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Cole Porter Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (3) | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 9 June 1891Peru, Indiana, USA
Date of Death 15 October 1964Santa Monica, California, USA  (kidney failure)
Birth NameCole Albert Porter
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Cole Porter was born June 9, 1891, at Peru, Indiana, the son of pharmacist Samuel Fenwick Porter and Kate Cole. Cole was raised on a 750-acre fruit ranch. Kate Cole married Samuel Porter in 1884 and had two children, Louis and Rachel, who both died in infancy. Porter's grandfather, J.G. Cole, was a multi-millionaire who made his fortune in the coal and western timber business. His mother introduced him to the violin and the piano. Cole started riding horses at age six and began to studying piano at eight at Indiana's Marion Conservatory. By age ten, he had begun to compose songs, and his first song was entitled "Song of the Birds".

He attended Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1905, an elite private school from which he graduated in 1909 as class valedictorian. That summer he toured Europe as a graduation present from his grandfather. That fall, he entered Yale University and lived in a single room at Garland's Lodging House at 242 York Street in New Haven, CT, and became a member of the Freshman Glee Club. In 1910, he published his first song, "Bridget McGuire". While at Yale, he wrote football fight songs including the "Yale Bulldog Song" and "Bingo Eli Yale," which was introduced at a Yale dining hall dinner concert. Classmates include poet Archibald Macleish, Bill Crocker of San Francisco banking family and actor Monty Woolley. Dean Acheson, later to be U.S. Secretary of State, lived in the same dorm with Porter and was a good friend of Porter. In his senior year he was president of the University Glee club and a football cheerleader.

Porter graduated from Yale in 1913 with a BA degree. He attended Harvard Law school from 1913 to 1914 and the Harvard School of Music from 1915 to 1916. In 1917 he went to France and distributed foodstuffs to war-ravaged villages. In April 1918 he joined the 32nd Field Artillery Regiment and worked with the Bureau of the Military Attache of the US. During this time he met the woman who would become his wife, Linda Lee Thomas, a wealthy Kentucky divorcée, at a breakfast reception at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. He did not, as is often rumored, join the French Foreign Legion at this time, nor receive a commission in the French army and see combat as an officer.

In 1919 he rented an apartment in Paris, enrolled in a school specializing in music composition and studied with Vincent D'indy. On December 18, 1919, married Linda Lee Thomas, honeymooning in the south of France. This was a "professional" marriage, as Cole was, in fact, gay. Linda had been previously married to a newspaper publisher and was described as a beautiful woman who was one of the most celebrated hostesses in Europe. The Porters made their home on the Rue Monsieur in Paris, where their parties were renowned as long and brilliant. They hired the Monte Carlo Ballet for one of their affairs; once, on a whim, they transported all of their guests to the French Riviera.

In 1923 they moved to Venice, Italy, where they lived in the Rezzonico Palace, the former home of poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. They built an extravagant floating night club that would accommodate up to 100 guests. They conducted elaborate games including treasure hunts through the canals and arranged spectacular balls.

Porter's first play on Broadway featured a former ballet dancer, actor Clifton Webb. He collaborated with E. Ray Goetz, the brother-in-law of Irving Berlin, on several Broadway plays, as Goetz was an established producer and lyricist.

His ballad "Love For Sale" was introduced on December 8, 1930, in a revue that starred Jimmy Durante and was introduced by Kathryn Crawford. Walter Winchell, the newspaper columnist and radio personality, promoted the song, which was later banned by many radio stations because of its content. In 1934, his hit "Anything Goes" appeared on Broadway. During the show's hectic rehearsal Porter once asked the stage doorman what he thought the show should be called. The doorman responded that nothing seemed to go right, with so many things being taken out and then put back in, that "Anything Goes" might be a good title. Porter liked it, and kept it. In 1936, while preparing for "Red, Hot and Blue" with Bob Hope and Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman was hired to do stenographic work to help Porter in rewriting scripts of the show. He later said she was the best stenographers he ever had.

Porter wrote such classic songs as "Let's Do It" in 1928, "You Do Something To Me" in 1929, "Love For Sale" in 1930, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" in 1929, "Night and Day" in 1932, "I Get A Kick Out Of You" in 1934, "Begin the Beguine" in 1935, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" in 1938, "Don't Fence Me In" in 1944, "I Love Paris" in 1953, "I've Got You Under My Skin", In the Still of The Night", "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", "True Love", "Just One Of Those Things", "Anything Goes", "From This Moment On", "You're The Top", "Easy to Love" and many, many more.

On October 24, 1937, taking a break from a re-write of what would be his weakest musical, "You Never Know", visiting as a guest at a countess' home, Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, New York, he was badly injured in a fall while horseback-riding. Both of his legs were smashed and he suffered a nerve injury. He was hospitalized for two years, confined to a wheelchair for five years and endured over 30 operations to save his legs over the next 20 years. During his recuperation he wrote a number of Broadway musicals.

On August 3, 1952, his beloved mother died of a cerebral hemorrhage. His wife, Linda, died of cancer on May 20, 1954. On April 3, 1958, he sustained his 33rd operation, and still suffering from chronic pain, his right leg was amputated. He refused to wear an artificial limb and lived as a virtual recluse in his apartment at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. He sought refuge in alcohol, sleep, self-pity and sank into despair. He even refused to attend a "Salute to Cole Porter" at the Metropolitan Opera on May 15, 1960, and the commencement exercises at Yale University in June of 1960 when he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, or his 70th birthday party arranged by his friends at the Orpheum Theater in New York City in June 1962.

After what appeared to be a successful kidney stone operation at St. John's hospital in Santa Monica, California, he died very unexpectedly on October 15, 1964. His funeral instructions were that he have no funeral or memorial service and he was buried adjacent to his mother and wife in Peru, Indiana.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Mike McKinley <songsinc@aol..com>

Spouse (1)

Linda Lee Thomas (18 December 1919 - 20 May 1954) (her death)

Trivia (21)

Older brother and sister (Louis and Rachel) died in infancy
Pictured on a 29¢ US commemorative postage stamp in the Performing Arts series, issued 22 May 1991, celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth.
His musical Kiss Me Kate, performed at the Open Air Theatre, was nominated for a 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award as Outstanding Musical Production of 1997.
His musical High Society, performed at the Open Air Theatre, was nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award as Outstanding Musical Production of 2003.
His musical, Anything Goes performed at the Royal National Theatre: Olivier in 2002, was awarded the 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Outstanding Musical Production.
His musical Anything Goes, performed at the Royal National Theatre in London, England was awarded the 2002 London Critics Circle Award (Drama) for Best Musical.
His musical, Kiss Me Kate, performed at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London, was awarded the 2001 London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical.
Referenced in the song 'The Call of the Wild (Merengue)' by David Byrne on his 1989 album, 'Rei Momo'.
In 1949, won two Tony Awards for "Kiss Me, Kate": Best Composer and Lyricist, and for music and lyrics as part of the Best Musical Award.
It is said that while on his honeymoon in Ravenna (Italy), he was so impressed by the mood of the small Mausoleum of Galla Placidia that he wrote his famous song "Night and Day" while thinking of the starry sky mosaic under Mausoleum's cupola.
Class valedictorian of Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts - an elite prep school. Alums include 1960s icon Abbie Hoffman, "Durango Kid" cowboy actor Charles Starrett and screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy.
A member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, from his undergraduate days.
Lived at the Waldorf-Astoria Tower in New York City from 1939 through 1964. A young hotel worker named Glory Santos was assigned to his suite as room service concierge soon after he moved in. He befriended her and would play new compositions he was working on to get her opinion. Among the first of these compositions was the song called "I Concentrate on You".
Was portrayed by Cary Grant in Night and Day (1946) Kevin Kline in the movie, De-Lovely (2004), both based (to some degree) on his life.
He was considered somewhat "washed up" at the time that he wrote what would become his greatest musical "Kiss Me, Kate". Although many of the musicals that he wrote songs for between 1937 and 1948 achieved respectable runs, none of them contained any truly classic hit songs. That changed when he wrote the score for "Kiss Me, Kate", which contained "So In Love", "Wunderbar", "Too Darn Hot", "Brush Up Your Shakespeare", "Were Thine That Special Face", and others. However, because "Kate" was written in 1948, there is no mention of it at all in the Cole Porter biographical film "Night and Day".
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
His estate continues to earn revenue in excess of $3 million per year, which is disbursed among numerous relatives.
When he died he gave his 350 acre estate, known as Buxton Hill, to Williams College.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
The lyrics to "I Get A Kick Out Of You", which first appeared in the Broadway musical "Anything Goes" (1936), were changed in the aftermath of the kidnapping of the Lindbergh child in 1932. The lines, "I Never cared for those nights in the air or the fair (ordeal) Mrs. Lindbergh went through" became "flying too high with some guy in the sky is my idea of nothing to do".
Some 900 songs are attributed to him.

Personal Quotes (3)

I am the most enthusiastic person in the world. I like everything as long as it's different.
[on the official studio response to 'In The Still of the Night'] Imagine making Louis B. Mayer cry! What could possibly top that?
It seems strange to me that changes in my lyrics are often made, and even changes to the music, without anyone even asking my permission.

Salary (2)

Rosalie (1937) $100,000
Night and Day (1946) $300,000

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