Dena Kaye, the daughter of Danny Kaye, introduced a new deli sandwich at New York’s famed Carnegie Deli on Monday, April 29, 2013. If Danny Kaye were alive, he would have turned 100 years old in January, so a number of celebrations and tributes are planned for this centennial year of his birth.
Dena had fun posing for the cameras with the enormous sandwich and even feeding it to some of the Carnegie Deli wait staff. “It’s the father/daughter sandwich,” she said. “My father’s favorite deli sandwich was corned beef on rye bread with yellow mustard.” Dena’s favorite, though, is turkey and cole slaw with Russian dressing, so the Danny Kaye special at Carnegie Deli is a combination of their two favorites. I had a taste, and it was delicious!
Even though Danny Kaye was a master chef of Chinese cuisine, he loved deli food. Dena said they frequented a deli in Los Angeles where they often ran into Mel Brooks. Both men used stage names, and their real last names were the same, although Danny’s family spelled it Kaminski while Mel’s family spelled it Kaminsky.
Besides his career as an actor, singer, and dancer, Danny Kaye was a symphony orchestra conductor, a winner of two honorary Oscars, and a winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He starred on Broadway and in such iconic films as “White Christmas, ” “The Court Jester,” “Hans Christian Anderson,” “The Inspector General,” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”
His wife and Dena’s mother, Sylvia Fine, was a highly successful producer and songwriter in her own right. She was nominated for two Oscars for best song and appeared with Danny on the cover of Time Magazine. Their daughter, Dena, is now the president of the Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation and works to make sure that her parents’ legacy is not forgotten.
Among the tributes during Kaye’s centennial year are performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center and by the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. If you’re too young to be familiar with Danny Kaye’s work, you’re missing out. After the photos below, check out the videos. He was a favorite of my family, and it’s great to see him celebrated this year.