German actor and vocalist Harald Paulsen played "Mackie Messer" in the original Kurt Weill, Bertholt Brecht "Three Penny Opera". "Moritat" (Deadly Deed) or "Mack the Knife" was the opening number.

Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars had the first popular English version of "Mack The Knife" (Blitzstein - Weill - Brecht) with Marc Blitzstein adding the English lyrics. Lotte Lenya, Kurt Weill's widow and star of the original 1928 German production and the 1954 Broadway adaptation was in the studio during Louis Armstrong's recording. He added her name to the tune when he inserted "Look out, Miss Lotte Lenya". The single reached the Billboard top twenty in 1956.

The Oscar nominated Bobby Darin (Walden Cassotto) had an incredible singing, composing and acting career spanning "Splish, Splash" and "Dream Lover" to "If I Were a Carpenter" and 1959's chart topper "Mack the Knife" (Weill - Brecht - Blitzstein - Murphy) and everything in between. Although many disagree I thought the 2004 Kevin Spacey biopic, "Beyond the Sea" was exceptional.