Stubby Kaye was the rotund comic actor and singer who portrayed Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the Broadway and movie versions of Guys and Dolls. Born in New York City, Kaye performed in vaudeville and in 1939 won a Major Bowes Amateur Hour radio contest. During World War II, he performed in USO shows.
In 1950, he made his Broadway debut in the musical Guys and Dolls, which was based on a likeable lowlife created by writer Damon Runyon and featured songs by Frank Loesser. As gambler Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Kaye sang "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat." Kaye reprised the role in the 1955 movie, which starred Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Jean Simmons. He also was Marryin' Sam in the stage and movie versions of Li'l Abner (1959). In 1965, he was paired with Nat "King" Cole as the wandering minstrels whose songs linked the scenes in the comic western Cat Ballou starring Lee Marvin. He also appeared in the movies 40 Pounds of Trouble (1963), Sex and the Single Girl (1964), The Way West (1967), Sweet Charity (1969), and The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970). Kaye was one of the voices in the 1988 live action/animated movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. His stage roles include Everybody Loves Opal, The Ritz, and Good News. He was a regular on the television series Love and Marriage (1959) and My Sister Eileen (1960). In December 14, 1997, Stubby Kaye died at age 79 of lung cancer at his home in Rancho Mirage, CA.