Comedy Master Borge Dies

06/16/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Victor Borge, 91, the musical humorist and national treasure of both his native Denmark and his adopted United States, died on Saturday at his home in Greenwich, Conn. He blended often-satirical comedy with musical virtuosity and even put sounds to punctuation marks. (Before Borge, no one knew what a question mark sounded like.) Throughout the '50s and '60s he was a frequent guest on such TV shows as "The Kraft Music Hall" and on concert stages. Last year, at the age of 90, he slowed down and only performed 60 live shows (compared to the 150 shows a year he usually did). A musician from the time he was 3, Borge (born Borge Rosenbaum) made his concert debut in his hometown of Copenhagen when he was 8. The humor came just as naturally as his musical gifts. When Denmark and Germany signed a non-aggression pact as Hitler was on the rise, Borge told his audiences, "How nice. Now the Germans can sleep in peace, knowing they will not be invaded by us." In 1940, Borge, who was Jewish, immigrated to the United States. (For other obituaries, see PASSAGES.)

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