Stubby Kaye

Last updated 09 January 2020

Stubby Kaye (1918-1997)
(this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Bernard Kotzin

Born: Monday 11th November 1918
Died: Sunday 14th December 1997 (age: 79)


Stubby Kaye (November 11, 1918 - December 14, 1997) was an American comic actor. He was born 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 inThe Bronx.

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 of the greatest 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 NightYou 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 Mikado in Michael Winner's The Cool Mikado.

In 1965, he played alongside Nat King Cole as a travelling musician in the western/comedy Cat Ballou, starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin. He also made a guest appearance in "Delta And The Bannermen", a story in the British science fiction series, Doctor Who in 1987. His last featured role was as Marvin Acme in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

In the mid 1950s, Kaye guest starred on NBC's The Martha Raye Show. In 1958, he appeared on the short-lived NBC variety showThe 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 DemarestJeanne Bal, and Murray Hamilton in the NBC 18-weeksitcom Love and Marriage. Demarest played William Harris, the owner of a failing music company who refuses to handle popular rock and roll music, which presumably might save the firm from bankruptcy. Kaye played the promotion agent.[1]

In the 1960-1961 season, Kaye appeared as Marty, the agent of aspiring actress Eileen Sherwood, in the CBS sitcom My Sister Eileen, starring Shirley Bonne, with Elaine Stritch as Eileen's older sister, magazine writer Ruth Sherwood.

During the 1960s, Kaye became well known as host of a weekly children's talent showStubby'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 portrayed an obese sailor going on a crash diet to avoid expulsion from the United States Navy because of his weight.

From 1964-65 he hosted the Saturday morning children's game show Shenanigans on ABC. He also appeared in the 1974 Broadway revival of Good News. Other stage productions included Man of Magic in London (with Stuart Damonas Harry Houdini), and his final Broadway show Grind co-starring Ben Vereen in 1985 .

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA