Novello, Ivor, 1893-1951

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Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was born in Cardiff, Wales, to David Davies and Clare Novello Davies, a vocal teacher. Musically active as a child, he learned songs from his mother's many famous clients and showed an early talent for writing songs, having his first work published at age 15. He moved to London in 1913, and quickly became a favorite of Sir Edward Marsh, a well-known patron of the arts. He spent the first several years of his career working as a composer, but eventually added acting, both stage and film, to his repertoire. In the 1930s he composed and wrote a number of successful musicals, often partnering with Christopher Hassall. His work was immensely popular and his circle of friends included many famous film and stage actors, managers, and producers. Novello died at the age of 58.

From the description of Ivor Novello papers, 1911-1956. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 733998080

Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was born in Cardiff, Wales, to David Davies and Clare Novello Davies, a vocal teacher. Musically active as a child, he learned songs from his mother’s many famous clients and showed an early talent for writing songs, having his first work published at age 15. He moved to London in 1913, and quickly became a favorite of Sir Edward Marsh, a well-known patron of the arts. He spent the first several years of his career working as a composer, but eventually added acting, both stage and film, to his repertoire. In the 1930s he composed and wrote a number of successful musicals, often partnering with Christopher Hassall. His work was immensely popular and his circle of friends included many famous film and stage actors, managers, and producers. Novello died at the age of 58.

From the guide to the Ivor Novello papers, 1911-1956., (Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

David Ivor Davies, better known as Ivor Novello became one of Britain's most popular entertainers of the early 20th century. Having first achieved success as a songwriter, he went on to become a successful actor, playwright and composer.

Born in Cardiff in 1893 to Clara Novello Davies, an internationally known singer and choral conductor and David Davies, a tax collector. Having shown early musical promise, Novello won a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he sang in the choir and began writing songs. His first song was published at the age of 15.

He moved to London in 1913 and took a flat above the Strand Theatre, which was to be his home for the rest of his life. The following year Novello wrote Keep the Home Fires Burning, a song which became a huge success, being particularly poignant in a time of war. From here he started to write lyrics and scores for musical comedies and revues.

Fame soon followed after the war, and Novello began a career as an actor. His first lead role was in the 1919 silent movie The Call of the Blood . He was to star in many more silent films, and eventually moved on to have success in 'talkies'. With his classic profile he gained matinee idol status amongst the film-going public and scored successes with films such as The Lodger, Downhill, The Vortex and A South Sea Bubble, his last silent movie. During his film career he worked with such luminaries as D.W. Griffith and Alfred Hitchcock.

Novello made his stage debut in 1921 with Deburau at London's Ambassadors Theatre. His theatrical career saw him composing as well as writing for a variety of stage productions. In 1924 he wrote his first play, a collaboration with actor Constance Collier titled The Rat (later made into a movie, as well as inspiring two sequels). He starred in the play and the film adaptation that followed. Clearly fond of appearing in his own productions, he also wrote and starred in, amongst others; Symphony in Two Flats (1929), Proscenium (1933) and Glamorous Night (1935), the first of several Novello-penned plays which were staged at the Drury Lane Theatre, London.

In 1949, and only hours after finishing a performance of King's Rhapsody, Novello died suddenly from a coronary thrombosis. He was 58. Having dominated British music theatre in the 1930s and 1940s, Novello left behind a vast legacy of film performances, plays and musical works. His Maidenhead home later became the Redroofs Theatre School and since the 1950s the annual Ivor Novello Awards have honoured the best of British musical songwriting talent.

From the guide to the Ivor Novello Stage and Film Collection, 1910s-1951, (V&A Department of Theatre and Performance)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Papers, 1912-1970 (inclusive), 1912-1954 (bulk). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Novello, Ivor, 1893-1951. Novello notebook [music] : a selection of melodies / by Ivor Novello ; arranged by Michael Hurst. Libraries Australia
creatorOf Novello, Ivor, 1893-1951. Glamorous night [collection] : a romantic play with music / by Ivor Novello ; lyrics by Christopher Hassall. University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
creatorOf Ivor Novello Stage and Film Collection, 1910s-1951 V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
creatorOf Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. Ellen Van Volkenburg-Maurice Browne general correspondence, 1911- University of Michigan
referencedIn Mary Ellis papers, 1897-2003 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Ellis, Mary, 1900-2003. Mary Ellis papers. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Novello, Ivor, 1893-1951. Ivor Novello papers, 1911-1956. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn John Eldon Thayer collection of motion picture memorabilia, 1916-1979. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Novello, Ivor, 1893-1951. The golden moth [music] : a musical play of adventure in three acts / book by Fred Thompson and P.G. Wodehouse ; lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse and music by Ivor Novello. Libraries Australia
creatorOf Ivor Novello papers, 1911-1956. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn B. J. Simmons & Co. B. J. Simmons & Co. Costume Design Records, 1878-1969 (bulk 1900-1960). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Beatrice Lillie papers, 1911-1995 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Lillie, Beatrice, 1894-1989. Beatrice Lillie papers, 1911-1995. New York Public Library System, NYPL
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associatedWith Adams, Ida person
associatedWith Addinsell, Richard., 1904-1977 person
correspondedWith Ainley, Henry, 1879-1945 person
associatedWith Aked, Muriel person
correspondedWith Alexander, Lady. person
correspondedWith Allen, Fred person
correspondedWith Arnaud, Yvonne. person
associatedWith Arthurs, George person
associatedWith Ault, Marie 1870-1951 person
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correspondedWith Ba?, Blanche. person
associatedWith Bakst, Leon., 1866-1924 person
associatedWith Barren, Muriel person
associatedWith Batley, Dorothy person
associatedWith Bayley, Hilda person
correspondedWith Baylis, Lilian, 1874-1937 person
associatedWith Beaton, Cecil., 1904-1980 person
correspondedWith Behnke, Kate Emil. person
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correspondedWith Brady, William A., 1863-1950 person
correspondedWith Braithwaite, Lilian, 1873-1948 person
associatedWith Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. person
associatedWith Buckley, Anthony person
correspondedWith Buckman, Rosina, 1881-1948 person
correspondedWith Burke, Billie, 1885-1970 person
correspondedWith Butt, Clara, Dame, 1872-1936 person
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correspondedWith Carroll, Sydney W. (Sydney Wentworth), 1877-1958 person
correspondedWith Cherrill, Virginia, 1908-1996 person
associatedWith Chesney, Arthur person
correspondedWith Cohen, Harriet. person
correspondedWith Collier, Constance, 1878-1955 person
associatedWith Compton, Fay 1894-1978 person
correspondedWith Cooper, Gladys, 1888-1971 person
associatedWith Courtneidge, Cecily 1893-1980 person
correspondedWith Cowen, Frederic H. (Frederic Hymen), 1852-1935 person
correspondedWith Cowl, Jane, 1884-1950 person
correspondedWith Cro?, Ruby. person
associatedWith Dane, Clemence person
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correspondedWith Dare, Zena. person
correspondedWith Davis, T? person
correspondedWith De Frece, Lauri. person
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correspondedWith Donat, Robert. person
correspondedWith Doreen Kenney-Herbert person
correspondedWith Downing, Francis C. person
correspondedWith Du Maurier, Gerald, Sir, 1873-1934 person
associatedWith Du Plessis, Herbert. person
correspondedWith Eagels, Jeanne, 1890-1929 person
correspondedWith Elliott, Gertrude, d. 1950 person
associatedWith Ellis, Mary, 1900-2003. person
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associatedWith Fairbanks, Douglas., 1883-1939 person
correspondedWith Faydie (?). person
correspondedWith Ferguson, Rachel, b. 1893 person
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associatedWith Gardiner, Reggie person
correspondedWith George, Marie. person
associatedWith Gilbert, Olive person
correspondedWith Gilbert, Olive Sarah. person
associatedWith Griffith, DW person
associatedWith Harrington, Edmund person
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associatedWith Hassall, Christopher, 1912-1963. person
associatedWith Hassall, John person
associatedWith Hassell, Christopher, person
correspondedWith Helen. person
associatedWith Henson, Leslie person
correspondedWith Hicks, Seymour, Sir, 1871-1949 person
associatedWith Hitchcock, Alfred 1889-1980 person
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associatedWith Hume, Benita., 1893-1951 person
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correspondedWith Lady Hazel Lavery, 1880-1935 person
correspondedWith Lang, Matheson. person
correspondedWith Larrimore, Francine, 1898-1975 person
correspondedWith Lavery, John, 1856-1941 person
associatedWith Leeston, Cyril person
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correspondedWith Legh, Piers. person
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correspondedWith Lessing, Madge. person
correspondedWith Levey, Ethel. person
associatedWith Levy, Jose G. person
associatedWith Lillie, Beatrice, 1894-1989. person
associatedWith Lloyd, Doris., 1896-1968 person
associatedWith Lovell, Raymond 1900-1953 person
correspondedWith Lytton, Pamela. person
correspondedWith MacDonald, Malcolm. person
correspondedWith Maggie. person
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correspondedWith Marion, ?. person
associatedWith Marsh, Edward Howard, Sir, 1872-1953. person
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correspondedWith Martin-Harvey, John, Sir, 1863-1944 person
correspondedWith May, Edna, 1878-1948 person
associatedWith McBean, Angus 1904-1990 person
correspondedWith Melchior, K?. person
correspondedWith Midge. person
correspondedWith Millard, Evelyn, 1869-1941 person
correspondedWith Milward, Dawson. person
correspondedWith Muntle. person
associatedWith Novello-Davies, Clara person
associatedWith Novello, Ivor person
correspondedWith Olivier, Laurence, 1907-1989 person
associatedWith Park, Bertram., 1883-1972 person
associatedWith Plotz, Jane person
associatedWith Poulton, Mabel person
correspondedWith Ray. person
associatedWith Razza, Desdemona person
correspondedWith Reiscach, Reggie. person
associatedWith Rejane person
associatedWith Rodgers, Richard, 1902-1979 person
correspondedWith Ronald, Landon, Sir, 1873-1938 person
associatedWith Rutherford, Margaret person
correspondedWith Sheridan, Clare, 1885-1970 person
associatedWith Sir Walter Parratt person
associatedWith Smythe, Hylde E. person
correspondedWith Stribling, H. A. person
associatedWith Symphony Australia. corporateBody
associatedWith Tanquery, Paul person
associatedWith Terry, Ellen. Dame, 1847-1928 person
associatedWith Thatcher, Heather person
associatedWith Thayer, John Eldon, 1899-1980 person
correspondedWith Thomas, J. H. (James Henry), 1874? -1949 person
associatedWith Thompson, Frederick, 1884-1949. person
correspondedWith Thorndike, Sybil, Dame, 1882-1976 person
correspondedWith Tilley, Vesta, 1864-1952 person
associatedWith Titheradge, Dion person
correspondedWith Tree, Maude. person
associatedWith Tree, Viola person
correspondedWith Tripp, June. person
correspondedWith Vanbrugh, Violet, 1867-1942 person
correspondedWith Victoria, Helena. person
correspondedWith Victor, Josephine. person
associatedWith Vieu, Jane person
associatedWith Wallace, Edgar person
correspondedWith Wallace, Nellie, 1870-1948 person
correspondedWith Warwick, Ethel. person
associatedWith Williams, Lloyd person
correspondedWith Willie. person
associatedWith Wodehouse, P. G. (Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975. person
correspondedWith Woods?, Al. person
associatedWith Worswick, Joseph person
correspondedWith Wright, Haidée, 1868-1943 person
correspondedWith Wyndham, Mary, Lady, 1861-1931 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Great Britain
England--London
Subject
Musicals
Revues
Composers--Great Britain
Estate planning
Musicals--Scores and parts
Actors--Great Britain
Theater--20th century
Musical theatre--Great Britain--History--20th century
Copyright--Royalties
Orchestral music, Arranged--Scores and parts
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1893-01-15

Death 1951-03-06

Britons

French,

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 56901789