Danny Kaye (born David Daniel Kaminsky; January 18, 1913 – March 3, 1987) was an American actor, singer, dancer, and comedian. His performances featured physical comedy, idiosyncratic pantomimes, and rapid-fire nonsense songs.
Kaye starred in 17 movies, notably The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), The Inspector General (1949), Hans Christian Andersen (1952), White Christmas (1954), and The Court Jester (1956). His films were popular, especially his bravura performances of patter songs and favorites such as "Inchworm" and "The Ugly Duckling". He was the first ambassador-at-large of UNICEF in 1954 and received the French Legion of Honor in 1986 for his years of work with the organization.
David Daniel Kaminsky was born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn. Jacob and Clara Nemerovsky Kaminsky and their two sons, Larry and Mac, left Ekaterinoslav two years before his birth; he was the only son born in the United States. He spent his early youth attending Public School 149 in East New York, Brooklyn—which eventually was renamed to honor him—where he began entertaining his classmates with songs and jokes, before moving to Thomas Jefferson High School, though he never graduated. His mother died when he was in his early teens. Clara enjoyed the impressions and humor of her son and always had words of encouragement; her death was a loss for the young Kaye.