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Cole Porter
Caucasian man in his thirties smiling and looking to the camera. He has a round face, full lips and large dark eyes, and his short dark hair is combed to the side. He is wearing a dark jacket, a white shirt and a black tie with white dots.
Cole Porter, composer and songwriter
Born June 9, 1891(1891-06-09)
Peru, Indiana, U.S.
Died October 15, 1964 (aged 73)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Spouse(s) Linda Lee Thomas (m. 1919–1954) «start: (1919)–end+1: (1955)»"Marriage: Linda Lee Thomas to Cole Porter" Location: (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cole_Porter)

Cole Albert Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964) was an American composer and songwriter. His works include the musical comedies Kiss Me, Kate, Fifty Million Frenchmen, DuBarry Was a Lady and Anything Goes, as well as 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 noted for his sophisticated, bawdy lyrics, clever rhymes and complex forms. He was one of the greatest contributors to the Great American Songbook. Cole Porter is one of the few Tin Pan Alley composers to have written both the lyrics and the music for his songs.

Contents

Early years

Porter was born in Peru, Indiana, to a wealthy Baptist family;[1] his maternal grandfather, James Omar "J.O." Cole, was a coal and timber speculator who dominated his daughter's family. His mother started Porter in musical training at an early age; he learned the violin at age six, the piano at eight, and he wrote his first operetta (with help from his mother) at 10. Porter's mother, Kate, recognized and supported her son's talents. She changed his legal birth year from 1891 to 1893 to make him appear more precocious. Porter's grandfather J.O. Cole wanted the boy to become a lawyer,[2] and with that career in mind, sent him to Worcester Academy in 1905 (where he became class valedictorian)[2] and then Yale University beginning in 1909.

Porter was a member of Scroll and Key and Delta Kappa Epsilon (Phi chapter) and sang both in the Yale Glee Club, of which he was elected president his senior year, and in the original line-up of the Whiffenpoofs. While at Yale, he wrote a number of student songs, including the football fight songs "Bulldog Bulldog" and "Bingo Eli Yale" (aka "Bingo, That's The Lingo!") that are still played at Yale to this day. Cole Porter wrote 300 songs while at Yale.[2]

Porter spent a year at Harvard Law School in 1913 (where he roomed with Dean Acheson), and then transferred into Arts and Sciences.[2] An apocryphal story tells of a law school dean who, in frustration over Porter's lack of performance in the classroom, suggested tongue-in-cheek that he "not waste his time" studying law, but instead focus on his music[citation needed]. Taking this suggestion to heart, Porter transferred to the School of Music.

In 1915, his first song on Broadway, "Esmeralda", appeared in the revue Hands Up. The quick success was immediately followed by failure; his first Broadway production, in 1916, See America First (with a book by T. Lawrason Riggs), was a flop, closing after two weeks. Hitchy-Koo of 1919 with star Raymond Hitchcock closed after 56 performances.

Porter soon started to feel the crunch of rejection, as other revues for which he wrote were also flops. After the string of failures, Porter banished himself to Paris, selling songs and living off an allowance partly from his grandfather and partly from his mother.

Paris and marriage

Porter was working as a songwriter when the U.S. entered World War I in 1917. He traveled all over Europe, socializing with some of the best-known intellectuals and artists in Europe and becoming a charter member of the Lost Generation.

Porter enlisted in the French Foreign Legion[3] after working for the Duryea Relief Fund for a short time. Porter served in North Africa. He was transferred in 1917 to the French Officers School at Fontainebleau and was assigned to teach gunnery to American soldiers. He set up a luxury apartment in Paris and alternated between his officer duties and leading a playboy lifestyle. The French Foreign Legion still displays his portrait in its museum in Aubagne.[4] Porter may have lied to the American press about his military involvement and made up stories about working with the French Foreign Legion and the French army.[5] However, the French Foreign Legion reports Cole Porter served with them.[6]

In 1918, Porter met Linda Lee Thomas, a rich, Louisville, Kentucky-born divorcée eight years his senior,[1] whom he married the following year. Porter was often photographed in the arms of beautiful women and was married for 34 years to Thomas, who is said to have conceived and miscarried.[7] According to the writer of the book Noel & Cole: the Sophisticates, Porter had "frequent homosexual encounters." [8] The writer of the book Cole Porter: A Biography writes about Porter's "homosexual escapades".[9] De-Lovely, a 2004 movie starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd, portrayed his gay life.

Soon after his marriage, Porter was briefly enrolled at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, where he studied orchestration and counterpoint under Vincent d'Indy.[10]

On the sidelines

Unlike contemporaries such as George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, Porter did not succeed on Broadway in his early years. Dismayed by his failures, he moved to Europe, living for some time in Paris and Venice on his family's and his wife's money. He was not idle, however, and continued to write. Many of the songs from this period would later be hits.

In his autobiography, Musical Stages, Richard Rodgers relates an anecdote about meeting Porter in Venice during this period. Porter played Rodgers several of his compositions and Rodgers was highly impressed, wondering why Porter was not represented on Broadway. Rodgers didn't realize that Porter had already written several shows that had flopped.

In the late 1920s Porter returned to Broadway and made up for lost time.

Middle years

Porter reintroduced himself to Broadway with the musical Paris (1928), which featured one of his greatest "list" songs, "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)." Following this Gallic theme, his next show was Fifty Million Frenchmen (1929), which included several popular numbers including "You Do Something to Me" and "You've Got That Thing." Finishing out the decade, opening on December 30, 1929, was Wake Up and Dream, with a score that included "What Is This Thing Called Love?"

He started the 1930s with the revue The New Yorkers (1930), which included a song about a streetwalker, "Love for Sale." The lyric was considered too explicit for radio at the time (it was generally recorded as an instrumental), but has gone on to become a standard. Next came Fred Astaire's last stage show, The Gay Divorcee (1932). It featured a hit that would become perhaps Porter's best-known song, "Night and Day."

In 1934, Porter wrote what is thought by most to be his greatest score of this period, Anything Goes (1934). Its songs include "I Get a Kick out of You", "All Through the Night", perhaps his ultimate "list" song "You're the Top", and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow", as well as the title number. For years after, critics would compare most Porter shows—unfavorably—to this one. Anything Goes was also the first Porter show featuring Ethel Merman, who would go on to star in five of his musicals. He loved her loud, brassy voice, and wrote many numbers that featured her strengths.

Jubilee (1935), written with Moss Hart while on a cruise around the world, was not a major hit, but featured two songs that have since become part of the Great American Songbook—"Begin the Beguine" and "Just One of Those Things". Red Hot And Blue (1936), featuring Merman, Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope, introduced "It's De-Lovely", "Down in the Depths (on the Ninetieth Floor)", and "Ridin' High".

Porter also wrote for Hollywood, including the scores for Born to Dance (1936), featuring "You'd Be So Easy to Love" and "I've Got You Under My Skin", and Rosalie (1937), featuring "In the Still of the Night". In addition, he had composed the cowboy song "Don't Fence Me In" for an unproduced movie in the 1930s, but it didn't become a hit until Roy Rogers and Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters, as well as other artists, introduced it to the public in the 1940s.

Porter continued to live the high life during this period, throwing lavish parties and hobnobbing with the likes of Elsa Maxwell, Monty Woolley, Beatrice Lillie, Igor Stravinsky and Fanny Brice. In fact, some of his lyrics mention his friends. Now at the height of his success, Porter was able to enjoy the opening night of his musicals; he would make a grand entrance and sit up front, apparently relishing the show as much as any audience member.

Then, in October 1937, Porter was riding horses with the Countess Edith di Zoppola and the Duke de Verdura at the Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, New York, when his horse rolled on him and crushed his legs, leaving him mostly crippled and in constant pain.[11] [12][13] (Porter himself has it that he composed the lyrics to part of "At Long Last Love" while lying in pain waiting to be rescued from the accident.) Doctors told Porter's wife and mother that his right leg would have to be amputated and possibly the left one as well. Porter underwent more than 30 surgeries on his legs and was in constant pain for the rest of his life. During this period, the many operations led him to severe depression. He was one of the first people who received electric shock therapy.

Later years

Despite his pain, Porter continued to write successful shows. Leave It to Me! (1938) (introducing Mary Martin singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"), DuBarry Was a Lady (1939), Panama Hattie (1940), Let's Face It! (1941), Something for the Boys (1943), and Mexican Hayride (1944) were all hits. These shows included songs such as "Get Out of Town", "Friendship", "Make It Another Old-Fashioned Please", and "I Love You". Porter liked to use as many as four different orchestrators to cover the various arrangements he envisaged for his scores.[14] Nevertheless, Porter was turning out fewer hit songs and, to some critics, his music was less magical. After two flops, Seven Lively Arts (1944) (which featured the standard "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye") and Around the World (1946), many thought that his best period was over.

In 1948, Porter made a great comeback, writing what was by far his biggest hit show, Kiss Me, Kate. The production won the Tony Award for Best Musical (the first Tony awarded in that category), and Porter won for Best Composer and Lyricist. The score—generally acknowledged to be his best—includes "Another Op'nin' Another Show", "Wunderbar", "So In Love", "We Open in Venice", "Tom, Dick or Harry", "I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua", "Too Darn Hot", "Always True to You (in My Fashion)", and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare". Porter was back on top.

Though his next show—Out Of This World (1950)—was not greatly successful, the show after that, Can-Can (1952), featuring "C'est Magnifique" and "It's All Right with Me", was a major hit. His last original Broadway production, Silk Stockings (1955), featuring "All of You", was also successful.

After his riding accident, Porter continued to work in Hollywood, writing the scores for two Fred Astaire movies, Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940), which featured an old hit, "Begin The Beguine," and a new one, "I Concentrate on You", and You'll Never Get Rich (1941). He later wrote the songs for the Gene Kelly and Judy Garland musical The Pirate (1948). The film lost money, though it does feature the delightful "Be a Clown" (intriguingly echoed in Donald O'Connor's performance of "Make 'Em Laugh" in the 1952 musical film Singin' in the Rain). High Society (1956), starring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly, had Porter's last major hit, "True Love". He wrote songs for Les Girls (1957) with Gene Kelly. His final score was for a CBS color special, Aladdin (1958); Columbia Records issued a stereophonic LP of songs from the program.

Eventually, his injuries caught up with him. After a series of ulcers and 34 operations on his right leg, it had to be amputated and replaced with an artificial limb in 1958. The operation followed the death of his beloved mother in 1952 and his wife's death from emphysema in 1954. The combined hardships Porter endured proved to be too much. He never wrote another song after 1958 and spent the remaining years of his life in relative seclusion.

Cole Porter died of kidney failure on October 15, 1964, at the age of 73 in Santa Monica, California, and is interred in Mount Hope Cemetery in his native Peru, Indiana. Porter is buried between his wife and father. According to Charles Schwartz in Cole Porter, A Biography, this was ironic, since Porter was not close to his father. The book further states that there are erroneous reports that claim that Porter was buried between Linda and his mother, Kate.[9]

Tributes

In 1956, the album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook was released by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by a studio orchestra conducted and arranged by Buddy Bregman, focusing on the songs of Cole Porter.

The Swedish pop group Gyllene Tider have recorded a song called Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång (That girl from the Cole Porter song) in 1982.

At halftime of the 1991 Orange Bowl between Colorado and Notre Dame, Joel Grey led a large cast of singers and dancers in a tribute to Porter marking one hundred years since his birth. The program was called, "You'll Get a Kick Out of Cole".

In 1990 Red Hot + Blue was released featuring 20 Cole Porter songs recorded by artists such as U2, Annie Lennox and Shane MacGowan as a benefit CD for AIDS research.

In country singer Jo Dee Messina's song "These Are The Days", Porter is referenced as the protagonist reveals she sings old Cole Porter songs.

In 2004 jazz and electronica producer Billy Paul Williams reinterpreted his hits on the feature album named The Porter Project.

John Barrowman, who played "Jack" in the 2004 film De-Lovely released "John Barrowman Swings Cole Porter," a collection of Cole Porter songs in October of 2004.

In 2008, pianist/vocalist Patricia Barber released The Cole Porter Mix, consisting of her take on 10 Cole Porter classics as well as three originals inspired by Cole Porter.

The French Foreign Legion, which backs up Porter's claim to have been a legionnaire, honors him with a portrait that hangs in the Legion's official museum.

The Cole Porter Festival is held every year the second weekend of June, in his hometown of Peru, Indiana. The festival fosters music and art appreciation by celebrating the life and music of Cole Porter.

Legacy

His life was made into Night and Day, a very sanitized 1946 Michael Curtiz film starring Cary Grant and Alexis Smith. His life was chronicled more realistically in De-Lovely, a 2004 Irwin Winkler film starring Kevin Kline as Porter and Ashley Judd as Linda.

Judy Garland performed a medley of Porter's songs at the 37th Academy Awards, the first Oscars ceremony held following Porter's death.

In 1980, Porter's music was used for the score of Happy New Year, based on the Philip Barry play Holiday. He is referenced in the song "The Call of the Wild" (Merengue) by David Byrne on his 1989 album Rei Momo. He is also mentioned in the song "Tonite It Shows" by Mercury Rev on their 1998 album Deserter's Songs.

Porter was a Steinway Artist, which means that he chose to perform on Steinway pianos exclusively, and he owned a Steinway piano. Porter's piano is currently in the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.[15][16]

Notable songs

Shows listed are stage musicals unless otherwise noted. (Where the show was later made into a film, the year refers to the stage version.)

A complete list of Porter's works is in the Library of Congress (Complete List of Cole Porter works, and Cole Porter Collection at the Library of Congress).

A far more comprehensive list of Cole Porter songs, along with their date of composition and original show, is available here: [3].

Notes

  1. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c d "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. ^ French Foreign Legion Official web site
  5. ^ http://www.coleporter.org/bio.html
  6. ^ French Foreign Legion Official web site
  7. ^ All About Jewish Theatre—How Cole Porter got his kicks ?jewish-theatre.com
  8. ^ Citron, Stephen. Noel & Cole: the Sophisticates (2005). Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN 0634093029, p. 142
  9. ^ a b Schwartz, Charles
  10. ^ From Inspiration to Archive: Cole Porter's "Night and Day"Matthew Shaftel. Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 315–347
  11. ^ "People", Time, November 1, 1937.
  12. ^ John Lahr (July 12, 2004). "King Cole". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/07/12/040712crat_atlarge. Retrieved 2009-12-09. "On October 24, 1937, Cole Porter went out for a horseback ride at the Piping Rock Club, in Locust Valley, Long Island—one of those swank playgrounds whose names he liked to rhyme in song and which signaled his fully paid-up membership in the Elegentsia. In the woods, the skittish horse, which the forty-six-year-old Porter had been warned against riding, shied and fell on him, crushing both his legs" 
  13. ^ According to a biography by William McBrien and oral history by Brendan Gill You're the Top: The Cole Porter Story, DVD, 1990, [ASIN: 1572522399]
  14. ^ "The Boys That Make the Noise", Music section, Time (magazine), 5 July 1943.
  15. ^ [1]hotels.about.com
  16. ^ [2]bestatnewyorkcitybreaks.co.uk

References

  • Schwartz, Charles. Cole Porter, A Biography (1979). Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306800977, p. 114 and 269

Further reading

  • JX Bell, Cole Porter Biography (retrieved February 16, 2005).
  • Derbyshire, John (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.
  • Stefan Kanfer, (Winter 2003) The Voodoo That He Did So Well City Journal.
  • McBrien, William (1998). Cole Porter: A Biography. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-72792-2.
  • Ethan Mordden: Rock and Cole. The New Yorker, October 28, 1991, pp. 91–113.
  • Powell, Don: Music Producer, Playwright.
  • Rimler, Walter: A Cole Porter Discography, N. Charles Sylvan Company, 1995, ISBN 1-886385-25-4.
  • Schwartz, Charles: Cole Porter: A Biography (Hardcover and a Da Capo Paperback), May 1, 1979, ISBN 0-306-80097-7.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking
But now, Heaven knows,
Anything goes.

Cole Albert Porter (9 June 189115 October 1964) was an American composer and songwriter noted for his sophisticated (sometimes ribald) lyrics, clever rhymes, and complex forms.

Contents

Sourced

What is this thing called love?
This funny thing called love?
  • What is this thing called love?
    This funny thing called love?

    Just who can solve this mystery?
    Why should it make a fool of me?
    • "What Is This Thing Called Love?" from Wake Up and Dream (1929)
  • If you want to buy my wares
    Follow me and climb the stairs ...
    Love for sale.
    • "Love For Sale" in The New Yorkers (1930)
  • There's an, oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of me.
    • "Night and Day" in Gay Divorce (1932)
Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above.
Don't fence me in.
  • What moments divine, what rapture serene.
    • "Begin the Beguine" in Jubilee (1935).
  • Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above.
    Don't fence me in.
    • "Don't Fence Me In" (1935) written for a never-released film Adios, Argentina, later used in the film Hollywood Canteen (1944).

Paris (1928)

Let's do it, let's fall in love.
If you want a future, darling,
Why don't you get a past?
Lets misbehave.
  • Some Argentines, without means, do it,
    People say, in Boston, even beans do it.
    Let's do it, let's fall in love.
  • The chimpanzees in the zoos do it,
    Some courageous kangaroos do it
    Let's do it, let's fall in love.

    I'm sure giraffes on the sly do it,
    Even eagles as they fly do it,
    Let's do it, let's fall in love.

    • "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love"; an earlier variant, rather than "Even eagles...": "Heavy hippopotami do it..."
  • In shallow shoals, English soles do it
    Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it.
    • "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love"
  • Electric eels I might add do it,
    Though it shocks 'em I know...
    • "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love"
  • The world admits bears in pits do it,
    Even Pekingeses at the Ritz do it,
    Let's do it, let's fall in love.
    • "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love"
  • If you want a future, darling,
    Why don't you get a past?
    • "Let's Misbehave"
  • They say that spring
    Means just one thing
    To little lovebirds.
    We're not above birds,
    Lets misbehave.
    • "Lets Misbehave"
  • They say that bears
    Have love affairs
    And even camels,
    We're merely mammals
    Let's misbehave.
    • "Let's Misbehave"

Anything Goes (1934)

I get no kick from champagne.
Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all,
So tell me why it should be true
That I get a kick out of you?
  • I get no kick from champagne.
    Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all,
    So tell me why it should be true
    That I get a kick out of you?
    • "I Get a Kick Out of You"
  • Some get a kick from cocaine.
    I'm sure that if
    I took even one sniff
    That would bore me terrifically, too,
    Yet, I get a kick out of you.
    • "I Get a Kick Out of You"
  • You're the smile
    On the Mona Lisa.
    • "You're the Top"
  • In olden days a glimpse of stocking
    Was looked on as something shocking
    But now, Heaven knows,
    Anything goes.
    • "Anything Goes"; there are also variants on this line which read "But now, God knows,
      Anything goes", but the most common renditions are done with "Heaven knows"
  • Good authors, too, who once knew better words
    Now only use four-letter words
    Writing prose —
    Anything goes.
    • "Anything Goes"

Let's Face It (1941)

You are my fav'rite star,
My haven in heaven above,
You are ev'rything I love.
Always try to arrive at
Having an ace some place private.
Always have an ace in the hole.
  • Too bad, I'm no poet,
    I happen to know it, But anyway
    Here's a roundelay
    I wrote last night about you...
    • "Ev'rything I Love" (1941)
  • You are my fav'rite star,
    My haven in heaven above,
    You are ev'rything I love.
    • "Ev'rything I Love" (1941)
  • Sad times
    May follow your tracks
    ,
    Bad times
    May bar you from Saks,
    Add times
    When Satan in slacks
    Breaks down your self control...
    • "Ace in the Hole"
  • This rule I propose,
    Always have an ace in the hole.

    Always try to arrive at
    Having an ace some place private.

    Always have an ace in the hole.

    • "Ace in the Hole"
  • You're the pain in my —
    The hurricane in my —
    Supersensitive heart, dear.
    Still I love you, I know,
    And the reason is merely because
    You irritate me so!
    • "You Irritate Me So"
  • Relax for a moment my Jerry
    Come out of your dark monastery
    While Venus is beaming above.
    Darling, let's talk about love.
    • "Let's Not Talk About Love"

Something To Shout About (1943)

  • You'd be so nice to come home to
    You'd be so nice by the fire...
    • "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To"
  • You'd be so nice,
    You'd be paradise
    To come home to and love.
    • "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To"

Mexican Hayride (1944)

  • It must be fun to be you
    And play with love as you do

    To treat each new romance
    As merely one more dance
    Or just another book to glance through
    It must be fun to acquire
    Whatever heart you desire,
    And when you're bored with it
    To tear it in two,
    It must be fun to be you.
    • "It Must Be Fun To Be You"
Be a clown, be a clown,
All the world loves a clown.
Act the fool, play the calf,
And you'll always have the last laugh.
Wear the cap and the bells
And you'll rate all the great swells.

The Pirate (1948)

  • Be a clown, be a clown,
    All the world loves a clown.
    Act the fool, play the calf,
    And you'll always have the last laugh.
    • "Be A Clown" (written in 1946)
  • Wear the cap and the bells
    And you'll rate all the great swells.

    If you become a doctor, folks'll face you with dread.
    If you become a dentist, they'll be glad when you're dead.
    You get a bigger hand if you can stand on your head.
    Be a clown, be a clown, be a clown.
    • "Be A Clown"
  • Be the poor silly ass
    And you'll always travel first class.

    Give 'em quips, give 'em fun,
    And they'll pay to say you're A–1.
    If you become a farmer, you've the weather to buck.
    If become a gambler you'll be struck with your luck.
    But jack you'll never lack if you can quack like a duck.
    Be a clown, be a clown, be a clown.
    • "Be A Clown"

Kiss Me, Kate (1948)

  • So kiss me Kate,
    Thou lovely loon,
    E'er we start on our honeymoon.
    Oh, kiss me, Kate, Darling devil divine,
    For now thou shall ever be mine.
    • "Kiss Me Kate"

Quotes about Porter

  • In a way no other songs of the period quite did, Porter's created a world. It was a between–the–wars realm of drop–dead chic and careless name–dropping insouciance. And it was a sexy place to be invited.
    • Walter Clemons, in Vanity Fair, as quoted in The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter (1992)
  • The wit of his words depended on his ability to raise the audience immediately to his own level — and keep it there. The instant happiness that Porter gave his audience is the kind that becomes history.

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Cole Porter
Born June 9, 1891(1891-06-09)
Peru, Indiana, U.S.
Died October 15, 1964 (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

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.

In 1919, Porter married an American woman called Linda Lee Thomas. She was eight years older than him.[1] They were married for 34 years. Some writers have said that Porter also had some gay relationships.[4][5]

Later life

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 1956, his wife died. In 1958, he had to have his injured leg amputated (cut off). After all these bad things happening, he stopped working. He died of kidney failure in 1964 in California. He was 73.

References

  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








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