Victor Borge (born Børge Rosenbaum) was a Danish conductor and pianist whose comic renditions of piano concerts were widely popular in the United States and Europe.
Born to two concert musicians, Rosenbaum was a child prodigy pianist.
After classical training at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Rosenbaum performed for several years as a concert pianist.
In the late 1920’s Rosenbaum began performing a comedy act which blended classical piano excerpts and humorous remarks.
In the 1930s Rosenbaum toured Europe with his comedic piano recitals—he often told anti-Nazi jokes.
When Nazi Germany occupied Denmark in 1940, Rosenbaum managed to escape to Finland via neutral Sweden.
Arriving in the U.S. in 1941, Rosenbaum spoke no English. But after learning English from movies, he assumed the stage name of Victor Borge and successfully adapted his comedy act to an American audience.
After winning Best New Radio Performer of the Year in 1942, Borge was offered many opportunities for film rolls with stars like Frank Sinatra.
The Victor Borge Show began on NBC in 1946.
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