Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b David Kuminsky, 18 Jan. '13, Brooklyn, NY; d 3 March '87, LA) Comedian, actor, singer. Adept at novelty songs and tongue-twisters, but also affecting on ballads. A camp counsellor and entertainer in the Catskills; played in Straw Hat Revue '39, a Broadway vehicle for newcomers; successful on Broadway in Lady In The Dark (music by Kurt Weill) and Let's Face It (Cole Porter) '41; first film Up In Arms '44: more than 20 films incl. A Song Is Born '48, White Christmas '54, title roles in The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty '47, Hans Christian Andersen '52 (score by Frank Loesser), The Court Jester '56, as Red Nichols in The Five Pennies '59. His wife Sylvia Fine wrote special lyrics for him, incl. songs for Let's Face It (also title songs for films The Moon Is Blue '53, Man With The Golden Arm '56). He recorded for Columbia, then Decca; Decca novelties incl. delightful 'Handout On Panhandle Hill' (in trad. American 'Big Rock Candy Mountain' genre); his only chart entry was 'I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts', top 30 '50. Album of 78s on Columbia '45, LP soundtrack of Hans Christian Andersen on Decca '53 also charted, latter at no. 1. Renowned for his humanitarianism, he was perhaps at his best entertaining children, when his love shone transparently through. Other albums: 10]im[ LPs on Columbia, 10]im[ Decca soundtrack of Knock On Wood '54; Danny At The Palace on Decca; Best Of CD on Decca.