Porter, Cole, 1891-1964Variant names
Cole Albert Porter was born on June 9, 1891 in Peru, Indiana; born into wealth, he spent most of the 1920s in Europe; became composer and lyricist for the Broadway musical theatre; his hit shows included: Fifty Million Frenchmen (1929), Gay Divorcé (1932), Anything Goes (1934), Leave it to Me (1938), DuBarry Was a Lady (1939), Kiss Me, Kate (1948) and Can-can (1953); he composed such songs as: You Do Something to Me, Night and Day, I Get a Kick Out of You, Anything Goes, I Love Paris, Let's Do it, Begin the Beguine, and Just One of Those Things; he also wrote scores for Hollywood films, including Born to Dance and Broadway Melody of 1940 ; he died on October 15, 1964 in Santa Monica, California.
Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana on June 9, 1891. As a boy he took lessons in piano and violin, and began writing songs while in prep school. He attended Yale College (Class of 1913), where he composed fight songs that are still used today. After graduating, he went on to Harvard Law School, but he had little interest in law and soon began studying music instead. Porter would later complete his musical education at the Schola Cantorum in Paris.
Porter's first Broadway show, See America First, was staged in 1916, and over the ensuing decade he wrote several more shows, but did not have his first big hit until 1929, with Fifty Million Frenchmen . From then on he was one of Broadway's most popular composers; his subsequent credits included Gay Divorce, Anything Goes, Panama Hattie, and Kiss Me, Kate . He composed numerous songs that became standards, including "Let's Do It," "What Is This Thing Called Love?," "Night and Day," "Anything Goes," "You're the Top," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Begin the Beguine," "Just One of Those Things," " Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," "Don't Fence Me In," and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare." In an era when most composers of popular songs worked with lyricists, Porter distinguished himself by writing his own verses, which were notable for their wit and sophistication.
Unlike contemporaries such as George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, who grew up in the poor immigrant neighborhoods of New York, Porter was born into a prosperous Midwestern family, and he married a wealthy divorcée, Linda Lee Thomas. Eventually he also earned a large income from his songs. Porter was thus able to live the life of high society, enjoying frequent trips to Europe and countless parties with celebrities and aristocrats. In 1937, however, Porter's life took a tragic turn when both of his legs were crushed by a horse, leaving him unable to walk and in chronic pain. Cole Porter died in Santa Monica, California on October 15, 1964.
1891 Jun 9:
Born the only child of Kate Cole and Samuel Fenwick Porter. Cole Porter later added the middle name, Albert, himself.
Writes first known composition, "Song of the Birds," for piano.
Writes "Bobolink Waltz" for piano. It is privately published by his mother.
1905- 1909: Attends Worcester Academy, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Summer European tour: France, Switzerland, Germany.
Enters Yale College.
1911 Nov 28:
Cora presented by Phi Opera Company at the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity House.
1912 Apr- 1912 May: And the Villain Still Pursued Her produced by Yale University Dramatic Association in New Haven and New York City.
The Pot of Gold produced by Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity at the Hotel Taft.
The Kaleidoscope produced by Yale University Dramatic Association at the Hotel Taft, New Haven and the Yale Club, New York City.
Graduates from Yale College.
Trip to England.
Enters Harvard Law School. (Rooms at Craigie Hall with T. Lawrason Riggs.)
Paranoia produced by Yale University Dramatic Association at the Hotel Taft, New Haven. Music and lyrics by Porter, book by T. Lawrason Riggs.
1914 May 22:
We're All Dressed Up and We Don't Know Huerto Go produced by Yale University Dramatic Association in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1914- 1915: Switches to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to major in music.
See America First, Porter's first Broadway show, opens at the Maxine Elliott Theatre. Music and lyrics by Porter, and T. Lawrason Riggs.
Studies music with Pietro Yon in New York City.
1917- 1918: Resides in France.
Meets Linda Lee Thomas in Paris.
1919 Oct 6:
Hitchy-Koo of 1919 opens on Broadway.
Marries Linda Lee Thomas in Paris.
Attends classes in orchestration and counterpoint at the Schola Cantorum in Paris.
1920 Sep 18:
A Night Out, a London musical show, includes three songs with music by Porter and lyrics by Clifford Grey.
Mayfair and Montmartre, a London musical show, including six songs by Porter.
1922 Oct 10:
Hitchy-Koo of 1922 opens and closes in Philadelphia.
The Porters rent the Palazzo Barbara in Venice.
1923 Oct 25:
Within the Quota, a ballet-sketch performed by the Ballet Suedois in Paris; music by Porter, orchestration by Charles Koechlin, and scenario, sets, and costume design by George Murphy. (New York debut on Nov. 28, 1923.)
Porters rent the Palazzo Papadopoli in Venice.
1924 Sep 16:
Greenwich Village Follies opens in New York.
Out of Luck produced by the Yale University Dramatic Association.
1925- 1927: Porters rent the Palazzo Rezzonico in Venice.
1928 May 10:
La Revue des Ambassadeurs produced in Paris by Edmond Sayag at des Ambassadeurs Cafe.
1928 Oct 8:
Paris opens at the Music Box Theatre, New York.
1929 Mar 27:
Wake Up and Dream produced in London. (New York opening on December 30, 1929.)
1929 Nov 30:
The Battle of Paris, a Paramount motion picture including two songs by Porter, is released.
1929 Nov 27:
Fifty Million Frenchmen opens in New York.
Six month trip to Far East and Europe.
1930 Dec 8:
The New Yorkers opens in New York.
Star Dust, unproduced musical, planned for production by E. Ray Goetz.
1932 Nov 29:
Gay Divorce opens in New York.
1932- 1933: Trip to Paris, Vienna, Carlsbad, etc.
1933 Oct 6:
Nymph Errant opens in London.
1933- 1934: Once Upon a Time (Ever Yours), unproduced musical intended for production by Gilbert Miller.
"Thank You So Much Mrs. Lowsborough-Goodby" and "Miss Otis Regrets" are published.
1934 Oct 12:
The Gay Divorcee, an RKO-Radio Picture, is released.
1934 Nov 21:
Anything Goes opens in New York.
Porter and Moss Hart embark on a four-and-a-half-month cruise around the world to work on Jubilee.
Porter goes to Hollywood.
1935 Oct 12:
Jubilee opens in New York.
Born to Dance, an MGM motion picture, is released.
Anything Goes, a Paramount film version, is released.
1936 Oct 29:
Red, Hot and Blue opens in New York.
Rosalie, an MGM motion picture, is released.
Porter joins Linda in Paris; meets Howard Sturges and Ed Tauch for walking tour of Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia and Italy; moves on to Scandinavia.
Serious riding accident in Locust Valley, Long Island.
1937- 1938: Break the News, a Monogram motion picture, is released in England and includes "It All Belongs to You" by Porter.Greek to You, unproduced musical show, intended for production by Vinton Freedley.
1938 Sep 21:
You Never Know opens in New York.
Leave It to Me opens in New York.
The Man Who Came to Dinner, a George S. Kaufman-Moss Hart play, opens and includes Porter's parody of the Noel Coward style in song: "What Am I to Do?"
1939 Dec 6:
Du Barry Was a Lady opens in New York.
Broadway Melody of 1940, a MGM motion picture, is released.
1940 Jan 20:
Trip to Cuba, Panama Canal Zone, Mexico, and the South Seas.
The Porters buy a house on Buxton Hill, Williamstown, Mass.
1940 Oct 30:
Panama Hattie opens in New York.
1941 Oct 23:
You'll Never Get Rich, a Columbia motion picture, is released.
1941 Oct 29:
Let's Face It opens in New York.
Something to Shout About, a Columbia motion picture, is released.
1943 Jan 7:
Something for the Boys opens in New York.
The Porters move to Beverly Hills, California.
1943- 1944: Mississippi Belle, unproduced musical film planned by Warner Brothers .
1944 Jan 28:
Mexican Hayride opens in New York.
Seven Lively Arts opens in New York.
Night and Day, a motion picture based on the life and music of Porter, is released.
1946 May 31:
Around the World in Eighty Days opens in New York.
1948 Mar 24:
The Pirate, an MGM motion picture, is released.
1948 Dec 30:
Kiss Me Kate opens in New York.
Linda suffers from pleurisy and leaves for Arizona to convalesce.
Adam's Rib, an MGM film, is released and includes the song, "Farewell, Amanda" by Porter.
1950 Dec 21:
Out of This World opens in New York.
1952 Aug 3:
Kate Cole dies.
1953 May 7:
Can-Can opens in New York.
1954 May 20:
Linda Porter dies at age 71.
1955 Feb 24:
Silk Stockings opens in New York.
Porter makes a final trip to Europe.
Porter receives an honorary degree from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
Howard Sturges, a close friend of Porter, dies in Paris.
High Society, an MGM musical based on Philip Barry's stage play The Philadelphia Story, is released.
Porter enters Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and requires surgery for stomach ulcer.
Les Girls, an MGM musical motion picture, is released.
1958 Jan 14:
Porter enters Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and is treated for intestinal ulcer.
1958 Feb 21:
Aladdin, a Du Pont Show-of-the-Month musical, is aired on CBS television.
1958 Apr 3:
Porter's right leg is amputated.
1958- 1964: Health problems multiply, requiring frequent hospitalization.
Film version of Can Can is released.
1960 Jun 9:
Yale University awards Porter the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
1964 Oct 15:
Porter dies in a Santa Monica, California hospital.
From the guide to the The Cole Porter Collection, 1901-1992 (inclusive), (Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|New York City||NY||US|
|Musicals--Excerpts--Vocal scores with piano|
|Songs (Medium voice) with instrumental ensemble, Arranged--Parts|
|Woodwind quintets (Bassoon, clarinet, flute, horn, oboe), Arranged--Scores|
|Authors, American--20th century--Archival resources|
|Orchestral music, Arranged--Parts|
|Musicals--Scores and parts|
|Orchestral music, Arranged--Scores and parts|
|Instrumental ensemble, Arranged--Scores|
|Musical theater--United States|
|Musical revues, comedies, etc.--Excerpts--Vocal scores with piano|
|Instrumental ensemble music, Arranged--Scores|
|Songs (Medium voice) with instrumental ensemble, Arranged--Scores|
|Musicals--Vocal scores with piano|
|Musical revues, comedies, etc.--Vocal scores with piano|
|Authors, American--19th century--Archival resources|