Dead People We Wish We Would Have Known: Cole Porter

This Week: Cole Porter%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp; TO SEE PICTURES CLICK 'LAUNCH SLIDESHOW'

After the Tony Awards broadcast last night, we're having a "Broadway Baby" moment, so in the spirit of the Great White Way, we celebrate Cole Porter.

Born in Peru, Indiana (only Cole could make a small town in Indiana sound exotic and far-flung), he had an affinity for music from a very early age. Grandson to J.O. Cole, the richest man in Indiana at that time, Cole was always well off. Porter's Midwest childhood instilled in him a puritanical work ethic that no amount of European travel could take away. He strove to turn out marvels of the American theater and did, e.g., "Kiss Me Kate," "Anything Goes" and "Red, Hot, and Blue."%26nbsp;

While Cole's marriage to Linda Thomas may strike one as odd considering other facets, shall we say, of Cole's character, the marriage was premised on a mutual understanding that they both valued the companionship and legitimacy it granted them. It was she who would present Cole with the famous cigarette cases, designed and fabricated by their friend Fulco di Verdura, each time a new show of his opened. Verdura is accessory litmus test enough for us, but we're talking custom Verdura with gobs of semiprecious stones.%26nbsp;

Much fanfare may be made of the splendid entertaining Porter both hosted and partook in and for good reason (going so far as to rent Rezzonico, a Venetian palace on the Lido, in which he threw magnificent parties for Elsa Maxwell, Noel Coward, Elsie de Wolfe, Lady Diana Cooper, Countess Buccino, Countess di Zoppola and Fanny Brice, among other members of the beau monde).

Cole even managed to break his legs in a witty manner. Upon waking up with a mad craving for a horseback ride, he mounted a skittish steed. While out; the horse reared, slipped and fell on him, breaking both of his legs. Luckily, Cole being Cole he had a pad and pencil with him and managed to write a song, "At Long Last Love," before blacking out.

Man about town, swell, titan of the American theater and unfortunate horseman, Cole Porter was everything a gentleman should be. He had that most elusive of qualities: By knowing him, one knew a good time, which would have been de-lightful indeed.
Pictures: Gill, Brendan. Cole: A Biographical Essay. 1st. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.

Comments are closed.

Sign up for the DADA Newsletter