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Victor Borge

Musical humorist Victor Borge was born Børge Rosenbaum in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 3, 1909; the son of a violinist in the Danish Symphony Orchestra, he began playing piano at age three, and was quickly hailed as a child prodigy. On scholarship at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory, he studied under Olivo Krause and Victor Schiøler, later becoming a protégé of Frederic Lamond and Egon Petri; in 1926, Borge made his professional debut, and by the following decade ranked among the top stage and film stars in all of Scandinavia. His performances always maintained a satirical bent, adopting an increasingly acrid sensibility as the Nazis began sweeping through Europe; Borge, a Jew, regularly mocked Hitler from the stage, and when the German forces invaded Denmark in 1940 the pianist was briefly blacklisted before fleeing to the United States, escaping from Finland via the S. S. American Legion, the last American passenger ship to leave Northern Europe prior to World War II.

Borge arrived in New York City without knowing a word of English, but soon learned enough of the language to land a job as the opening act for Rudy Vallée's radio show before moving on to Bing Crosby's program. Emerging as a fixture of radio and later television, Borge arrived on Broadway in 1953 as the star of Comedy in Music; the production ran through 1956, and its 849 performances entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running one-man show. His patented brand of comedy, a singular combination of one-liners, sight gags, and musical pranks, worked simultaneously to deflate the pretensions of classical music while expanding its popularity and accessibility; often, Borge's on-stage antics obscured the virtuosity of his piano playing, however, although he appeared with many of the world's most renowned orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonic. In addition to a series of albums and home videos, Borge also co-authored a pair of books, My Favorite Intermissions and My Favorite Comedies in Music, and continued actively performing past his 90th birthday. He died at home on December 23, 2000. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
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Selected Discography

Comments

vhabersaat
Victor Borge is or was on of the funniest men I ever heard preform. Add to that he was a great pianist with a wide ranging playing style. He was also very brave even in a country where the Nazi bull was mostly ignored it took more courage then the generation of young people will ever be able to understand, for a jew to publicly ridicule Hitler.
srazr8775
R.I.P Victor Borge. May your memory live on.
Victor Borge was an absolute genious and the only people you'll find here listening to him here today are the ones who knew it. The others have forgotten or never came to know him. DMB
I grew up listening to or watching Victor Borge anytime he was on TV. He, Jonathan Winters and Bill Cosby will likely always be, in my book, the most clever comedians in my lifetime. I'm glad I finally saw him before he died. He was a gift of unique humor!

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