Victor Borge: Move To America

Borge’s early career in Denmark began to blossom just as the Nazis were sweeping Europe and persecuting Jews. Borge had married Elsie Chilton, an American, in 1926, and this would help facilitate his asylum.

When the Nazis invaded Denmark, Borge was performing in Sweden. He fled that country to Finland and sailed to America on the U.S.S. American Legion, hitting American soil on August 28, 1940. The perilous journey would make Borge one of many European composers to escape to the United States, along with Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and Paul Hindemith.

Legend, propagated by Borge, has it that he learned the English language from movies viewed in the days opulent movie palaces. Whatever the case, he put his multilingualism to use in pursuing a brand of musicomedy similar to that which he’d done in Denmark.

It didn’t take long for Borge to see some success in the new world--he quickly began earning money playing piano as a private entertainer in Hollywood. Having arrived with $20 dollars in his pocket, he was on his way to his own version of the American dream.

Victor Borge. Jewish Virtual Library.


  1. Borge married Elsie on 24 Dec 1933, not in 1926.

    1. 'Sorry, incorrect. They married in 1932! (I was Borge's
      personal manager for 25 years. I'm sure about the year.)

  2. I recently began reading about Mr. Borge. I keep running into a dead end when trying to learn about his first wife, Elsie. How they met, how their marriage lived, and the reason for their divorce. Is there a reason that information isn't public, and is there any literature that might describe his relationship with Elsie?

  3. A maestro on the piano and a superb comedian.
    What more can I say...?
    Perhaps that I wish he was still around.

  4. He should have won a Grammy for best comedy album. Even posthumously.

  5. When was his hilarious essay "How the Danes Learned to Laugh" first published?

  6. Hello :)

    Is there anyone who knows anything about the film about Victor and the TV-serie which they made about his life?

  7. Hello. Does anybody know the movie that were made,about Victor`s fleed to USA,and the TV-serie about his life?

  8. Hi. Does anyone know the movie that was made about Victor`s life,and the TV-serie about his life?


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