The Secret Life Of Danny Kaye

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Hollywood actor Elliott Gould takes a personal look at the life and career of his screen hero and friend, the entertainment icon Danny Kaye.

Danny Kaye, who died twenty-five years ago in March 1987, was the son of an immigrant Ukrainian tailor who became the epitome of the American Dream. Singer, dancer, actor, gourmet chef, conductor and UNICEF ambassador, Danny Kaye was a multi-faceted megastar.

Films, musicals and TV specials made him a worldwide superstar and his unique delivery of tongue-twisting lyrics would become his trademark. When Danny sang the Kurt Weill-Ira Gershwin song Tchaikovsky and reeled off the names of 54 Russian composers in 38 seconds, he brought the house down wherever he went.

In 1948, in one of the most successful shows ever witnessed at the London Palladium, Danny's one man performance brought him adoration of such magnitude that Life magazine described it as "worshipful hysteria". It was the only time the Royal Family left the royal box and sat in the first row where they could see him better. According to The New York Times, he "roused the Royal Family to shrieks of laughter".

Amongst those popping up in praise of Danny are Pat Boone, Michael Caine, Carl Reiner, Anne Rutherford, composer Leslie Bricusse, long term friend Avrum Bluming, performer Shirley Jones, writer/director Paul Mazursky, and Danny's Daughter Dena, who gives her first interview for many years

Recorded largely in America, the programme also includes the man himself as well, both in archive interviews and in extracts of material which remains as funny today, as it was when Danny first recorded it.

Hollywood actor Elliott Gould celebrates the life and career of Danny Kaye.