Farewell to Victor Borge, a comedy legend whose performing career lasted nearly as long as his life: 91 years. Mr. Borge, a classically-trained pianist who poked fun at the seriousness of long-haired music, as well as language and stuffy conventions - all the while maintaining a most proper, Danish dignity, died in his sleep on Dec. 23, according to the Associated Press.
Mr. Borge's comedic topics included the silliness of opera plots (he also penned a book recounting famous operatic disasters) and the conventions of concertgoing. Arguably, his most famous bit wasn't about music at all; in "Phonetic Punctuation," he'd read a passage from a story and make the punctuation marks audible, including (forgive the written approximations) "ppt" for a period, "tlck" for a comma, "fsss ppt" for an exclamation point and "kcchhhh ppt" for a question mark.
Born Jan. 3, 1909, Mr. Borge began performing classical music but was already doing comedy by the early 1930s. He got his start in radio and later made appearances in such films as "Higher and Higher" (1943) and "Meet the People" (1944). His biggest American break came in 1953 when his solo show, Comedy in Music, ran 849 performances. He brought the show back for two months in 1977.
But that was far from his "last hurrah." Mr. Borge kept up a heavy performing schedule into his late eighties, and he was honored by the Kennedy Center in 1999. He told the Associated Press when he turned 80, "I never have to get 'up' for a performance. The moment I walk on the stage, no matter what my mood, if I have any regrets or feel sick or in pain, all that disappears. That is when the climax of my day occurs.''
A icon of clean and witty humor tlck Mr. Borge will be missed by lovers of both comedy and music for decades to come ppt - by David Lefkowitz