Cole Porter

Cole Albert Porter ( June 9, 1891 in Peru, Indiana, † October 15, 1964 in Santa Monica, California ) was an American composer and songwriter.


Cole Porter, who received his name after the surname of his mother Kate, came from a mother's very wealthy family who had come to Indiana, among others in the timber trade to wealth. His two older siblings, Omar Louis and Rachel, died before his birth, in infancy. Porter's musical inclination and talent showed up, encouraged by his mother, quite early; at the age of six he began playing the violin. Two years later, the first piano lessons, and from then on he concentrated on this instrument. At age ten, he wrote his first compositions, including The Song of Birds, his mother a dedicated six -part piano piece.

From 1905 to 1909 Porter visited the Worcester Academy in Massachusetts. After completing their secondary education Cole received from his grandfather, James Omar Cole paid a trip to Europe, leaving behind the both musically and culturally great impression on him. 1909 Porter was enrolled at Yale University; from there he moved to Harvard in 1913, where he first studied law continue, but then in 1915 enrolled in music.

Already in his years at Yale University, Cole Porter was popular for its entertainment talent among students and professors, where he wrote several students and Cheer songs such as Yale Bulldogs that are still played today. In 1915 he released his song Esmeralda with some success in the Broadway revue Hands Up. However, its own first Broadway production of See America First ( 1916) was not a success.

After the U.S. entry into the First World War in the spring of 1917, Porter went as a volunteer for an American charity to France. After the war ended in 1918 he stayed in Paris, where he attended the Schola Cantorum, a private music high school under the direction of Vincent d' Indy. In the same year he met the and married her in December 1919 regardless of his homosexual orientation wealthy, eight years older Linda Lee Thomas.

1923 died Porters grandfather and left him a considerable inheritance. The Porters spent the years up to 1928, especially in Europe, especially in Paris, Venice and the Riviera, led a free, carefree life and took many trips.

In the late 1920s Porter worked increasingly full-time and with increasing success as a composer and lyricist, and returned to the United States. His breakthrough came with the musical production Paris (1928 ), to which had helped his friend Irving Berlin. It was followed by other successful pieces, and soon Porter had established itself as one of the songwriters sizes of the U.S. and received the title of "America 's Great Sophisticate ". From 1935, the Porters began to spend more and more time in Hollywood, where the film business was booming.

In October 1937, he suffered a serious riding accident that changed his life radically. He suffered serious leg injuries and his wife, meanwhile separated from him lived in Paris and played with the idea to get a divorce from him, immediately returned to his side. The doctors urged to amputation of his legs, but she refused because she was convinced that this would lead to the loss of his will to live. The consequences of this accident made ​​later than 30 operations are required and escorted him the rest of his life. He was completely healed never, he had to rely on crutches and playing the piano gave him temporary difficulties. His humor, however, he appears to have kept: " It just goes to show fifty million Frenchmen can not be wrong. They eat horses instead of ride them " ( It simply shows that 50 million Frenchmen can not be wrong. Eating horses instead of riding them).

1952 his mother died, Kate, to which Porter had a deep relationship. Two years later, also died his wife Linda. In particular, the loss of his wife Cole sat too heavy. 1958 had to be amputated on the advice of his doctors, his right leg. Their zest for life seemed from that point on broken. He lived in retirement and became increasingly depressed. It is also reported alcohol problems. He visibly lost his will to live; against his long-time confidant of Arnold Saint Subber Porter expressed repeatedly that he wanted to die.

Cole Porter died on October 15, 1964 at the age of 73 years at the Santa Monica Hospital.


Cole Porter has about 40 complete musical composed and written to display lyrics, many of which have become evergreens. His style is often described as elegant or sophisticated. His talent as a lyricist was expressed in many unusual and witty lines that are often spiced with puns and so often brought him also problems with censorship.

Already in his years at college, he wrote plays, but the right breakthrough came only with Paris 1928. Through the influence of his friend Irving Berlin, who was himself a composer and even then was one of the great American composers, Porter was awarded the contract for the musical. It was to follow within a short time a successful show, on the other. Gay Divorce or Anything Goes at that time were all the rage. After his serious riding accident, Porter fell into depression, however, the work fell to him - also due to the strong medication - heavy and he had problems to raise the necessary funds for a Broadway production. So flopped several of his shows during these years and his critics saw his star already be extinct. However, with Kiss Me, Kate in 1948 he landed again a spectacular coup, which became a success worldwide and is also still played today. For his last major Broadway production of Silk Stockings Porter 1954 Hildegard Knef picked as the lead actress in New York.

Many of his pieces were - though not designed from the outset so - to jazz standards and evergreens, including " Night and Day ," " Begin the Beguine ", "? What Is This Thing Called Love", "Easy to Love " " You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To ," " Anything Goes ," " I Get A Kick Out Of You," " Love for Sale ", " True Love" and "I've Got You Under My skin". Nowadays, the interpretations of such pieces of great jazz musicians are often better known than the original versions. Many songs were sung by the world's best known performers in jazz and its border areas, including two plates recorded by Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, 1956 with Sings the Cole Porter Songbook Vol 1 and Vol 2 with its songs.

Film version of his life

  • De - Lovely - The Cole Porter Story ( De-Lovely ) - Musical Film / USA / GB 2004 with Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd
  • You're The Top - The Cole Porter Story ( PBS ( TV) Series: American Masters Documentation - USA / GB 1990)
  • Day and night I think of you ( Night and Day ) - Film / USA 1946, directed by Michael Curtiz, with Cary Grant