Sunday, July 17, 2016
Bernard Solomon Kotzin (1918-1997), known as Stubby Kaye, was an American comic actor known for his appearances in Broadway and film musicals.
In 1939 he won the Major Bowes Amateur Hour contest on radio where the prize included touring in vaudeville, where he was sometimes billed as an "Extra Padded Attraction". During the Second World War he joined the USO where he toured battle fronts and made his London debut performing with Bob Hope. After the war he continued to work in vaudeville and as Master of Ceremonies for the swing orchestras of Freddy Martin and Charlie Barnet.
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 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 You Can't Run Away From It, a remake of It Happened One Night. 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 title character in Michael Winner's The Cool Mikado.
In his role as Marryin' Sam in Li'l Abner, Kaye sang The Country's in the Very Best of Hands with Peter Palmer, who played the role of Abner. The song, a biting critique and parody of government and politics, is just as relevant today as when they sang it in 1959.
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