A Tribute to Cole Porter
With the new film about his life now beginning to appear in movie theatres (one that promises to be more accurate than the 1946 Cary Grant vehicle, Night and Day, of which Porter once said that it didn’t contain a single word of truth), I thought it was time for a tribute article to the great songwriter whose tunes enlivened so many films and stage plays.
Born in 1891 to wealthy parents (his grandfather was the richest man in Indiana), Cole Porter was given his mother’s maiden name as a first name (we have that in common), attended Yale and Harvard, quit before graduating, and went on to write over 1,400 songs, most of them performed for the first time on Broadway in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Many have become American standards, including “Night and Day,” “Easy to Love,” “Anything Goes,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Just One of the Those Things,” “You’re the Top,” and many more. His songs’ sophisticated, witty lyrics make them instantly recognizable as Cole Porter tunes. Perhaps his best-known musical was Kiss Me Kate, which ran on Broadway for over 1,000 performances.
Although openly gay, Porter married a wealthy divorcee, Linda Lee Thomas, and remained married to her for 35 years until her death in 1954. He received an honorary doctorate from Yale in 1960. Porter died in 1964, at the age of 73, in a Hollywood nursing home, after suffering through a leg amputation in 1958 resulting from a riding accident many years earlier.
Cole Porter Tributes/Pages
- Cole Wide Web – A home for Cole Porter fans, featuring information and news, lists of Cole Porter CDs and books, and a place to find other Cole Porter resources.
- Todd’s Cole Porter Lyrics Page – A great collection of Cole Porter lyrics by Todd Peach, from “Ace in the Hole” to “You’re the Top.” There’s also a biography. Click on the Home Page link for other lyrics collections.
- Cole Porter, the Great Sophisticate – From TheatreHistory.com, an article originally found in The Story of America’s Musical Theater, by David Ewen.
- Class Act – From the site devoted to classic movie musicals, here is a listing of many Cole Porter tunes used in musicals, with links to information about them, including separate listings for the movies.
Other Cole Porter Pages
Selected Reviews of Cole Porter’s Best Films
- High Society (1956) – From Class Act.
- High Society – Review by Lisa Skrzyniarz from Crazy4Cinema.
- Kiss Me Kate (1953) – Review by George Perry from BBCi.
- Kiss Me Kate – Review by Harvey S. Karten.
- The Pirate (1948) – From The Judy Garland Database.
Where To Find Or See Cole Porter Films
Books By or About Cole Porter
- Cole Porter: A Biography – by William McBrien
- Unpublished Cole Porter – by Judy Brown New!
- The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter – by Cole Porter
- The Best of Cole Porter – by Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation
- Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter: A Treasury of Cole Porter – by Cole Porter
- Cole Porter: A Biography – by Charles Schwartz