Thursday, October 29, 2015
Victor Borge (1909-2000) was a Danish comedian, conductor and pianist who achieved great popularity in radio and television in the United States and Europe. His blend of music and comedy earned him the nickname "The Clown Prince of Denmark","The Unmelancholy Dane", and "The Great Dane."
He was born as Borge Rosenbaum to a Jewish family in Copenhagen. His parents were both musicians. He began piano lessons at the age of two, and it was soon apparent that he was a prodigy. He gave his first piano recital when he was eight years old, and in 1918 was awarded a full scholarship at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
When the Nazis occupied Denmark during World War II, Borge was playing a concert in Sweden, and managed to escape to Finland. Even though Borge did not speak a word of English upon arrival, he quickly managed to adapt his jokes to the American audience, learning English by watching movies. He took the name of Victor Borge, and, in 1941, he started on Rudy Vallee's radio show, but was hired soon after by Bing Crosby for his Kraft Music Hall program.
Most of his humor centered on his relationship with his beloved piano and the funny variations on classical music that he created and performed to the delight of his audiences.
In this video clip, Borge takes us through his hilarious satire of an opera performance.
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