Cole Porter

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Cole Porter
Background information
Born June 9, 1891(1891-06-09)
Peru, Indiana, U.S.
Died October 15, 1964(1964-10-15) (aged 73)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.

Cole Albert Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964) was an American composer and songwriter. He wrote musical comedies like Kiss Me, Kate, Fifty Million Frenchmen, DuBarry Was a Lady and Anything Goes. He also wrote songs like "Night and Day," "I Get a Kick out of You," "Well, Did You Evah!" and "I've Got You Under My Skin." He was well known for his clever lyrics and rhymes. He wrote a lot of songs that are in the Great American Songbook.

Early life[change | edit source]

Porter was born in Peru, Indiana, to a rich Baptist family.[1] One of his grandfathers made a lot of money from coal and timber. He had control over the family. Porter started learning music when he was very young. He learned the violin at age six and the piano at eight. He and his mother wrote an operetta when he was 10. His mother, Kate, was very supportive. His grandfather J.O. Cole wanted him become a lawyer,[2] He went to Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1905[2] and then Yale University in 1909.

When he was at Yale, he wrote 300 songs, including football fight songs that are still played at Yale today.[2]

Porter went to Harvard Law School in 1913 for a year. He then moved into Arts and Sciences.[2]

In 1915, his song, "Esmeralda", was played on Broadway. He had a musical on Broadway in 1916, but it did not do well.

Porter was not doing very well with his music so he went to Paris, France. He was working there when World War I started. He travelled all over Europe, and then joined the French Foreign Legion in 1917.[3] He was a soldier in North Africa, and then he taught American soldiers how to shoot.

Porter was married to Linda Lee Thomas (1883-1954) from 1919 until her death.[1] Some writers have said that Porter also had some gay relationships.[4][5]

Later life[change | edit source]

Porter started having musicals on Broadway again in 1926. He wrote some famous songs like "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love", "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and "Night and Day".

He threw lots of parties and had an exciting social life in the 1920s and 1930s. He became very successful with his musicals and songs.

In 1937, Porter had an accident when he was horse-riding. He had a lot of pain and had to have many operations. He became depressed after that. He kept working and in 1948 he wrote a very popular musical called Kiss Me, Kate. He won a Tony Award for the musical. He also wrote music for movies.

In 1952, Porter's mother died. In 1954, his wife died. In 1958, he had to have his injured leg amputated (cut off). After all these bad things happened, he retired. He died of kidney failure in 1964 in Santa Monica, California. He was 73.

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 John Derbyshire (NRO columnist), "Oh, the Songs!" (indepth review of film De-Lovely), 2004-07-28, National Review Online (nationalreview.com), webpage: NationalReview-CP: explains Cole Porter's marriage.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Cole Porter Biography written by JX Bell" (includes lives of parents/grandparents), www.ColePorter.org, ColePorterOrg-bio, accessed 2006-09-21.
  3. Legion of the Lost
  4. Citron, Stephen. Noel & Cole: the Sophisticates (2005). Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN 0-634-09302-9, p. 142
  5. Schwartz, Charles. Cole Porter, A Biography (1979). Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80097-7, p. 114 and 269

Other websites[change | edit source]