KAYE, SAMMY (13 March 1910-2 June 1987), well-known local and national bandleader, was born Samuel Zarnocay, Jr. in Lakewood, the son of Samuel and Mary Sukenik Zarnocay. He attended local schools, graduating from Rocky River High School in 1928. While in high school, he organized a band known as Sammy's Hot Peppers and played semi-profession baseball to earn extra money. By the time he enrolled in Ohio University, he had changed his name to "Kaye," and his band was known as "Kaye's Ohioans." He and his band played engagements at college and performed at the nickel-a-dance Roxy Ballroom in Lakewood during summer vacations. Although he earned a university degree, Kaye elected to stay in the music business. While playing at Cleveland's Cabin Club in the mid-1930s, he adopted the slogan, "Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye," which described his smooth danceable music.
Kaye, who played the clarinet and saxophone, took his band to New York in 1938, where he was featured on the NBC radio show "Sunday Serenade" for 12 years. Kaye's hits include "Remember Pearl Harbor," "Harbor Lights," and "It Isn't Fair." In the 1950s he hosted of several musical shows on network television. Although Kaye invested in publishing and other business ventures successfully, he and his band continued to play into the mid-1980s.
Kaye married Ruth Knox Elden in 1940. They divorced in 1956 and had no children. A resident of New York City, Kaye died in Ridgewood, N.J. and was buried here in Lakewood Park Cemetery.
Lamparski, Richard. Whatever Became of...? Ninth Series (1985).