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Nat 'King' Cole Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (24) | Personal Quotes (3) | Salary (2)

Overview (5)

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, USA
Died in Santa Monica, California, USA  (lung cancer)
Birth NameNathaniel Adams Coles
Nickname King Cole
Height 6' 0½" (1.84 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Nat King Cole was born Nathaniel Adams Coles at Montgomery, Alabama. He received music lessons from his mother and his family moved to Chicago when he was only five, where his father Edward James Coles was a minister at the True Light Baptist Church and later Pastor of the First Baptist Church. At 12 he was playing the church organ and at 14 he formed a 14 piece band called the Royal Dukes. Nat was a top flight sandlot baseball player at Wendell Phillips high school in Chicago. His three brothers, Ike, Eddie Cole and Frankie also played the piano and sang professionally. Nat was also an above-average football player in high school. His sister Evelyn Cole was a beautician in nearby Waukegan, Illinois. In 1939 he formed the King Cole Trio after his publicist put a silver tin-foiled crown on his head and proclaimed him King. He later toured Europe and made a command performance before Queen Elizabeth II. He had a highly-rated TV show in the 1950s but it was canceled (by Cole himself) because no companies could be found that were willing to sponsor the show. He was a big baseball fan and had a permanent box seat at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. He met his wife Maria Cole (a big-band singer) at the Zanzibar nightclub in Los Angeles through Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson show. Her parents protested her decision to marry Cole, claiming he was "too black". However, they were married in 1948 and had two daughters, Natalie Cole and Caroline. On April 10, 1956, at Birmingham, Alabama, he was attacked by six white men from a white supremacist group called the White Cizizens Council during a concert and sustained minor injuries to his back. Cole appeared in several movies, his last one being Cat Ballou (1965), starring Lee Marvin. Cole received 28 gold record awards for such hits as "Sweet Lorraine", "Ramblin' Rose" in 1962, "Too Young" in 1951, "Mona Lisa" in 1949 and Mel Tormé's "Christmas Song". His first recordings of the Christmas Song included the lyrics, "Reindeers really know how to fly" instead of "reindeer really know how to fly", a mistake later corrected by Capitol Records. He was also a composer and his song "Straighten Up and Fly Right" was sold for $50.00. A heavy smoker, he died of lung cancer.

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

Spouse (2)

Maria Cole (28 March 1948 - 15 February 1965) (his death) (5 children)
Nadine Robinson (27 January 1937 - 22 March 1948) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Raspy voice

Trivia (24)

Born at 9 am-CST.
Brother of bandleader Eddie Cole.
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage, right hand side of the corridor, at the very top.
Children: daughters, Carol Cole, born October 17, 1944 (adopted) Natalie Cole, born February 6, 1950 Timolin & Casey (identical twins), born September 26, 1961; son, Nat Kelly Cole, born February 1959 - died 1995 (AIDS) (adopted).
Circa 1961, he had an interest in a paper-cup enterprise in Puerto Rico.
During the one season his show, The Nat King Cole Show (1954) was on the air, it had no sponsor, being run by NBC on a sustaining (network-sponsored) basis. The highly rated show had top-of-the-line production values, music by Nelson Riddle's orchestra, top-name guest stars and the personal endorsement of NBC chairman David Sarnoff (who ordered his network executives, "Find his show sponsors or heads will roll!"). Many of Cole's friends in the industry, such as Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte and Sammy Davis Jr., out of respect for his talents and what he was trying to do, appeared for minimum salary, and often no salary at all. Bob Henry (The Andy Williams Show (1962), Flip (1970)) wrote, produced and directed. At the end of the season, even though no national sponsors could be found - many companies did not want to upset their customers in the South, who did not want to see blacks on television - NBC expressed its willingness to keep the show going on a sustaining basis. It was Nat who pulled the plug, remarking bitterly, "I guess Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark."
Made his last recordings less than two weeks before his death, for the "L*O*V*E" album (Capitol, 1965).
Brother of singer Freddy Cole.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 (under the category Early Influence). His recordings of "Straighten Up And Fly Right" (1943) and "Route 66" (1946) (later covered by many including Chuck Berry, Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones), are R n B and Pop classics today. He had several mainstream R n R hits in the mid 1950s including "Send For Me"." With You On My Mind", "When Rock and Roll Comes To Trinadad" and "Looking Back".
Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1993.
A lifelong baseball fan, he was frequently seen at the Los Angeles Dodgers' home games for many years.
He and his second wife Maria Cole were married in Harlem's famous Abyssinian Baptist Church by the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr..
When he and his family moved to the upscale Hancock Park area of Los Angeles in the late 1940s, they were met with considerable opposition from the residents of the previously all-white neighborhood. When sent a letter informing him that the local residents were opposed to "undesirables" in the neighborhood, he responded with a letter that said that he and his family were also opposed to undesirables, and that, if he ever saw any, his neighbors would be the first ones to know. When the neighbors finally realized - after several attempts, including legal action - that the Coles were not going to be intimidated, they accepted defeat and, ultimately, the Coles as well. Several years after his death, his widow, Maria, sold the home to a family of wealthy African-Americans. As Maria herself said, "Anyone who thought Nat was an Uncle Tom clearly did not know the man".
Winner of a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy award in 1989. Incredibly enough, he was nominated for a Grammy only once in his lifetime, in 1958, and lost.
In 1956, while giving a concert in Birmingham, Alabama, he was attacked onstage by two members of a white racist organization called the White Citizens Council--which has since renamed itself the Conservative Citizens Council--and sustained injuries to his back.
As a singer and recording artist, his contributions to American popular music are incalculable. Any list of his representative hits, all on Capitol records, has to include: "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66," "Sweet Lorraine," "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons," "The Christmas Song," "Mona Lisa "(a signature song during his career), "Nature Boy," "Too Young," "Answer Me" , "Walkin' My Baby back Home", "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Lush Life, " "Ramblin' Rose," "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer, "People" , "That Sunday Yhat Summer" " "Dear Lonely Hearts," "L-O-V-E," and "Unforgettable.".
He was heavy smoker throughout his life and was rarely seen in public or private without a cigarette in his hand. He was a smoker of Kool menthol cigarettes, believing that smoking up to three packs a day gave his singing voice its low, rich sound. After an operation for stomach ulcers in 1953, he had been advised by doctors to stop smoking, but he did not do so. He was hospitalized and diagnosed with lung cancer on December 6, 1964. He underwent cobalt and radiation therapy and was initially given a positive prognosis. On January 25, 1965 he underwent surgery to remove his entire left lung. Despite medical treatments, he died on February 15, 1965, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.
He was paid only $5000 for acting in China Gate (1957), but he received $75,000 for singing "Three Coins in the Fountain" during the opening credits.
Addressed the Republican National Convention in 1956.
Attended the Democratic National Convention in 1960.
Performed at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration on 20 January 1961.
He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One for Television at 6229 Hollywood Boulevard and one for Recording at 6659 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
First African-American to have his own TV show - The Nat King Cole Show (1954).
On the NBC Television special The Best On Record, broadcast May 18, 1965, Sammy Davis, Jr. performed a musical tribute to his friend Nat 'King' Cole.

Personal Quotes (3)

[after his TV show was canceled due to lack of sponsors] Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.
All I want to do is sing and make people happy.
[In an interview the day before his TV show opened] Negroes have been exposed to many single appearances but have not been given a chance to do a regular show before now. I've been waging a personal campaign, aiming at a show of this kind. I hit a few snags here and there but I didn't give up the fight. It could be a turning point so that Negroes may be featured regularly on television.

Salary (2)

The Blue Gardenia (1953) $10,000
China Gate (1957) $5,000

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