In 1933 Irving Berlin wrote to composer-lyricist Cole Porter, "I am
mad about "Night and Day,"" Millions of others throughout the world
have been "mad about" that Porter gem, as well as dozens of others,
including, to name just a few, "Begin the Beguine, From This Moment
On, It's De-Lovely, Just One of Those Things, Love for Sale," and
"My Heart Belongs to Daddy," Cole Porter (1891-1964) set new
standards for popular song-writing, and his lyrics and melodies are
as bright and sophisticated today as when they first dazzled
audiences decades ago. Porter's own life matched that of his songs
for urbanity, wit, and elegance, and in New York, Hollywood, and on
the Continent he was an arbiter of taste and fashion and part of
the glamorous international set of the Twenties and Thirties. He
numbered among his friends Cary Grant, Noel Coward, Fred Astaire,
Ethel Merman, Elsa Maxwell, Fanny Brice, and Monty Woolley, as well
as many other stars of stage, screen, or society. "Cole Porter: A
Biography" is a delightfully written and meticulously researched
book that takes us from the composer's Indiana childhood to his
celebrity days, discussing with exceptional honesty his family and
friends, his wife and his many lovers, and above all, his music.
Charles Schwartz's account of Cole Porter is the most revealing,
comprehensive, and objective biography to date of an
extraordinarily talented and fascinating man.
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