There are persistent claims that Kaye was homosexual or bisexual, and some sources assert that Kaye and Laurence Olivier had a ten-year relationship in the 1950s while Olivier was still married to Vivien Leigh. A biography of Leigh states that their love affair caused her to have a breakdown. The affair has been denied by Olivier's official biographer, Terry Coleman. Joan Plowright, Olivier's third wife and widow, has dealt with the matter in different ways on different occasions: she deflected the question (but alluded to Olivier's "demons") in a BBC interview. She is reputed to have referred to Danny Kaye on another occasion, in response to a claim that it was she who broke up Olivier's marriage to Leigh. However, in her own memoirs, Plowright denies that there had been an affair between the two men. Producer Perry Lafferty reported: "People would ask me, 'Is he gay? Is he gay?' I never saw anything to substantiate that in all the time I was with him.” Kaye’s final girlfriend, Marlene Sorosky, reported that he told her, "I've never had a homosexual experience in my life. I've never had any kind of gay relationship. I've had opportunities, but I never did anything about them."
Danny Kaye, Laurence Olivier and Sid Field
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier (22 May 1907 - 11 July 1989), the finest English actor of his time, performed sublimely in a variety of stage and screen roles. Olivier had a number of intimate relationships with men, including comic Danny KAYE (January 18, 1913 - March 3, 1987). As Olivier's third wife Joan Plowright put it: "I have always resented the comments that it was I who was the homewrecker of Larry's marriage to Vivien Leigh. Danny Kaye was attached to Larry far earlier than I."
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 – perhaps his most accomplished performance – The Court Jester (1956). His films were extremely popular, especially his bravura performances of patter songs and children's 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 many years of work with the organization.
Kaye died of a heart attack in March 1987, following a bout of hepatitis. Kaye had quadruple bypass heart surgery in February 1983; he contracted hepatitis from a blood transfusion he received at that time. He left a widow, Sylvia Fine, and a daughter, Dena. He is interred in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. His grave is adorned with a bench that contains friezes of a baseball and bat, an aircraft, a piano, a flower pot, musical notes, and a glove. Kaye's name, birth and death dates are inscribed on the glove. The United Nations held a memorial tribute to him at their New York headquarters.
Kaye and his wife, Sylvia, both grew up in Brooklyn, living only a few blocks apart, but they did not meet until they were both working on an off-Broadway show in 1939. Sylvia was an audition pianist at the time. Sylvia discovered that Danny had once worked for her father, dentist Samuel Fine. They were married on January 3, 1940. Kaye, working in Florida at the time, proposed on the telephone; the couple was married in Fort Lauderdale. Their daughter, Dena, was born on December 17, 1946.
Both Kaye and his wife raised their daughter without any parental hopes or aspirations for her future. Kaye said in a 1954 interview, "Whatever she wants to be she will be without interference from her mother nor from me." When she was very young, Dena did not like seeing her father perform because she did not understand that people were supposed to laugh at what he did. On January 18, 2013, during a 24-hour salute to Kaye on Turner Classic Movies in celebration of his 100th birthday, Kaye's daughter Dena revealed to TCM host Ben Mankiewicz that Kaye was actually born in 1911.
During World War II, the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated rumors that Kaye dodged the draft by manufacturing a medical condition to gain 4-F status and exemption from military service. FBI files show he was also under investigation for supposed links with Communist groups. The allegations were never substantiated, and he was never charged with any associated crime.
After Kaye and his wife became estranged, he was allegedly involved with a succession of women, though he and Fine never divorced. The best-known of these women was actress Eve Arden.
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier (22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989), the finest English actor of his time, performed sublimely in a variety of stage and screen roles. He is perhaps most famous for his films of SHAKESPEARE’s Henry V, Hamlet (which won an Academy Award), and Richard III. He was eventually nominated nine times for Academy Awards and was given a special Oscar in 1979. From 1962 to 1973 he was the director of the National Theatre Company in London. He wrote On Acting and the autobiography Confessions of an Actor. He was knighted in 1947 and made a peer of the realm in 1970. (Picture: Laurence Olivier by Carl Van Vechten)
Olivier was a child prodigy who impressed Dame Sybil Thorndike with his performance in Julius Caesar at age nine. At fourteen he played Katharina in a boys’ staging of The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. Olivier was given his big break in the English theatre by Noel COWARD, who was in love with him. Olivier played opposite Coward and Gertrude LAWRENCE in the original production of Private Lives in 1930.
The beginning of Olivier’s film career was less propitious. Greta GARBO rejected him as her leading man in Queen Christina, and it took him several years to establish himself in Hollywood. Eventually, however, Olivier starred in screen versions of Wurthering Heights, Rebecca, and Pride and Prejudice. Television work included his Emmy-winning performance in the 1982 series Brideshead Revisited.
Private Lives, 1930, Laurence Olivier, Adrienne Allen, Noel Coward, and Gertrude Lawrence
Laurence Olivier, the finest English actor of his time, performed sublimely in a variety of stage and screen roles. There are also claims that Olivier was intimate with Noel Coward. In his autobiography, Olivier refers to . . my nearly passionate involvement with the one male with whom some sexual dalliance had not been loathsome to contemplate. I remained firm in my conviction that heterosexuality was romantically beautiful . . though . . make me waver—well, I must allow that it did do that."
As You Like It, 1936, Henry Ainley and Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier, the finest English actor of his time, performed sublimely in a variety of stage and screen roles. Terry Coleman’s authorized biography of Olivier also suggests a relationship between Olivier and an older actor, Henry Ainley (21 August 1879 – 31 October 1945), based on 15 sexually explicit letters from Ainley to Olivier. Henry Ainley was known on the London stage at the beginning of the twentieth century. They performed together in As You Like It in 1936, Ainley's final film.
In the grounds of Notley about 1950. Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Danny Kaye, and Bobby Helpmann
The Oliviers and Mary Mills attend a performance of Noel Coward's Cabaret at the Cafe de Paris in London
Starring partners: Olivier and Coward in an early production of Private Lives
Olivier had a number of intimate sexual relationships with men, including comic Danny KAYE. As Olivier’s third wife Joan Plowright put it: "I have always resented the comments that it was I who was the homewrecker of Larry’s marriage to Vivien Leigh. Danny Kaye was attached to Larry far earlier than I." (Picture: Noël Coward)
There are also claims that Olivier was intimate with Noel Coward. In his autobiography, Olivier refers to . . my nearly passionate involvement with the one male with whom some sexual dalliance had not been loathsome to contemplate. I remained firm in my conviction that heterosexuality was romantically beautiful . . though . . make me waver—well, I must allow that it did do that."
Terry Coleman’s authorized biography of Olivier also suggests a relationship between Olivier and an older actor, Henry Ainley (1879- 1945), based on fifteen sexually explicit letters from Ainley to Olivier. Henry Ainley was well known on the London stage at the beginning of the twentieth century. He made a few early ilms, including a silent version of The Prisoner of Zenda and As You Like It in 1936, his final film, which starred a young Laurence Olivier (with whom, it’s been claimed, Ainley had a brief fling) and John Laurie, who would later join Dad’s Army. (Picture: Henry Ainley)
Source: Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals by Keith Stern
Danny Kaye: King of Jesters by David Koenig
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bonaventure Pr (November 1, 2012)
Amazon: Danny Kaye: King of Jesters
You remember the red-haired zany from the holiday favorite White Christmas ... the lovable storyteller Hans Christian Andersen ... the daydreamer Walter Mitty ... the tongue-tied Court Jester ... Now step behind the camera during the making of these classic movies.
Packed with never-before-published anecdotes and photos, Danny Kaye: King of Jesters takes the first-ever behind-the-scenes look at the creation of his film, TV, radio and stage work, and at the secret life of the incredible
performer behind them.
As the first performer ever to be personally requested by His Highness to headline a Command Performance, Danny Kaye was literally both King of Jesters and Jester of Kings. But his was a life built on much more than buffoonery, for he could conceivably master any discipline he committed himself to singing straight or scat, dancing, comedy, even the culinary arts and humanitarian efforts, indeed anything he put his mind to.
Ironically, it took years for him to be discovered in show business because he could do too much and proved impossible to classify. So, too, his particular genius required absolute concentration so absolute that everything and everyone around him usually vanished. Consequently, he ceded management of his career to others first a kindly Catskills mentor, then revue impressario Max Liebman, and finally hyper-aggressive songstress Sylvia Fine, who would catapult Kaye to stardom and become his lifelong coach, content provider, and wife.
Although he reached princely heights as an entertainer, his six-decade career in show business never resulted in an accurate, even-handed biography or analysis of his work. Danny Kaye: King of Jesters provides both. Based on decades of research and interviews, the book clears up previous misconceptions about Kaye, right down to his birthday. Even more, it is a fun, backstage look at the making of his greatest roles, recounting the production of all of his films, his weekly TV series, radio series, Broadway roles, and the best of his work off-Broadway, in audio recordings, and TV specials
Confessions of an Actor: Laurence Olivier an Autobiography by Laurence Olivier
Publisher Simon & Schuster (May 1, 1982)
Amazon: Confessions of an Actor: Laurence Olivier an Autobiography
1. How It Began
2. Cradle to Choirboy
3. Rough, Not Ready
4. Gags and Giggles
5. New Wife, New World
6. Call to Arms
7. Hired and Fired
8. The Feverish Fifties Begin
9. Le Fievre Recule Pour Mieux Sauter
10. The Prince and the Showgirl
11. Sea Changes
12. The Start of the Sixties
13. The National Theatre Launched
14. National But Not Velvet
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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