Cole Albert Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964) was an
American composer and songwriter. Born to a wealthy family in Indiana,
he defied the wishes of his domineering grandfather and took up music
as a profession. Classically trained, he was drawn towards musical
theatre. After a slow start, he began to achieve success in the 1920s,
and by the 1930s he was one of the major songwriters for the Broadway
musical stage. Unlike many successful Broadway composers, Porter wrote
the lyrics, as well as the music, for his songs.
After a serious horseback riding accident in 1937, Porter was left
disabled and in constant pain, but he continued to work. His shows of
the early 1940s did not contain the lasting hits of his best work of
the 1920s and '30s, but in 1948 he made a triumphant comeback with his
most successful musical, Kiss Me, Kate. It won the first Tony Award
for Best Musical.
Porter's other musicals include Fifty Million Frenchmen, DuBarry Was a
Lady, Anything Goes, Can-Can and Silk Stockings. His numerous hit
songs include "Night and Day", "Begin the Beguine", "I Get a Kick Out
of You", "Well, Did You Evah!", "I've Got You Under My Skin", "My
Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "You're the Top". He also composed scores
for films from the 1930s to the 1950s, including
Born to Dance
Born to Dance (1936),
which featured the song "You'd Be So Easy to Love"; Rosalie (1937),
which featured "In the Still of the Night"; High Society (1956), which
included "True Love"; and
Les Girls (1957).
1 Life and career
1.1 Early years
1.2 Paris and marriage
1.3 Broadway and West End success
1.5 1940s and postwar
1.6 Last years
2 Tributes and legacy
3 Notable songs
4 Notes, references and sources
5 External links
Life and career
Farmhouse at Westleigh Farms
Porter was born in Peru, Indiana, the only surviving child of a
wealthy family.[n 1] His father, Samuel Fenwick Porter, was a
druggist by trade.[n 2] His mother, Kate, was the indulged daughter
of James Omar "J. O." Cole, "the richest man in Indiana", a coal and
timber speculator who dominated the family.[n 3] J. O. Cole built
the couple a home on his Peru-area property, known as Westleigh
Farms. After high school, Porter returned to the property only for
Porter's strong-willed mother doted on him and began his musical
training at an early age. He learned the violin at age six, the piano
at eight, and wrote his first operetta (with help from his mother) at
ten. She falsified his recorded birth year, changing it from 1891 to
1893 to make him appear more precocious. His father, who was a shy
and unassertive man, played a lesser role in Porter's upbringing,
although as an amateur poet, he may have influenced his son's gifts
for rhyme and meter. Porter's father also had musical talent as a
vocalist and pianist, but the father-son relationship was not
Porter as a
Yale College student
J. O. Cole wanted his grandson to become a lawyer, and with that
career in mind, he sent him to
Worcester Academy in Massachusetts in
1905. Porter brought an upright piano with him to school and found
that music, and his ability to entertain, made it easy for him to make
friends. Porter did well in school and rarely came home to
visit. He became class valedictorian and was rewarded by his
grandfather with a tour of France, Switzerland and Germany.
Yale University in 1909, Porter majored in English, minored
in music, and also studied French. He was a member of Scroll and
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and contributed to campus
humor magazine The Yale Record. He was an early member of the
Whiffenpoofs a cappella singing group and participated in several
other music clubs; in his senior year, he was elected president of
Yale Glee Club
Yale Glee Club and was its principal soloist.
Porter wrote 300 songs while at Yale, including student songs such
as the football fight songs "Bulldog" and "Bingo Eli Yale" (aka
"Bingo, That's The Lingo!") that are still played at Yale today.
During college, Porter became acquainted with New York City's vibrant
nightlife, taking the train to New York City to enjoy dinner, theater,
and a night on the town with his classmates, before returning to New
Haven, Connecticut, early in the morning. He also wrote musical
comedy scores for his fraternity, the Yale Dramat (the Yale dramatic
society), and as a student at Harvard – Cora (1911), And the Villain
Still Pursued Her (1912), The Pot of Gold (1912), The Kaleidoscope
(1913) and Paranoia (1914) – which helped prepare him for a career
as a Broadway and Hollywood composer and lyricist. After
graduating from Yale, Porter enrolled in
Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School in 1913.
He soon felt that he was not destined to be a lawyer, and, at the
suggestion of the dean of the law school, Porter switched to Harvard's
music faculty, where he studied harmony and counterpoint with Pietro
Yon. Kate Porter did not object to this move, but it was kept
secret from J. O. Cole.
In 1915, Porter's 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, a
"patriotic comic opera" modeled on Gilbert and Sullivan, with a book
by T. Lawrason Riggs, was a flop, closing after two weeks. Porter
spent the next year in New York City before going overseas during
World War I.
Paris and marriage
In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Porter moved to
Paris to work with the Duryea Relief organization.[n 4] Some
writers have been skeptical about Porter's claim to have served in the
French Foreign Legion, although the Legion lists Porter as one
of its soldiers and displays his portrait at its museum in
Aubagne. By some accounts, he served in
North Africa and was
transferred to the French Officers School at Fontainebleau, teaching
gunnery to American soldiers. An obituary notice in The New York
Times said that, while in the Legion, "he had a specially constructed
portable piano made for him so that he could carry it on his back and
entertain the troops in their bivouacs." Another account, given by
Porter, is that he joined the recruiting department of the American
Aviation Headquarters, but, according to his biographer Stephen
Citron, there is no record of his joining this or any other branch of
Porter maintained a luxury apartment in Paris, where he entertained
lavishly. His parties were extravagant and scandalous, with "much gay
and bisexual activity, Italian nobility, cross-dressing, international
musicians and a large surplus of recreational drugs". In 1918, he
met Linda Lee Thomas, a rich, Louisville, Kentucky-born divorcée
eight years his senior.[n 5] She was beautiful and well-connected
socially; the couple shared mutual interests, including a love of
travel, and she became Porter's confidant and companion. The
couple married the following year. She was in no doubt about Porter's
homosexuality,[n 6] but it was mutually advantageous for them to
marry. For Linda, it offered continued social status and a partner who
was the antithesis of her abusive first husband. For Porter, it
brought a respectable heterosexual front in an era when homosexuality
was not publicly acknowledged. They were, moreover, genuinely devoted
to each other and remained married from December 19, 1919, until her
death in 1954. Linda remained protective of her social position,
and believing that classical music might be a more prestigious outlet
than Broadway for her husband's talents, she tried to use her
connections to find him suitable teachers, including Igor Stravinsky,
but was unsuccessful. Finally, Porter enrolled at the Schola Cantorum
in Paris where he studied orchestration and counterpoint with Vincent
d'Indy. Meanwhile, Porter's first big hit was the song
"Old-Fashioned Garden" from the revue
Hitchy-Koo in 1919. In 1920,
he contributed the music of several songs to the musical A Night
Ca' Rezzonico in Venice, leased by Porter in the 1920s
Marriage did not diminish Porter's taste for extravagant luxury. The
Porter home on the rue Monsieur near
Les Invalides was a palatial
house with platinum wallpaper and chairs upholstered in zebra
skin. In 1923, Porter came into an inheritance from his
grandfather, and the Porters began living in rented palaces in Venice.
He once hired the entire
Ballets Russes to entertain his house guests,
and for a party at Ca' Rezzonico, which he rented for $4,000 a month
($57,000 in current value), he hired 50 gondoliers to act as footmen
and had a troupe of tight-rope walkers perform in a blaze of
lights. In the midst of this extravagant lifestyle, Porter
continued to write songs with encouragement from his wife.
Porter received few commissions for songs in the years immediately
after his marriage. He had the occasional number interpolated into
other writers' revues in Britain and the U.S. For a
C. B. Cochran
C. B. Cochran show
in 1921, he had two successes with the comedy numbers "The Blue Boy
Blues" and "Olga, Come Back to the Volga". In 1923, in
collaboration with Gerald Murphy, he composed a short ballet,
originally titled Landed and then Within the Quota, satirically
depicting the adventures of an immigrant to America who becomes a film
star. The work, written for the Ballets suédois, lasts about 16
minutes. It was orchestrated by
Charles Koechlin and shared the same
opening night as Milhaud's La création du monde. Porter's work
was one of the earliest symphonic jazz-based compositions, predating
Rhapsody in Blue
Rhapsody in Blue by four months, and was well
received by both French and American reviewers after its premiere at
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in October 1923.[n 7]
After a successful New York performance the following month, the
Ballets suédois toured the work in the U.S., performing it 69 times.
A year later the company disbanded, and the score was lost until it
was reconstructed from Porter's and Koechlin's manuscripts between
1966 and 1990, with help from Milhaud and others. Porter had less
success with his work on Greenwich Village Follies (1924). He wrote
most of the original score, but his songs were gradually dropped
during the Broadway run, and by the time of the post-Broadway tour in
1925, all his numbers had been deleted. Frustrated by the public
response to most of his work, Porter nearly gave up songwriting as a
career, although he continued to compose songs for friends and perform
at private parties.
Broadway and West End success
Irène Bordoni, star of Porter's Paris
At the age of 36, Porter reintroduced himself to Broadway in 1928 with
the musical Paris, his first hit. It was commissioned by E. Ray
Goetz at the instigation of Goetz's wife and the show's star, Irène
Bordoni. She had wanted
Rodgers and Hart
Rodgers and Hart to write the songs, but
they were unavailable, and Porter's agent persuaded Goetz to hire
Porter instead. In August 1928, Porter's work on the show was
interrupted by the death of his father. He hurried back to
comfort his mother before returning to work. The songs for the show
included "Let's Misbehave" and one of his best-known list songs,
"Let's Do It", which was introduced by Bordoni and Arthur
Margetson. The show opened on Broadway on October 8, 1928. The
Porters did not attend the first night because Porter was in Paris
supervising another show for which he had been commissioned, La Revue,
at a nightclub. This was also a success, and, in Citron's phrase,
Porter was finally "accepted into the upper echelon of Broadway
songwriters". Cochran now wanted more from Porter than isolated
extra songs; he planned a West End extravaganza similar to Ziegfeld's
shows, with a Porter score and a large international cast led by
Sonnie Hale and Tilly Losch. The revue, Wake Up and
Dream, ran for 263 performances in London, after which Cochran
transferred it to New York in 1929. On Broadway, business was badly
affected by the 1929 Wall Street crash,[n 8] and the production ran
for only 136 performances. From Porter's point of view, it was
nonetheless a success, as his song "What Is This Thing Called Love?"
became immensely popular.
Porter's new fame brought him offers from Hollywood, but because his
score for Paramount's
The Battle of Paris
The Battle of Paris was undistinguished, and its
star, Gertrude Lawrence, was miscast, the film was not a success.
Citron expresses the view that Porter was not interested in cinema and
"noticeably wrote down for the movies." Still on a Gallic theme,
Porter's last Broadway show of the 1920s was Fifty Million Frenchmen
(1929), for which he wrote 28 numbers, including "You Do Something to
Me", "You've Got That Thing" and "The Tale of the Oyster". The
show received mixed notices. One critic wrote, "the lyrics alone are
enough to drive anyone but
P. G. Wodehouse
P. G. Wodehouse into retirement", but
others dismissed the songs as "pleasant" and "not an outstanding hit
song in the show". As it was a lavish and expensive production,
nothing less than full houses would suffice, and after only three
weeks the producers announced that they would close it. Irving Berlin,
who was an admirer and champion of Porter, took out a paid press
advertisement calling the show "The best musical comedy I've heard in
years.... One of the best collections of song numbers I have ever
listened to". This saved the show, which ran for 254 performances,
considered a successful run at the time.
Ray Goetz, producer of Paris and Fifty Million Frenchmen, the success
of which had kept him solvent when other producers were bankrupted by
the post-crash slump in Broadway business, invited Porter to write a
musical show about the other city that he knew and loved: New York.
Goetz offered the team with whom Porter had last worked: Herbert
Fields writing the book and Porter's old friend Monty Woolley
The New Yorkers
The New Yorkers (1930) acquired instant notoriety for
including a song about a streetwalker, "Love for Sale". Originally
Kathryn Crawford in a street setting, critical
disapproval led Goetz to reassign the number to
Elisabeth Welch in a
nightclub scene. The lyric was considered too explicit for radio at
the time, though it was recorded and aired as an instrumental and
rapidly became a standard. Porter often referred to it as his
favorite of his songs.
The New Yorkers
The New Yorkers also included the hit "I
Happen to Like New York".
Elisabeth Welch starred in Porter's
The New Yorkers
The New Yorkers and Nymph Errant.
Next came Fred Astaire's last stage show,
Gay Divorce (1932). It
featured a hit that became Porter's best-known song, "Night and
Day".[n 9] Despite mixed press (some critics were reluctant to accept
Astaire without his previous partner, his sister Adele), the show ran
for a profitable 248 performances, and the rights to the film,
re-titled The Gay Divorcee, were sold to RKO Pictures.[n 10] Porter
followed this with a West End show for Gertrude Lawrence, Nymph Errant
(1933), presented by Cochran at the Adelphi Theatre, where it ran for
154 performances. Among the hit songs Porter composed for the show
were "Experiment" and "The Physician" for Lawrence, and "Solomon" for
In 1934, producer Vinton Freedley came up with a new approach to
producing musicals. Instead of commissioning book, music and lyrics
and then casting the show, Freedley sought to create an ideal musical
with stars and writers all engaged from the outset. The stars he
wanted were Ethel Merman,
William Gaxton and comedian Victor Moore. He
planned a story about a shipwreck and a desert island, and for the
book he turned to
P. G. Wodehouse
P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton. For the songs, he
decided on Porter. By telling each of these that he had already signed
the others, Freedley gathered his ideal team together.[n 11] A drastic
last-minute rewrite was necessitated by a major shipping accident,
which dominated the news and made Bolton and Wodehouse's book seem
tasteless.[n 12] Nevertheless, the show, Anything Goes, was an
immediate hit. Porter wrote what is thought by many to be his greatest
score of this period.
The New Yorker
The New Yorker magazine said, "Mr. Porter is in
class by himself", and Porter himself subsequently called it one
of his two perfect shows, along with the later Kiss Me, Kate. Its
songs include "I Get a Kick Out of You", "All Through the Night",
"You're the Top" (one of his best-known list songs), and "Blow,
Gabriel, Blow", as well as the title number. The show ran for 420
performances in New York (a particularly long run in the 1930s) and
261 in London. Porter, despite his lessons in orchestration from
d'Indy, did not orchestrate his musicals.
Anything Goes was
Robert Russell Bennett
Robert Russell Bennett and Hans Spialek.[n 13] 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 in
front, apparently relishing the show as much as any audience member.
Russel Crouse commented, "Cole's opening-night behaviour is as
indecent as that of a bridegroom who has a good time at his own
Anything Goes was the first of five Porter shows featuring Merman. 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, running for only 169
performances, but it featured two songs that have since become
standards, "Begin the Beguine" and "Just One of Those Things".
Red, Hot and Blue (1936), featuring Merman,
Jimmy Durante and Bob
Hope, ran for 183 performances and introduced "It's De-Lovely", "Down
in the Depths (on the Ninetieth Floor)", and "Ridin' High". The
relative failure of these shows convinced Porter that his songs did
not appeal to a broad enough audience. In an interview he said,
"Sophisticated allusions are good for about six weeks ... more fun,
but only for myself and about eighteen other people, all of whom are
first-nighters anyway. Polished, urbane and adult playwriting in the
musical field is strictly a creative luxury."
Porter also wrote for Hollywood in the mid-1930s. His scores include
those for the
Born to Dance
Born to Dance (1936), with
James Stewart, 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". He wrote the score of the short film Paree, Paree, in
1935, using some of the songs from Fifty Million Frenchmen. Porter
also composed the cowboy song "Don't Fence Me In" for Adios,
Argentina, an unproduced movie, in 1934, but it did not become a hit
Roy Rogers sang it in the 1944 film Hollywood Canteen. Bing
Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, and other artists also popularized it in
the 1940s. The Porters moved to Hollywood in December 1935, but
Porter's wife did not like the movie environment, and Porter's
homosexual peccadillos, formerly very discreet, became less so; she
retreated to their Paris house. When his film assignment on
Rosalie was finished in 1937, Porter hastened to Paris to make his
peace with Linda, but she remained cool. After a walking tour of
Europe with his friends, Porter returned to New York in October 1937
without her. They were soon reunited by an accident suffered by
On October 24, 1937, Porter was riding with Countess Edith di Zoppola
Fulco di Verdura
Fulco di Verdura at
Piping Rock Club
Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley, New
York, when his horse rolled on him and crushed his legs, leaving him
substantially crippled and in constant pain for the rest of his life.
Though doctors told Porter's wife and mother that his right leg would
have to be amputated, and possibly the left one as well, he refused to
have the procedure. Linda rushed from Paris to be with him, and
supported him in his refusal of amputation. He remained in the
hospital for seven months and was then allowed to go home to his
apartment at the Waldorf Towers.[n 14] He resumed work as soon as he
could, finding it took his mind off his perpetual pain.
Porter's first show after his accident was not a success. You Never
Know (1938), starring Clifton Webb,
Lupe Vélez and Libby Holman, ran
for only 78 performances. The score included the songs, "From
Alpha to Omega" and "At Long Last Love". He returned to success
Leave It to Me!
Leave It to Me! (1938); the show introduced Mary Martin, singing
"My Heart Belongs to Daddy", and other numbers included "Most
Gentlemen Don't Like Love" and "From Now On". Porter's last show
of the 1930s was
DuBarry Was a Lady
DuBarry Was a Lady (1939), a particularly risqué
show, starring Merman and Bert Lahr. After a pre-Broadway tour,
during which it ran into trouble with the Boston censors, it
achieved 408 performances, beginning at the 46th Street Theatre.
The score included "But in the Morning, No" (which was banned from the
airwaves), "Do I Love You?", "Well, Did You Evah!", "Katie Went to
Haiti" and another of Porter's up-tempo list songs, "Friendship".
At the end of 1939, Porter contributed six songs to the film Broadway
Melody of 1940 for Fred Astaire,
George Murphy and Eleanor Powell.
Meanwhile, as political unrest increased in Europe, Porter's wife
closed their Paris house in 1939, and the following year, purchased a
country home in the Berkshire mountains, near Williamstown,
Massachusetts, which she decorated with elegant furnishings from their
Paris home. Porter spent time in Hollywood, New York and their home in
1940s and postwar
Fred Astaire in You'll Never Get Rich
Panama Hattie (1940) was Porter's longest-running hit so far, running
in New York for 501 performances, despite the absence of any enduring
Porter songs. It starred Merman, with
Arthur Treacher and Betty
Let's Face It!
Let's Face It! (1941), starring Danny Kaye, had an even better
run, with 547 performances in New York. This, too, lacked any
numbers that became standards, and Porter always counted it among his
Something for the Boys (1943), starring Merman,
ran for 422 performances, and Mexican Hayride (1944), starring Bobby
Clark, with June Havoc, ran for 481 performances. These shows,
too, are short of Porter standards. The critics did not pull their
punches; they complained about the lack of hit tunes and the generally
low standard of Porter's scores. 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 Porter's best period
Between Broadway musicals, Porter continued to write for Hollywood.
His film scores of this period were
You'll Never Get Rich
You'll Never Get Rich (1941) with
Astaire and Rita Hayworth, Something to Shout About (1943) with Don
Janet Blair and William Gaxton, and Mississippi Belle
(1943–44), which was abandoned before filming began. He also
cooperated in the making of the film Night and Day (1946), a largely
fictional biography of Porter, with
Cary Grant implausibly cast in the
lead. The critics scoffed, but the film was a huge success, chiefly
because of the wealth of vintage Porter numbers in it. The success
of the biopic contrasted severely with the failure of Vincente
Minnelli's film The Pirate (1948), with
Judy Garland and Gene
Kelly, in which five new Porter songs received little
Jean Howard in early 1954
From this low spot, Porter made a conspicuous comeback, in 1948, with
Kiss Me, Kate. It was by far his most successful show, running for
1,077 performances in New York and 400 in London. The production
Tony Award for best musical (the first Tony awarded in that
category), and Porter won for best composer and lyricist. The score
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 began the 1950s with Out Of This World (1950), which had some
good numbers but too much camp and vulgarity, and was not greatly
successful. His next show, Can-Can (1952), featuring "C'est
Magnifique" and "It's All Right with Me", was another hit, running for
892 performances. Porter's last original Broadway production, Silk
Stockings (1955), featuring "All of You", was also successful, with a
run of 477 performances. Porter wrote two more film scores and
music for a television special before ending his Hollywood career. The
film High Society (1956), starring Bing Crosby,
Frank Sinatra and
Grace Kelly, included Porter's last major hit song, "True Love".
The film was later adapted as a stage musical of the same name. Porter
also wrote numbers for the film
Les Girls (1957), which starred Gene
Kelly. His final score was for a
CBS television color special, Aladdin
Porter's mother died in 1952, and his wife died from emphysema in
1954. By 1958, Porter's injuries caused a series of ulcers on his
right leg. After 34 operations, it had to be amputated and replaced
with an artificial limb. His friend
Noël Coward visited him in
the hospital and wrote in his diary, "The lines of ceaseless pain have
been wiped from his face.... I am convinced that his whole life will
cheer up and that his work will profit accordingly." In fact,
Porter never wrote another song after the amputation and spent the
remaining six years of his life in relative seclusion, seeing only
intimate friends. He continued to live in the Waldorf Towers in
New York in his memorabilia-filled apartment. On weekends he often
visited an estate in the Berkshires, and he stayed in California
during the summers.
Porter died of kidney failure on October 15, 1964, in Santa Monica,
California, at the age of 73. He is interred in Mount Hope Cemetery in
his native Peru, Indiana, between his wife and father.
Tributes and legacy
Porter family gravesite in Peru, Indiana
Many artists have recorded Porter songs, and dozens have released
entire albums of his songs. In 1956 American jazz singer Ella
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the
Cole Porter Songbook. In
1972 she released another collection, Ella Loves Cole. Among the many
album collections of Porter songs are the following: Oscar Peterson
Cole Porter Songbook (1959); Anita O'Day Swings Cole Porter
with Billy May (1959); All Through the Night: Julie London Sings the
Cole Porter (1965); Rosemary Clooney Sings the Music of
Cole Porter (1982); and Anything Goes: Stephane Grappelli & Yo-Yo
Ma Play (Mostly)
Cole Porter (1989). In 1990 Dionne Warwick
released Dionne Sings Cole Porter. In that same year, Red Hot +
Blue was released as a benefit CD for AIDS research and featured 20
Cole Porter songs recorded by artists such as U2 and Annie
Additional recording collections include
Frank Sinatra Sings the
Cole Porter (1996) and
John Barrowman Swings Cole Porter
(2004; Barrowman played "Jack" in the 2004 film De-Lovely. Other
singers who have paid tribute to Porter include the Swedish pop music
group Gyllene Tider, which recorded a song called "Flickan i en Cole
Porter-sång" ("That Girl from the
Cole Porter Song") in 1982. He is
referenced in the merengue song "The Call of the Wild" 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.
Judy Garland performed a medley of Porter's songs at the 37th
Academy Awards shortly after Porter's death. In 1980, Porter's
music was used for the score of Happy New Year, based on the Philip
Barry play Holiday. The cast of The Carol Burnett
Show paid a tribute to Porter in a humorous sketch in their CBS
television series. You're the Top: The
Cole Porter Story, a video
of archival material and interviews, and Red, Hot and Blue, a video of
artists performing Porter's music, were released in 1990 to celebrate
the one hundredth anniversary of Porter's birth. In contrast to
the highly embellished 1946 screen biography Night and Day,
Porter's life was chronicled more realistically in De-Lovely, a 2004
Irwin Winkler film starring
Kevin Kline as Porter and
Ashley Judd as
Linda. The soundtrack to
De-Lovely includes Porter songs sung by
Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello,
Diana Krall and
Natalie Cole, among others. Porter also appears as a character in
Woody Allen's 2011 film Midnight in Paris.
Many events commemorated the centenary of Porter's birth, including
the halftime show of the 1991 Orange Bowl.
Joel Grey and a
large cast of singers, dancers and marching bands, performed a tribute
to Porter in Miami, Florida, during the 57th King Orange Jamboree
parade, whose theme was "Anything Goes". The Indianapolis
Symphony Orchestra performed a program of
Cole Porter music at the
Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, which also featured clips of Porter's
Hollywood films. "A Gala Birthday Concert" was held at New York
City's Carnegie Hall, with more than 40 entertainers and friends
paying tribute to Porter's long career in theater and film. In
addition, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp
honoring Porter's birth. The
Indiana University Opera performed
Porter's musical, Jubilee, in Bloomington, Indiana.
In May 2007, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was dedicated to
Cole Porter. In December 2010, his portrait was added to the
Hoosier Heritage Gallery in the office of the Governor of
Indiana. Numerous symphony orchestras have paid tribute to Porter
in the years since his death including Seattle Symphony
Marvin Hamlisch as conductor and the Boston Pops,
both in 2011.[n 15] In 2012, Marvin Hamlisch, Michael Feinstein,
Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Dallas Symphony Orchestra honored Porter with a concert that
included his familiar classics. The
Cole Porter Festival is held
every year in June in his hometown of Peru, Indiana, to foster music
and art appreciation. Costumed singers in the cabaret-style Cole
Porter Room at the
Indiana Historical Society's Eugene and Marilyn
Indiana History Center in
Indianapolis take requests from
visitors and perform Porter's hit songs.[n 16] Porter's Steinway piano
is in the lobby of the
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York
City. Porter is a member of the American Theater Hall of
Fame. In 2014 Porter was honored with a plaque on the Legacy Walk
in Chicago, which celebrates
See also: Category:Compositions by Cole Porter.
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 (see
Cole Porter Collection).[n 17]
(1916) See America First
Hitchy-Koo of 1919 – "Old-Fashioned Garden"
(1928) Paris – "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love"
(1929) Wake Up and Dream – "What Is This Thing Called Love?"
(1929) Fifty Million Frenchmen – "You Do Something to Me"
(1930) The New Yorkers – "Love for Sale", "I Happen to Like New
York", "Where Have You Been?"
(1932) Gay Divorce – "After You, Who?", "Night and Day"
(adapted as The Gay Divorcee, 1934)
(1933) Nymph Errant – "Experiment", "The Physician", "It's Bad
(1934) Anything Goes – "All Through the Night", "Anything
Goes", "Blow Gabriel, Blow", "I Get a Kick Out of You", "You're the
(1934) Adios Argentina (un-produced film) – "Don't Fence Me In"
(1935) Jubilee – "Begin the Beguine", "Just One of Those
(1936) Red, Hot and Blue – "Down in the Depths (on the
Ninetieth Floor)", "It's De-Lovely"
Born to Dance
Born to Dance (film) – "You'd Be So Easy to Love", "I've
Got You Under My Skin"
Rosalie (film) – "In the Still of the Night"
(1937) You Never Know – "At Long Last Love", "From Alpha to
Omega", "Let's Misbehave"
(1938) Leave It to Me! – "From Now On", "Get Out of Town", "My
Heart Belongs to Daddy"
(1939) Broadway Melody of 1940 – "Between You and Me", "I
Concentrate on You", "I've Got My Eyes on You", "I Happen to Be in
Love", "Begin the Beguine"
(1939) DuBarry Was a Lady – "But in the Morning No", "Do I Love
You?", "Well, Did You Evah!", "Friendship"
(1940) Panama Hattie – "I've Still Got My Health", "Let's Be
You'll Never Get Rich
You'll Never Get Rich (film) – "Dream Dancing", "So Near
and Yet So Far"
(1941) Let's Face It! – "I Hate You, Darling"
(1942) Something for the Boys – "Could It Be You"
(1942) Something to Shout About – "You'd Be So Nice to Come
(1943) Mexican Hayride – "I Love You"
(1944) Seven Lively Arts – "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye"
(1946) Around the World – "Look What I Found"
(1947) The Pirate (film) – "Be a Clown", "Mack the Black", "You
Can Do No Wrong"
(1948) Kiss Me, Kate – "Another Op'nin', Another Show", "Brush
Up Your Shakespeare", "I Hate Men", "So in Love", "Tom, Dick or
Harry", "Too Darn Hot"', "Wunderbar"
(1950) Out of This World – "From This Moment On", "I Am Loved"
(1950) Stage Fright (film) – "The Laziest Gal in Town"
(1953) Can-Can – "I Am in Love", "I Love Paris", "C'est
Magnifique", "It's All Right With Me"
(1954) Silk Stockings – "All of You", "Paris Loves Lovers"
(1955) High Society (film) – "Mind if I Make Love to You?",
"True Love", "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", "You're Sensational"
(1956) Les Girls – "Ça, C'est L'amour", "You're Just Too, Too"
(1958) Aladdin (television) – "Come to the Supermarket (In Old
A more comprehensive list of
Cole Porter songs, along with their date
of composition and original show, is available online at the "Cole
Porter Songlist Page".
Notes, references and sources
^ Porter's parents had two children who died in infancy before his
birth – Louis Omar (b. and d. 1885) and Rachel (1888–90).
^ Porter's father came to Peru, Indiana, from Vevay, Indiana. He
eventually owned three drugstores in Peru.
^ Porter's great-grandfather, A. A. Cole, had come to Peru, Indiana,
in 1834 from Connecticut, as a child. J. O. Cole grew up in Peru but
moved west during the Gold Rush of 1849. He made his fortune in
California but invested it in
Indiana farmland and West Virginia
timber, coal, and oil.
^ He subsequently enlisted in the First Foreign Regiment, before
moving to other regiments prior to his April 1919 discharge.
^ She divorced newspaper mogul Edward R. Thomas in 1912, receiving
more than a million dollars in the divorce settlement.
^ Porter had "frequent homosexual encounters"
^ The British classical music journal
The Musical Times commented,
"There was plenty of excitement of a certain kind – at least for the
more excitable spectators".
^ The Porters were not greatly affected by the crash, having their
assets in safe investments and held in a number of foreign banks,
which remained solvent.
^ In 1999, Matthew Shaftel wrote, "Less than two months after the
show's opening ... the song was featured on two best-selling
recordings and was at the top of sheet music sales. Since then, 83
artists have registered with the [ASCAP] ... to legally perform and
record "Night and Day." [Even] today, more than 65 years after its
composition, the song earns a stunning six figures, making it Warner
Brothers' "crown jewel," and placing it on ASCAP's list of top
money-earners of all time.
^ The film version, starring Astaire and
Ginger Rogers dropped all of
Porter's score except "Night and Day"
^ Freedley told Bolton and Wodehouse that he had secured Merman, then
contacted Gaxton, Moore, and finally Merman.
^ In 1934, the S.S. Morro Castle caught fire off the New Jersey shore,
killing more than a hundred people. Bolton and Wodehouse were by
then engaged in other work, and Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
rewrote the book almost completely.
^ Other Porter shows were orchestrated by Maurice B. DePackh, Walter
Paul, Don Walker and Philip J. Lang: see Kimball (1991) pp. 2–3.
Porter, however, would check the orchestral parts and amend them as he
^ Linda, appraising the deteriorating political outlook in Europe,
closed the Paris house in April 1939.
^ In 2012, the Boston Pops presented another tribute to Porter.
^ The setting is designed to evoke the Waldorf Astoria New York, where
Porter once lived.
^ All the songs below (except for "Come to the Supermarket", which is
listed in this compilation), are included in one or more of the
compilations of Porter songs listed at "A
Cole Porter Bibliography" on
Soundheimguide.com, accessed March 10, 2011
^ McBrien (1998), p. 11
^ a b c d Derbyshire, John. "Oh, the Songs!" Archived 2013-01-30 at
Archive.is, National Review Online, July 28, 2004, accessed May 27,
^ a b c d Shaftel, Matthew. "From Inspiration to Archive: Cole
Porter's 'Night and Day'", Journal of Music Theory, Duke University
Press, Volume 43, No. 2 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 315–47, accessed March
7, 2011 (subscription required)
^ McBrien (1998), p. 8
^ a b c d e f g h i Bell, J. X. "
Cole Porter Biography" Archived
2010-09-23 at the Wayback Machine., The
Cole Porter Resource Site,
accessed March 7, 2011
^ McBrien (1998), pp. 4–5.
^ Schwartz (1977), p. 11
^ Schwartz (1977), p. 18
^ a b McBrien (1998), p. 10.
^ a b McBrien (1998), p. 21
^ McBrien (1998), p. 26
^ "The Theater: The Professional Amateur", Time magazine, January 31,
^ a b c d Kimball (1999), p. 1.
^ Seuss (2012), p. 10
^ a b McBrien (1998), p. 32.
^ Yale Precision Marching Band, "Yale Fight Songs" Archived 2012-10-06
at the Wayback Machine., accessed September 20, 2012.
^ Ewen, David. "Cole Porter: The Great Sophisticate", from The Story
of America's Musical Theater, New York, Chilton Company, 1961, pp.
^ a b Root, Deane L. and Gerald Bordman. "Porter, Cole (Albert)",
Grove Music Online, accessed May 21, 2010 (requires subscription)
^ Kimball (1992), p. 1.
^ McBrien (1998), p. 59
French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion Official web site". Legion-etrangere.com.
2016-07-13. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
^ Salazar, Jaime. Legion of the Lost, Legionofthelost.com, 2005,
accessed September 16, 2016
^ a b c d "Obituary:
Cole Porter is Dead; Songwriter Was 72", The New
York Times, October 16, 1964
^ Citron (2005), p. 48
^ a b McBrien (1998), p. 65
^ McBrien (1998), p. 70
^ Citron (2005), p. 142; and Schwartz (1977), p.114
^ "Cole Porter – The Twenties", The Stephen Sondheim Reference
Guide, accessed February 28, 2011
^ a b Kimball (1992), p. 2
^ Citron (2005), p. 58
^ Kimball (1991), pp. 4–5
^ a b Kimball (1991), p. 5
^ "Paris", The Musical Times, December 1923, p. 874
^ Kimball (1991), p. 6
^ Kimball (1984), p. 85
^ a b Kimball (1999), p. 5
^ Citron (2005), p. 73
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 101 and 104
^ Citron (2005), pp. 74 and 79
^ Citron (2005), p. 78
^ Citron (2005), p. 85
^ Citron (2005), pp 80–82
^ Citron (2005), pp. 82–83
^ Citron (2005), p. 83
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 117–29
^ Citron (2005), p. 84
^ Citron (2005), p. 100
^ Citron (2005), p. 101
^ Kimball (1984), p. 145
^ Kimball (1984), p. 147
Gay Divorce – Original Broadway Production", Sondheimguide.com,
accessed April 16, 2016
^ " Shaftel, Matthew. "From Inspiration to Archive: Cole Porter's
'Night and Day'," Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Autumn,
1999), pp. 315–47, accessed March 8, 2011 (subscription required)
^ Citron (2005), p. 105
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 158–62
^ Citron (2005), p. 108
^ Citron (2005), p. 109
^ Kimball (1992), p. 70, and McBrien (1998), p. 164
^ a b c d Citron (2005), p. 110
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 167–76
^ Citron (2005), p. 111
^ McGlinn, John (1989), "The Original Anything Goes: A Classic
Restored", Notes to EMI CD CDC 7 49848 2
^ Shaftel, Matthew. "From Inspiration to Archive: Cole Porter's 'Night
and Day'," Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Autumn, 1999), pp.
315–47, accessed March 8, 2011 (subscription required))
^ Citron (2005), p. 141
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 183–96
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 205–16
^ Kimball (1984), p. 205.
^ Kimball (1992), p. 9
^ Paree, Paree, SoundheimGuide, accessed February 13, 2013
^ Kimball (1992), p. 7
^ Citron (2005), p. 143
^ McBrien (1998), pp. 189, 193, 206 and 209
^ McBrien (1998), p. 209.
^ Citron (2005), p. 144
^ Citron (2005), p. 145
^ Citron (2005), p. 168
^ Citron (2005), p. 162
^ Kimball (1984), p. 225
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 227 and 229
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 241 and 243
^ Citron (2005), p. 184
^ Kimball (1984), p. 260
^ Kimball (1984), p. 256
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 259–67
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 252–54
^ McBrien (1998), p. 225
^ Citron (2005), p. 185
^ Kimball (1984), p. 299
^ Citron (2005), p. 189
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 320 and 343
^ Citron (2005), p. 190
^ Citron (2005), p. 193
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 295, 313 and 335
^ Citron (2005), pp. 211–14
^ Kimball (1992), p. 13–15
^ Citron (2005), p. 215
^ Citron (2005), p. 419
^ Kimball (1984), pp. 387–99
^ Citron (2005), p. 220
^ Kimball (1984), p. 422
^ Kimball (1984), p. 438
^ Kimball (1984), p. 468
^ Citron (2005), pp. 239 and 242
^ a b Citron (2005), p. 249
^ Coward (1982), p. 379
^ Schwartz (1977), p. 269
^ a b List of
Cole Porter collections at Sondheimguide.com, accessed
June 9, 2011
^ Discogs.com, accessed February 22, 2012.
^ Discogs.com, accessed February 22, 2012.
^ Sondheim Guide, accessed February 22, 2012.
^ Sondheim Guide, accessed February 22, 2012.
^ Judy Garland-1965-
Cole Porter Medley on YouTube, accessed September
^ Youtube.com "The Carol Burnett Show – Tribute to Cole Porter"
on YouTube, accessed September 20, 2012.
^ a b Howard Reich, "Porter Tributes: A Few Highlights", Chicago
Tribune", May 5, 1991, accessed September 20, 2012.
^ Classicfilmguide.com, accessed February 27, 2012.
^ Johnston, Sheila. "How
Cole Porter got his kicks?" Archived May 10,
2007, at the Wayback Machine. All About Jewish Theatre (2004),
accessed May 27, 2010
^ Phares, Heather. "Original Soundtrack" De-Lovely", Allmusic,
accessed April 30, 2014
^ "The Better Life", The New Yorker, May 23, 2011
^ Kimball, Robert. "Cole Porter, College Man" Archived 2012-11-14 at
the Wayback Machine., Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1992, accessed
May 17, 2012
^ a b Holland, Bernard. "A Hoosier Hurrah on Cole Porter's
Centennial", The New York Times, June 9, 1991, accessed May 17, 2012
^ TCM Turner Classic Movies, "1990 King Orange Jamboree Parade",
Turner Entertainment Networks, December 31, 1990, accessed September
^ Luisa Yanez, "500,000 At Parade Ooh, Aah King Orange Reigns Under
Miami Moon", Sun-Sentinel, January 1, 1991, retrieved September 20,
^ Randolph E. Schmid, "Basketball, Early Warren and
Cole Porter Set
for 1991 Stamps", Associated Press, Essential New Archives, accessed
September 20, 2012.
^ Clair McPhail, "Year-long celebration to honor Cole Porter", The
News Courier/The Evening Post, Charleston, South Carolina, August 12,
1990, retrieved September 20, 2012.
^ Associated Press "Hollywood star for Cole Porter", USA Today, May
21, 2007, retrieved September 20, 2012.
^ Video on YouTube, accessed February 21, 2012.
^ "NSO at Wolf Trap: 'A
Cole Porter Celebration' ", The John F.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, retrieved September 20, 2012.
^ "Faith Middleton Show: A Tribute to
Cole Porter and Glen Miller",
"The Faith Middleton Show", Connecticut Public Broadcasting, November
22, 2010, accessed September 20, 2012.
^ "A Tribute to Cole Porter" Archived 2013-01-16 at the Wayback
Machine., Seattle Symphony Orchestra, accessed September 20, 2012
^ Meland, Manny. "Boston Pops in A Tribute to
Cole Porter with
Conductor Keith Lockhart" Archived 2013-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.,
Miamiartzine, March 7, 2011, retrieved September 20, 2012.
^ "Boston Pops Presents Tribute to
Cole Porter on June 5–6",
MassJazz blog, accessed September 20, 2012.
^ "DSO Pops Series:
Cole Porter Tribute with Michael Feinstein and
Marvin Hamlisch", Last.fm, accessed September 20, 2012.
Cole Porter Festival, accessed September 20, 2012.
^ Granger, Elizabeth. "Hoosier History", Home & Away, January
2015, p. 37
^ Hotels.about.com, "
Cole Porter Piano", accessed September 20, 2012.
^ Martinez, Jose. "Cole Porter's apartment at the Waldorf-Astoria can
be yours for $140K a month", New York Daily News, July 20, 2010,
accessed May 16, 2014
^ "Members", Theater Hall of Fame, accessed October 14, 2014
Legacy Walk honors
LGBT 'guardian angels'",
October 12, 2014 (subscription required)
^ Reynolds, Daniel. "7
LGBT Heroes Honored With Plaques in Chicago's
Legacy Walk", Advocate.com, October 11, 2014
Cole Porter Songlist Page". Accessed May 27, 2010
Citron, Stephen (2005). Noel & Cole: the Sophisticates. Milwaukee:
Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0634093029.
Coward, Noël (1982). Graham Payn; Sheridan Morley, eds. The Noël
Coward Diaries (1941–1969). London: Methuen.
Kimball, Robert (ed.) (1984). The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter. New
York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-72764-9. CS1 maint: Extra
text: authors list (link)
Kimball, Robert (1991). Cole Porter: Overtures and Ballet Music, Liner
note to EMI CD CDC 7 54300 2. London: EMI Records.
Kimball, Robert (1992). "Cole Porter". You're the Top:
Cole Porter in
the 1930s. Indianapolis:
Indiana Historical Society.
Kimball, Robert (1999). "Cole Porter". You're Sensational: Cole Porter
in the '20s, '40s, & '50s. Indianapolis:
Society. ISBN 0-871-95129-0.
McBrien, William (1998). Cole Porter: A Biography. New York: Alfred A.
Knopf. ISBN 0-394-58235-7.
Schwartz, Charles (1977). Cole Porter: A Biography. New York: Da Capo
Press. ISBN 0-306-80097-7.
Seuss, Dr (2012). Richard Marschall, ed. Just What the Doctor
Disordered: Early Writings and Cartoons of Dr. Seuss. Mineola, NY:
Dover. ISBN 0486498468.
Find more aboutCole Porterat's sister projects
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Data from Wikidata
Bibliowiki has original media or text related to this article: Cole
Porter (in the public domain in Canada)
Works by or about
Cole Porter at Internet Archive
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Cole Porter discography at Discogs
Cole Porter at the
Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Cole Porter at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
Cole Porter on IMDb
Cole Porter Birthplace & Museum
Cole Porter Festival
Cole Porter Collection at Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale
See America First
Fifty Million Frenchmen
Wake Up and Dream
The New Yorkers
Red, Hot and Blue
You Never Know
Leave It to Me!
Du Barry Was a Lady
Let's Face It!
Something for the Boys
Around the World
Kiss Me, Kate
Out of This World
Happy New Year
Ace in the Hole
After You, Who?
All of You
All Through the Night
Always True to You in My Fashion
Another Op'nin', Another Show
At Long Last Love
Be a Clown
Begin the Beguine
Ca, C'est L'amour
The Day Is My Enemy
Do I Love You?
Don't Fence Me In
Down in the Depths
Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
From This Moment On
Get Out of Town
Give Him the Ooh-La-La
Hey, Good Lookin'
High Society Calypso
I Am in Love
I Concentrate on You
I Get a Kick Out of You
I Happen to Like New York
I Love Paris
I Love You
I Love You, Samantha
I've Got My Eyes on You
I've Got You Under My Skin
In the Still of the Night
It's All Right with Me
Just One of Those Things
Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love
Love for Sale
Mind If I Make Love to You?
Miss Otis Regrets
My Heart Belongs to Daddy
Night and Day
Now You Has Jazz
So in Love
So Near and yet So Far
Tom, Dick or Harry
Too Darn Hot
Well, Did You Evah!
What Is This Thing Called Love?
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Why Can't You Behave?
You Do Something to Me
You'd Be So Easy to Love
You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
You're the Top
ISNI: 0000 0001 0865 3610
BNF: cb13898618g (data)