Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The World of Danny Kaye Gets a Little Smaller

The late Eli Wallach joined Danny Kaye in the TV drama Skokie.

Every year, the direct connections to Danny Kaye become fewer and fewer, as we lose another batch of wonderfully talented folks who worked with him. Here are 10 who passed away over the last 12 months:

Stu Miller, 87, the San Francisco Giants pitcher immortalized in the tongue-twisting "Miller-Hiller-Haller" climax of Danny Kaye's "D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song" (1962), passed away Jan. 4, 2015.

Ernest Kinoy, 89, screenwriter of Kaye’s acclaimed TV movie Skokie (1981), died Nov. 10, 2014.

Richard Kiel, 74, most famous as the towering James Bond villain Jaws, also made a hilarious comic turn in the first Danny Kaye Show episode ever taped in color (episode 65, taped 1965, aired 1966). The sketch stars orchestra leader Paul Weston, who wants to sing “I’m Telling You Now” with his troupe, Paul Weston & the Weston Brothers—played by two midgets and a young, 7-foot-tall Kiel. He passed away Sept. 10.

Paul Mazursky, 84, the Academy Award-winning director and writer who got his first break as a sketchwriter on The Danny Kaye Show (1963-67), died June 30. Mazursky and his writing partner Larry Tucker were the only writers to work on the show all four years, and they later considered Kaye for the lead in their movie Harry and Tonto (instead opting for multi-appearance Kaye Show guest Art Carney).

Johnny Mann, 85, the first composer and choral arranger on The Danny Kaye Show (1963), passed away June 24.

Eli Wallach, 98, the legendary actor who co-starred in Skokie, left us the same day.

Martha Hyer, 89, Danny’s sweet love interest Lucy in The Man from the Diners Club (1963), died May 31.

Bern Bennett, 92, the staff CBS announcer whose work included intros for The Danny Kaye Show in the 1960s, died May 29.

Sid Caesar, 91, who succeeded Kaye as revue producer Max Liebman’s lead comedian in the 1940s and whose seminal variety show Your Show of Shows provided the template—and the majority of the writing staff—for The Danny Kaye Show, died Feb. 12.

Arthur Rankin, 89, stop motion puppet TV animation auteur, who with partner Jules Bass turned Danny into the puppet host of Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971), died Jan. 30, 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for compiling this, David. I hope you'll consider interviewing many of the people who are still alive that are connected to Danny such as Joyce van Patten, Anne Whitfield, George Chakaris, Jamie Farr, Sandy Duncan, Jeanmaire, Glynis Johns, etc. ... And any of the young performers in his movies, like the ballerinas in 'White Christmas', the schoolboys in "Merry Andrew", the kids (in the Black Fox band) from "Court Jester",.. I would love to read their recollections of being on-set with Danny Kaye and what it was like to work on movies or TV with him, maybe they'll tell some good stories we haven't heard.. thx

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