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Kaye with Shirley Bonne, 1960
November 11, 1918
New York City, New York
|Died||December 14, 1997
Rancho Mirage, California
|Cause of death||Lung cancer|
(m.? - 1997; his death)
Stubby Kaye (November 11, 1918 – December 14, 1997) was an American comic actor known for his appearances in Broadway and film musicals.
Directors viewed Kaye as a master of the Broadway idiom during the last phase of the musical comedy era. This was evidenced by his introduction of three show-stopping numbers of the era: “Fugue for Tinhorns” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” from Guys and Dolls (1950) and “Jubilation T. Cornpone” from Li'l Abner (1956). In 1953 he played in a remake of It Happened One Night, You Can't Run Away From It. Kaye is best known for defining the role of Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls, first on Broadway and then in the film version. He also played Marryin' Sam in Li'l Abner, again on both stage and screen. In 1962, he played the title character in Michael Winner's The Cool Mikado.
In the mid-1950s, Kaye guest starred on NBC's The Martha Raye Show. In 1958, he appeared on the short-lived NBC variety show, The Gisele MacKenzie Show. About this time, he also appeared on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom. In the 1959–1960 television season, Kaye co-starred with William Demarest, Jeanne Bal, and Murray Hamilton in the short-lived NBC sitcom Love and Marriage.
In the 1960s, Kaye became well known as host of a weekly children's talent show, Stubby's Silver Star Show. During the 1962–1963 season, he was a regular on Stump the Stars. On April 14, 1963, he guest starred as "Tubby Mason" in NBC's Ensign O'Toole comedy series, starring Dean Jones.
Kaye's later stage productions included Man of Magic in London (with Stuart Damon as Harry Houdini), and his final Broadway show Grind co-starring Ben Vereen in 1985. He made a guest appearance in "Delta And The Bannermen", a story in the British science fiction series, Doctor Who in 1987. His last featured film role was as Marvin Acme in Robert Zemeckis's 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Kaye was born Bernard Kotzin in New York City on the last day of the First World War, at West 114th Street in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan to first generation Jewish-Americans originally from Russia and Austria. He was raised in the Far Rockaway section of Queens and in The Bronx.
His first wife was Jeanne Watson from Chicago, who was a clerical worker at the movie studios in the late 1950s. They were married in 1960 as the series Love and Marriage ended, but the couple divorced because of personal differences within a year of their marriage.
Kaye's second wife, Angela Bracewell, was a former dancer at the London Palladium whom he met while living in Great Britain. She was the hostess of the British version of the Beat the Clock game show, a segment of Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium. They remained married until his death.
- Guys and Dolls (1955)
- Li'l Abner (1959)
- The Cool Mikado (1962)
- Sex and the Single Girl (1964)
- Cat Ballou (1965)
- The Way West (1967)
- Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (1969)
- Sweet Charity (1969)
- Six Pack Annie (1975)
- Ellis Island (1984) TV Miniseries
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
- "I Was Born This Way"
- Billboard - 26 Jan 1946 Vol. 58, No. 4 "She does a fair boogie-woogie, doing her own style of Prelude in C- Sharp Minor. Stubby Kaye keeps the show going along as a rotund emsee. He makes fun of his size in I Was Born This Way, a laugh-packed song."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stubby Kaye.|
- Stubby Kaye at the Internet Movie Database
- Stubby Kaye at the TCM Movie Database
- Stubby Kaye at the Internet Broadway Database