen – and he got plenty, from a Kennedy Center Honor to three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame… from an asteroid named after him to knighthood in Denmark for his portrayal of the title character in the movie Hans Christian Anderson.


But just as deserving of accolades as his career in the entertainment world was his humanitarian work. For decades, Kaye was the celebrity face of the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF. He was one of the first celebrities to represent a charitable organization, starting a trend that has grown over the years, to the point that almost every celebrity we can name is associated with one cause or another – though in most cases we’d be hard-pressed to come up with the specific cause. But not so with Kaye. He was inextricably linked with UNICEF – and his involvement and advocacy helped children around the world.

Kaye received the recognition he deserved for his contributions to UNICEF, including being awarded a distinction by the Légion d’Honneur, the highest decoration in France and one that is usually bestowed on French nationals. At the 1981 Oscars, Kaye was presented with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. His dedication to the cause was also commemorated with the naming of UNICEF’s Danny Kaye Visitor’s Centre in New York.

We continue to remember his great talent, too. Whether he was dancing the night away with Vera-Ellen, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas

Or teaming up with the Andrews Sisters for a No. 3 hit…

Or making us smile with his rapid-fire patter…

Danny Kaye was truly a multitalented treasure.

Written by Linnea Crowther

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