A Danish-American humorist, entertainer and pianist, affectionately known as the Clown Prince of Denmark and the Great Dane.
One of the greatest entertainers of the 20th Century.
Borge took up piano like his mother at the age of 3, and it was soon apparent that he was a prodigy. He gave his first piano recital when he was 8 years old, and in 1918 was awarded a full scholarship at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, studying under Olivo Krause.
Dubbed ’The Clown Prince Of Denmark’.
Borge played his first major concert in 1926 at the Danish concert-hall Odd Fellow Palæet (The Odd Fellow Mansion). After a few years as a classical concert pianist, he started his now famous "stand up" act, with the signature blend of piano music and jokes.
Borge started touring extensively in Europe, where he began telling anti-Nazi jokes. This led to Adolf Hitler placing the outspoken Jew on his list of enemies to the Fatherland.
Borge was playing a concert in Sweden, and managed to escape to Finland.
He traveled to America on the USS American Legion, the last passenger ship that made it out of Europe prior to the war, and arrived August 28, 1940.
Even though Borge didn't speak a word of English upon arrival, he quickly managed to adapt his jokes to the American audience, learning English by watching movies.
Borge, who won Best New Radio Performer of the Year in 1942. Soon after the award, he was offered film roles.
His trademarks, including repeatedly announcing his intent to play a piece but getting "distracted" by something or other, making comments about the audience, or discussing the usefulness of Chopin's Minute Waltz as an eggtimer.
His production "Comedy in Music" ran on Broadway over 800 performances.
Borge received Kennedy Center Honors in 1999.
Borge continued to tour until his last days, performing up to 60 times per year when he was 90 years old.
One of the great pianists to make one feel you have had a good night and feel good.
Borge died in Greenwich, Connecticut, after more than 75 years of entertaining. He died peacefully, in his sleep.
A quotation - I'd like to thank my parents for making this night possible. And my children for making it necessary.